July 17th, 2007
10:22 AM ET
7 years ago

Dems plan Senate all-nighter

Watch Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin tell CNN’s John Roberts why the Dems are planning the all-nighter.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Recognizing they almost certainly won’t have the votes to pass an amendment to bring U.S. combat troops out of Iraq; Senate Democrats will employ a bit of political theater this week to at least draw attention to their efforts to overcome a Republicans filibuster of the measure.

Ahead of a vote Wednesday to cut off the filibuster, Democrats who control the Senate will keep the chamber open overnight Tuesday into Wednesday to highlight debate the amendment.

“They’re protecting the president instead of protecting the troops,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid complained about the filibuster.

Workmen will set up cots near the Senate floor so senators have a place to slumber – although it’s not clear how many senators will chose to stay up for the rare session much less use the cots.

Democratic senators also will be encouraged to schedule radio, television, and blogoshpere interviews in a "war room" strategy usually scripted for major legislative battles in which the outcome is in doubt.

In this case, Democrats know they will fall short of the required 60 votes to end the filibuster.

Only three Republicans - Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Gordon Smith of Oregon – have said they will vote with the Democrats. A fourth Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, says she’s considering it. And while most Democrats support the measure, known as Reed-Levin for its authors, Sens. Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Carl Levin of Michigan, Democrats acknowledge going into the debate their effort will fail.

- CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett

Filed under: Harry Reid • Iraq
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. David, Tulsa OK

    In the spirit of possibly reviving the fairness doctrine, why don't you identify the Democrats who are going against Reid/Pelosi instead of just identifying the Republicans who are going against President Bush?

    July 16, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Larry, Sacramento, California

    Good for the Dems. I think this should have occurred a long time ago.

    If the Republicans want a filibuster then the Democrats needs to make sure it is clear to the American public that it is the Republicans who are gumming up the legislative works.

    It wasn't so long ago when the Republicans were crying foul about the filibuster when it came to judges. Yet now they use this tactic to thwart the will of the majority of the American public who would like to see an orderly reduction of troops in Iraq.

    July 16, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. James Atlanta GA

    Don't you just love watching our elected officials act in ways that can be termed "political theater." Otherwise, one would have to think that they had some integrity and convictions behind their pandering. When we end this war that is impact not only our lives but the lives of millions of Iraqis, let's not do it through theater. While history may judge Bush for his action getting us into war, history may also be as critical on those who half-hazardly pull us out. Politics wins elections, but it does not solve problems.

    July 16, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Glenn,B'ham,Al

    No wonder that only 23% support this congress. At 32% approval rating Bush is the most popular elected official in Washington.

    July 16, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Luis, Miami Florida

    It looks to me like the democrats are really trying to stop this huge blunder and war of choice....

    By the way this is the Bush war... he lied to you, me and the world to create this mess and I know you like history to blame Bill Clinton, but at the end we all know the truth.

    July 16, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Glenn,B'ham,Al

    Luis Miami

    The President cannot declare war. Only Congress can. THEY voted to go to war.

    July 16, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Paul Cooper, University Park, MD

    Somebody needs to get Ted Brown a copy-editor; or a least a copy of Strunk and White.

    July 16, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Glenda, McEwen, TN



    July 16, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Travis

    The Democrats don't want the war to end at all! They want to huff and puff about it. I'm sure they would love to huff and puff all the way to November 2008. And say "If you elect more of us then we will really end the war". Yes, lots of "theater" here.

    July 16, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. Noah, Juneau, AK

    Oops. Congress voted for the war, yes. But on what grounds? Congress was told that there was substantial evidence for WMD in Iraq, a claim which even the Bush Administration has now abandoned. It's now been revealed by British intelligence agencies that the executive branch was planning to invent the facts and put the pieces into place to justify invasion of Iraq. So yes, Congress authorized it. But it was justified by the executive branch. Blaming Congress for the war is like holding someone accountable for repeating a lie they heard from someone they had every reason to trust. And Congress had every reason to trust the executive's evidence - and not suspect that it was deliberately fradulent. Too bad they were wrong, but I think it's fairly obvious who's at fault for the war.

    July 16, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. Glenn,B'ham,al

    Obama did vote against the war. Have to look at that when judging all Dems togather.

    July 16, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. Glenn,B'ham,Al


    There is no proof of Bush or any Congress member doctoring intelligence. If there were it would have been the end of Bush. Also I don't vote on Congressmen to do as there are told by the executive branch. I hold them responsible for what they vote on.

    July 16, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. Richard Orlando, FL

    Glen, I bet you think the low approval rating of Congress is all directed at the Dems. Get real! I do not approve of Congress either, mainly because there are too many Republicans still there blocking good legislation with their filibusters. This is the same group of Cons that wanted to change the rules for cloture a few years ago during the Supreme Court confirmations (ironic). Heck, they even blocked a sensible amendment from Senator Webb that would have allowed our soldiers the proper breaks from their tours of duty. And people wonder why new recruits are down. What incentive is there to sign up for a war that is unjust with over-extended tours? America cannot afford to continue this ill-conceived debacle in Iraq any longer. Our national security is too important, and the sooner these Republican enablers realize it, the better off our country will be.

    July 16, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. MCD, San Francisco

    I can only think that a whole bunch of republican reps are not running for office again. If that is not the case, why aren't they listening to what the American People are telling them. This isn't about party, this isn't about politics... this is about the troops and the future of this country. Either do what the majority of the people asks, or get out of our way.

