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. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Read real carefully what Cohen is saying here and try to also remember the litany of U.N. Resolutions that Saddam was outright not abiding by and try to be unbiased and be put in Bushes shoes, "What if I do nothing like Clinton, and he does have these WMD's like EVERYONE says he does".

    "Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement." - Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002

    "There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we." - Wesley Clark on September 26, 2002

    "What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." - Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002

    "I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons...I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out." - Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003

    July 17, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    "bring U.S. combat troops out of Iraq" but deploy them to Afghanistan and the southern border of the United States so we can accomplish those missions too.

    July 17, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Luis, Miami Florida

    We lost this war from the get go...It was mismanaged and still is... The truth is present administration has only done one thing right:
    Completely mishandle everything... Katrina, education, economy ect…

    July 17, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Sadly, I think Andy of Albany, NY is right about our obligations in Iraq. We can and should blame the President and Congress, but those American citizens who had war fever in March 2003 should look in the mirror and take their share of the blame. There are those who remember Vietnam and Watergate. What excuse do they have for their naivety? There were people who tried to warn the American majority of the stupidity of this pre-emptive war with Iraq, but we were called traitors, remember? We have destabilized the Iraqi government, made it unsafe to walk the streets, and have destroyed their homes, businesses, and infrastructure. Just who do you think is morally bound to fix the mess we made? We made our beds. Now we have to sleep in them.

    July 17, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Tom, Elkhart, IN

    Calling this "Political Theatre" is not accurate.

    This is actually how The Senate is supposed to act in the face of a Filibuster.

    The Filibuster was Constitutionally designed to allow the voice of a minority party to hold open debate to speak.

    It was not designed to stop legislation when the majority of the public want it to happen.

    That is simple Democracy and Republicans are precisely obstructionist on important compromise legislation of all sorts.

    July 17, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Perry, Dallas, Texas

    To Brian, Danville Ill.

    I don't know where you got your information that "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”.

    I am a Vietnam Vet. and I joined the VFW in 1968, several years before the Vietnam conflict ended. You obviously pull your facts out of the same place as all the other liberals.

    July 17, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Edward, Severna Park, MD

    Seriously, even though Clinton may have had the same intel as Bush, at least he was more level headed than to say lets INVADE IRAQ with no clear plan for what happens after we topple the government. Dictatorships are hard to change into democracies because it takes time and effort, it's not something that occurs in 3 years because we have 100,000 troops occupying a country. It took the US a few decades before the democracy actaully began working.

    And, for all of you that think we should support this war, I really do wish that Congress had passed the Draft Bill proposed by the Democrats. Then maybe you and your fellow GOP congressment would be more hesitant to go looking for war. Actually, even with the Draft reinstated, the GOP prob would have still went to war. They would have just used all their money and influence to make sure their children got stationed in the US (kind of like George W. Bush). But then maybe some of you people would have been more hesitant to go to war because then you would know you'd have no choice but to serve overseas.

    Instead of this horrible mistake, we should be in Afghanistan getting rid of the remnants of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Maybe hunting down Bin Laden? It's been what, like 6 years now, and we still have no clue where he is. Instead, all we can do it offer more and more money hoping someone else will turn him in for us.

    Maybe instead of invading a country that "might" have had WMD's and trying to liberate "oppressed" people, we should be actually getting rid of the real human attrocities in the world, such as Darfur? Where children are handed guns and told to go shoot people and people are mutilated with machettes. But then again, they don't have anything valuable to us like oil so of course why would we even bother?

    July 17, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. LeftyLosey

    Our brave volunteers are being killed by an ever emboldened enemy while the Senate Democrats employ a bit of political theater this week.

    Way to go Harry..

    July 17, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. ReadBtwthlins

    Excuse me, but there is a democratically elected government in Iraq. A democratic government voted in by more than 80% of Iraqi's, much better than the US.

    So why are the Senate Democrats turning their backs on this young democracy battling for its continued existance against our sworn enemies? Aren't liberty and freedom civil rights worth fighting for??

