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
"Political theater"? Way to be 'fair and balanced' CNN.
The blunder was either have the guts to declare war and hang their political fortune out there for all to see or stand up years ago and say no. This pathetic "I now have a change of heart" or "I am now brighter than I was then" or "It is the President's fault" won't wash.
Guess they did not have the intelligence to get it right the first time. In that case, we seem to be stuck with third rate political hacks who will never know what to do.
How can you claim Obama voted against the War in Iraq when he wasnt even in the Senate when it was voted upon? He was elected in 2004, the Iraq War Resolution was voted on in October 2002. He may have voiced his opposition while in the Illinois State government, but thats not the same as voting against the resolution when he didnt have a vote in the matter.
Every time I read about the republicans using a filibuster to block a vote, I keep thinking about their past rhetoric about Bush's nominees deserving an "up or down vote". I guess they don't think that a vote that determines the fate of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers deserves an up or down vote.
Luis from Miami, you are right. This is Bush's War. The American people as well as the Senate were sold this war by the Bushies, who were riding high in the 9/11 USA,USA,USA hysterics.
What is the saddest, is the fact that all the lives lost American/Iraqi is for NOTHING. The money and effort is for NOTHING. Bush repeats like a parrot, Sadam chose this war! Well no, he didn't! There WERE inspectors in Iraq just before the war, and they asked Bush for more time. Our American Jerk, the Decider, decided to wage this war, and in war we are.
How many chances and how many more lives are we willing to give Bush the Idiot?
Amazingly, you're half right with that statement of yours. Not so much that the Dems don't want to end the war, but rather that "if you wlect more of us then we will really end the war" Because right now there are too many Bush-protecting Republicans in the Senate to actually DO anything. And this is exactly why Congress has such a low support rating. It's not that the Dems aren't trying to accomplish things, its that there simply isn't enough support in the Senate to do it. And besides, if something does manage to sneak through, Bush will simply use his suddenly-discovered veto pen on it.
Oh, and Luis, yes Congress did vote to go to war, but that was the REPUBLICAN majority Congress, not the one that is there now. Slight difference there.
Call it political theater or whatever. The dems are spot on what they are doing i.e. calling attention to the problems and hurdles they face.
Was the vote on ' flag burning ' and constitutional amendment on ' Gay marriages’, 30 days before the Nov 06 elections by the Repubs not political theater? Was Tom Delay not a political theater himself?
How can we expect the dems to fix the issues, when the republicans continue to guard the right of having the blood of our sons and daughters on their hands?
I understand why the repubs are doing so, its political suicide if they cave in and admit to their mistake.
Now, most think and wonder why they would not cave ASAP with the 08' elections. But my fellow bloggers they are being farsighted. Repubs know that they going to lose the elections again heavily in 08’, but they do not want to lose the party.
Elections can be lost and won, but the party image where they will be known as major foreign policy screw ups (Repub party rests it's laurels at being the best at ‘foreign policy’ for decades) will be detrimental to the Republicans.
I'm glad their doing this. Atleast the Democrats are trying to accomplish what they promised to the people, to bring the troops home. However, since the Republicans seem determined to not represent their constituents and would rather follow the President, the Democrats have to resort to this "Political Theatre" in order to show people why things aren't getting done.
Well of course they'll keep it open to an empty house so that the majority party can appear to be doing something, when in reality they are only looking out for their re-election and self interest. If they were actually trying to do something for their elected masses, they would cancel their automatic pay raised and add the total amount to the DOD budget for more body armour!
It is time for the democrats to stand up for what they believe in in all matters instead of worrying about the political ramifications a decision may have with the American people. Standing up for what you believe in has won a lot of elections for the Republicans in recent years. It is time for the democrats to follow through with what they promised to do standing up to this president who does not take into consideration the will of the American people.
This stunt truly demonstrates the Democrats inability to successfully accomplish anything of slight importance. By pulling an all-nighter like a bunch of college students, the Dems are wasting their time as anything they come up with will lack any kind of luster and substance and of course will be 'non-binding' and deserving of a failing grade.
We will not know what impact Cheney had on intelligence, until he agrees that he is indeed part of the executive branch and turns over his "classified" records. Remember, he visited the CIA an unprecedented number of times prior to the start of the war. There were many reports that said CIA agents felt pressured to fit the intelligence to the policy.