    July 16, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. Glenn,B'ham,Al

    Richard, Orlando

    I'm fed up with all of Congress. Both parties are just playing games. I have a son & grandson that have been to Iraq, my son has served 3 tours there. I am not sure that this police action will stop the bloodshed that has cursed this part of the world for yrs. I do know that we were not in Iraq when 9/11 happened. The Clinton's and the Bush's are just two sides of the same coin. I am just addressing the facts here.
    As for Iraq, Why give up ground that we have already paid for in Iraq. They have moved into there to fight us. Its the reason that the bombs in England failed, there resources are over there not here. I think that if our leaders were honest & told the truth, that this constant bickering would stop & we could vote on who was best at solving our problems. I could care less what party they are.

    July 16, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. John


    So far there is no proof that Bush and Cheney doctored intelligence records to justify the war in Iraq and thats because the majority GOP ignored the topic when they were in control. Now that the people have spoken and voted in a Democratic majority the White house is engaging in a policy of "stalling and shredding" the evidence.

    July 16, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. Gita, Seattle, WA

    This isn't theater. It's an effort to move forward an amendment that's supported by a majority of Senators. He's making the GOP do an actual filibuster, not merely a paper one. Good for him. If the GOP feels so strongly about supporting a failed war policy, let them stand up there like an anti-matter Mr. Smith and proclaim it. Then let the Senate vote, so we can get the hell out of this war.

    July 16, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. Bob, New Orleans, Louisiana

    For starters, the most popular elected official in Washington is not George W. Bush. The most popular elected officials are individual members of Congress. Not every member of Congress has a 23% approval rating. I think that one needs to be clear. Congress, as a whole, has such low numbers due to Republicans' unwillingness to break with the party. With such a slim majority and a member of the Senate in the hospital, it's only natural that nothing is happening, and when something does, the veto pen comes out.

    Secondly, while some Democrats did vote for the war, Congress was in Republican hands at the time. Don't throw that one in the lap of the Democrats. They can't defend something that wasn't owned by them.

    And if anyone comes out against what is happening in the Senate tonight, it should be noted that the same tactics, and much worse ones, were employed by the Republicans when judges had no hope of passing. Only with the threat of the nuclear option were they passed.

    Both times, it has sounded less like lawmaking and more like bullying by the GOP.

    And Glenn, where have you been during the whole Plame affair and yellowcake forgeries? The yellowcake was supposedly coming from Chad, which the Ambassador of the United States, Plame's husband, said was not true.

    Why won't they go ahead and impeach the president? If this was a parliamentary government and he was prime minister, he would have been history four years ago.

    July 16, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  19. Brian

    The whole story seems so obviously biased to favor Republicans. It starts out describing the Democratic attempt as 'theater'. It doesn't mention all the outcry and media coverage CNN offered the Reps last year when they screamed and yelled everytime they could not get an up or down vote on their far right wing judicial appointments. Now, when the Democrats are trying to accomplish something that the American people want, it's called 'theater.' I won't get in to the spelling errors in the post... or maybe I will - not clear how many senators will chose to stay up for the rare session much less use the cots. i think they meant 'choose'.

    July 16, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. Mark, Lavallette, NJ

    Hey Glenn,

    For the record, Obama did not vote against the war. He wasn't in the Senate when they voted in 2002. You have to remember that, he never had to cast a vote one way or another.

    July 16, 2007 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  21. Sanford, Dyersburg, Tn

    Let the Bush lackeys keep supporting him. Ask McCain what it has done for him.

    July 16, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  22. Mike, Corpus Christi Texas

    The way I understand it, Iraq was an undeclared war. Remember there hasn't been an 'officially' declared war since 1941, when FDR asked Congress for a State of War against (first) Imperial Japan. Bush, under what is known as "the war powers act," sought the approval of the Congress to wage war aganist Iraq. Yes, the majority of Democrats and Republicans in Congress supported Bush on this, but remember, the evidence they were all given were based on lies. You know, the so called WMD's, etc. I find it hard to blame Hillary or Edwards for voting for the war on this point of fact, because they, like everyone else were presented with misinformation (lies).

    "So long as anybody's terrorizing established governments, there NEEDS TO BE A WAR." GWB, Oct. 17, 2001.

    July 17, 2007 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  23. Joe, Tampa, FL

    I think all the Republicans should be voted out of office this next election cycle so they can go home and just sit on their dead butts.

    July 17, 2007 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  24. Dusan, Europe

    War is about protecting troops? Interesting point. I always thought war is about winning. If America doesn't have guts for this war, then there is always a choice of running out of it, but do not be surprised when the war will come to your cities in just few years.

    July 17, 2007 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  25. Bill, Charleston SC

    Just because the majority of Americans want something, does not make it right, nor does that make it the best policy for this country. If we truly beleived in "majority rules" we would never have passed any of the civil rights legislation we did. I for one am tired of politicians who govern this country by polls. We need leaders in our government. The current congressional battle over the war shows us just how heartless politics has become in this country. Both parties are at fault. Ideological differences have come to be more important than our brave soldiers who fight to keep us safe and our country free. I suggest that all who decry what is happening, remember that we are all Americans first, Democrats and Republicans second. Let's all look at what is best for our country, not our party.

    July 17, 2007 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
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