    July 17, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Mark, Milwaukee WI

    Political Theater? You Republicans are funny. You say that the Dems are a do-nothing party, yet everytime Sen. Reid and the Dems try to do something, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans block it! The Republicans are a DO NOTHING PARTY for blocking every damn thing on the Senate Floor. It will come back to bite each and every one of them come November of '08 though. Ask the congress of '06.

    And i think it's hilirious that the Republicans are trying to protect the SAME PRESIDENT that cost them a majority in both houses of Congress, AND will cost them the WHITE HOUSE in 08. That's showing your appreciation huh?

    July 17, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Mike, HI

    Bill, Charleston:
    "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."

    And what some believe truly would be best for the country is to pull out as soon as possible. It's not like the millions of Americans who want us out are just being partisan or blind to reality. Many of us think we should not be paying, in both lives and dollars, to police the entire country of Iraq.

    For those saying a pullout would be detrimental in the long-term: how do you know? Perhaps Iraq will be set straight. Yes, I'm sure there will be chaos (the same kind of chaos we see there today), and I'm sure some political or ethnic groups will be persecuted (the first being al-Qaeda). These conditions are already set in Iraq, and they will not be magically cleared up by September, or next year, or 2010. We don't know what will happen to the country after the majority of US forces leave, except that we will be saving ourselves a lot of lives and billions of dollars.

    July 17, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Homofthbrave

    Our troops are dying in Iraq and the Senate Democrats are playing political theater this week? How shameless of them!!

    July 17, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. JAF, LA CA

    There is no such thing as stopping this war. This war will continue even if the US pulls out troops.

    It is SIMPLY MORALLY WRONG to pull out US troops in a way that leads to greater problems for the Iraqis.

    Support Iraqi children. Don't pull out the troops!

    July 17, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    Wow, it seems that most of the regular conservative bloggers have all bought into the "political theatre" phrase. Nothing unusual, considering that if people actually put some serious thought into issues and saw more than one side of things, they probably wouldn't be conservatives.

    Oh, by the way...we're not "fighting for freedom" in Iraq, so you can forget that patriotic nonsense. Don't be so naive.

    July 17, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. Mischka, Boca Raton, FL

    "Wow, it seems that most of the regular conservative bloggers have all bought into the “political theatre” phrase. Nothing unusual, considering that if people actually put some serious thought into issues and saw more than one side of things, they probably wouldn’t be conservatives."

    Ditto for democrats!!

    July 17, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Glenn,B'ham,Al

    Those who oppose waging war without declaration point to Article I of the Constitution, which reads The Congress shall have the power to declare war.
    Its just the was it is!!
    I hold all those who voted for it responsable.
    Obama was not in Congress that is true.

    July 17, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Excuse me, but there is a democratically elected government in Iraq. A democratic government voted in by more than 80% of Iraqi’s, much better than the US.

    So why are the Senate Democrats turning their backs on this young democracy battling for its continued existance against our sworn enemies? Aren’t liberty and freedom civil rights worth fighting for??

    Hey Rdbtwn,

    Since Iraq is all democratic and sovereign now, should we continue to stay there against their own wishes?


    over 70% of Iraqis want the US to withdraw, a majority of 60% support attacks on US led troops, hell even Iraq's own PM said that US can "leave anytime".


    So with this in mind, would you advocate occupying a democratic nation against the will of its people? And just who are our "sworn enemies"?? Keep in mind that the Bush administration is arming insurgent forces to "fight against al'queda" or so they think. Aren't they are enemies too? Seems like you are confused.

    And agree – those of you who think we are over there "fighting for freedom" would make me LOL if it wasn't so depressing. I must have been asleep when Iraq tried to invade and take over the USA and destroy our freedoms.

    July 17, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Richard Orlando, FL

    Mischka said, "The productive thing would be to give the troop surge a chance."

    Whatever happened to giving the Iraq Study Group recommendations a chance, considering it was released from a bipartisan commission before the surge?? Or is that going to be your Plan B (10-12 months later)? How many more soldiers will be killed or injured while you and the rest of the Republicans decide to make up their minds?