What people have a hard time understanding is that the Republicans in Congress have basically stopped all legislation. Every bill that the Democratic leaders attempt to vote on is stopped by fillibuster threats from the Republicans. They don't need a majority to stop a vote, only 40%. This all nighter is an attempt to draw attention to the Rebuplican's tactics (which Republicans complained about relentlessly when they had a majority), and make them defend their views to the American public.
So yes, it could be called 'political theater' but it is political theater aimed at showing the public why nothing gets done in Congress.
"Obama did vote against the war. Have to look at that when judging all Dems togather."
Actually, Obama wasn't in congress yet to vote against the war. He did speak out against it though.
A few technicalities. First, Congress does not "declare" war, the president does. Congress's constitutional duty iss to make it official. For decades veterans of the Vietnam and Korean "wars" were not permitted to join the VFW, because they didn't fight in a "declared war". Second, there is a lot of evidence that Bush and Cheney lied about the intelligence. It comes from the inelligence community itself. Dozens of analysts have come forward to testify that they were relentlessly pressure into re-evaluting the intel over and over again in order to even the slightest point that could used to trump up charges against the Hussein regime. The facts are that the president lied and this war is an unnecessary drain on our military resources and strength. Our military, which is the finest in the world, is being ground down in the dust of Iraq. And the only reasone it wasn't the end of Bush is because he still has supporters who are willing to make things like truth and legality "debateable".
I think the very first comment here brings a very good point. The republicans threatened to CHANGE THE RULES OF CONGRESS TO END DEMOCRATIC FILIBUSTER.
Where are they now? Did they take their ball and go home? Why can't elected officials represent the people that elected them instead of the will of Darth Cheney and George "Sloth" Bush who they all try to distance themselves from during election time and somehow embrace during this partisan ego quagmire.
I at least hope that this money wasting bit of "theater" includes some solutions. I've yet to hear any Democrat say what they think will happen to Iraq once we pull out. Simply saying "I hate Bush and his policies" may have been enough to get them elected, but it's not enough to actually govern.
Let's just remember in all of this that the members of Congress had the same intelligence that President Bush did... They got the same briefings he did, from the same officials, and the same information. If the information really wasn't there, then perhaps the Democrats (and Republicans) are at fault for making rash, emotionally charged, political decisions. Whoops. Then again, maybe going into Iraq really was the right thing, because maybe the extremists over there really do want to hurt us. But I guess we should pull back instead, hunker down, and wait for acts of terrorism to start recovering from.
More grand standing for the anti-freedom base at the expense of troop moral. HOW PITIFUL!
When are you going to do the peoples work Harry? When are you going to secure our borders Harry??
This is why Congress is now polling as the worst in history.
Either do what the majority of the people asks, or get out of our way.
– MCD, San Francisco
Mob rule is your preference??
This article is very misleading. Democrates HAVE enough votes to pass this legislation. They just don't have enough votes to stop the filibuster. I think this all nighter is a win-win situation for the Democrates. My rating for Sen. Reid just went up 10 points.
Good Job Dems!! At least if the republicans want to continue to support the failed policies of the Bush administration and want to continue down a path that leads nowhere, the American people will see them for what they really are. They are no good, lying, cheating, hypocritical corporate puppets. They do not have the well being of the troops or the American people in the best interest. They blindy follow Bush and his criminal administration and this will just cement the people's resolve to get them out of office come 2008 elections. Go ahead republicans, hang yourselves.
I love how all the Democrats are mad about using the filibuster. They used in routinely and even on judges which hadn't been done in the past. As for this Bush lied. Go back and read all the statements from the Clinton adminstration about Iraq and WMD's. Bush wasn't president in the 90's. Even after we invaded, Clinton came out and said I know they have WMD's because they had them when I left office. Now the Democrats all seem to have selective amnesia. If anything, the Democrats lied and gave Bush false info to get him to go to war.
Harry, why don't you and the others just declare the War over. Since the the President and Generals are incompetant, get yourselves over to Iraq and personally lead the retreat for those poor soldiers. Let Mertha hold out the white flag. The Marines will personally be there to greet ya'll.
Kum ba ya...
" The President cannot declare war. Only Congress can. THEY voted to go to war."
While this is true, Congress did not simply vote to go to war. They voted that the President could go to war IF all attempts at diplomacy failed. Silly them, they actually believed he'd try to find a diplomatic solution before storming into Iraq.