    No one is advocating a precipitous withdrawal. We absolutely cannot be as irresponsible getting out of Iraq as Bush was getting into it. Unfortunately, we will be involved in the Middle East security efforts for some time. Let's just hope it is done with more intelligence than what we have seen these past six years.

    July 17, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Mike, HI


    "There is no such thing as stopping this war. This war will continue even if the US pulls out troops."

    Then why should we stay in? If we can't stop this war, why should we continue paying for it? We're losing American lives, and we're spending way over our limits in an effort to keep another country's streets safe.

    Anyone remember what happened to the French after they bankrupted themselves over the American Revolution?

    July 17, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca


    You cite polls from Iraqis suggesting we're no longer needed – as though that is reason enough. THANKFULLY there are military leaders working with our good men and women serving that are able to do more insightful analysis into the best interests of a newly formed government than reading a hap-hazard "poll of the iraqi people". Hey – wasn't it these same people that (based on Sadam's boasts) 100% voted for him ???

    Also, Pixie, "fighting for freedoms and civil rights" that you mocked RDBTWN about... umm... he was refering to the freedoms and civil rights of the Iraqi people – not Americans. He was suggesting Iraqis – as much as Americans – deserve the same liberties of life.

    July 17, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  21. Mike, Corpus Christi Texas

    If those who really believe that the stakes are so high, that the US has no option but to stay in Iraq, I have to ask; if that's really true, why hasn't the President and the Administration, and the entire Congress, ask the American people that we must all make the same kind of sacrifices which were made during World War II? If Iraq is truly a life or death matter for the American people, why isn't the entire country 'moblized?' Why hasn't a 'civil defense corps' been established? Why aren't manufacturing companies, that make traditional civilian products, switched to focus on producing strictly 'military material?' Why hasn't the 'draft' been imposed, instead of keeping an all volunteer armed force? Why aren't there advertisements in magazines, etc., to buy 'war bonds?' The list could go on and on and on....

    But the reality of the mood of the country, is nowhere close to the mood of the country after Dec. 7, 1941. Currently, the national emphasis of the American people is directed towards 'Dancing with the Stars,' or the new 'I-phone,' or 'American Idol,' etc., so what does or should that tell anybody? It tells me that 'Bush and Gang,' are desperately trying to save some kind of legacy for him in the history books, but that Iraq itself, plays at best "second fiddle" to the national security of the United States.

    July 17, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. Luis, Miami Florida

    Dear Jon:
    The problems and divisions between these groups in what is called Iraq today started over 5,000 years ago... so stupid of the president, the vise and the rest of the cronies’ that they could just go in and give them democracy. Understand that maybe they do not want our freedoms and civil rights... (what's left of them)

    Let’s give them credit and let the Iraqis stand on their own.... I agree that it could be disastrous but that's what George W said, he also said that we will be greeted as liberators and saviors. Maybe he will be wrong again. Maybe a civil war it’s inevitable. We had ours…

    We have been there for a long 5 years... our military is exhausted... the equipment is in need of replacement... bring the troops home and give the Iraqis time and space to put their country back together. It's not the fist time....

    July 17, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  23. Curt, Bartlett, IL

    After watching the debate (so far). I am convinced I will never vote for a Republican again – no facts and just political stunts. And in the meantime greeat Americans are dying and being wounded.

    July 17, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  24. Curt, Bartlett, IL

    Senator Lieberman is really out of touch.

    July 17, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  25. John

    Our troops are being killed in Iraq because of a greedy oil grab by Bush and Cheney. Only when you right wing fools come to understand there depth of deception will you understand what traitors Bush and Cheney actually are. You cannot trade our troops lives for oil and defense profits, if you wanted to get the enemy's that are responsible for the 9/11 attacks you need to look to Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Saudi Arabia where the Bush family friends reside. Get you heads out of your butts and see the truth!

    July 17, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
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