September 13th, 2007
08:49 PM ET
9 years ago

Dems breathe new life into troop reduction strategy

Virginia Sen. Jim Webb has a plan that may have enough votes in the U.S. Senate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – On Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats believe they are making inroads toward a strategy to force a change in U.S. policy in Iraq. Congressional sources say they may be “close to having 60 votes” on a proposal from Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, that would give American troops more time between deployments. Senate rules require 60 votes to defeat a filibuster and bring an issue to a vote, and 67 votes to overcome a veto from the president.

Supporters say mandating more time between deployments would force a reduction in troop levels because there are not enough troops to sustain a constant level of the130-thousand expected to remain in Iraq under the schedule laid out in the Petraeus Report.

The Webb plan is more moderate than the mandatory withdrawal timetables Democrats have failed to get, but said one source, “This has the advantage of being doable.”

The Democratic leadership is looking for votes off a list of 11 Senate Republicans who have been critical “in one form or another” of President Bush’s strategy in Iraq. Though expressing optimism, one Democratic source admitted, with the exceptions of Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska, and Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Oregon, “We still don’t have any Republicans making a clean break with the president, yet.”

The measure – which would likely be attached to a Defense Authorization Bill – must also pass the House. Republican leadership sources there say they are confident the Webb amendment, which failed to garner the two-thirds majority necessary to overcome a veto the last time around, would meet the same fate in the House now.

Still, if the Senate passes the bill, war-weary House Republicans may feel freer to vote for it.

Despite the optimism in the Senate, Democratic aides were reluctant to make any predictions, noting that shopping and reshaping proposals is “a gradual process.”

- CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley

Filed under: Iraq • Senate
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Henry Tucker, Ga

    I hope Americans see the political football being kicked by the Democratic Representatives...

    They're NOT interested in really providing the troops with more time between deployments. They are seeking for ways to undermine the Generals, the President, and sabatoge the Iraqi people by significantly reducing our soldiers while the political process is evolving over in Iraq.

    Gosh... I can't imagine WHY Congress has only an 18% approval rating????

    September 13, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  2. Rogue Cowboy

    Listening to Petraeus and Crocker this week I heard Al Qaeda this, Al Qaeda that, Al Qaeda will establish terrorist training camps if we leave , Al Qaeda's influence will spread to all the other nations in the region, Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda.

    How many Al Qaeda terrorists did they say have been killed or captured since the "SURGE" began? They could not recall!
    How many Al Qaeda terrorists did they say are still in Iraq? They do not have a current estimate!
    How long did they say will it take to kill or capture the remaining Al Qaeda in Iraq? They will get to Congress in March 2008 with an Estimate!
    How has 100,000 Iraqi's per month are being displaced from their homes since the surge began to refugee camps, other nations to other areas of the same ethnicity affected the reduction in VIOLENCE? It has had some affect but we can not quantify it.
    How long did they say will it take to "WIN" the WAR? We can only see 4 – 6 months into the future and we will not have won by then. We will give you a update in March 2008.
    Did General Petraeus say the War in Iraq was making us safer here in the homeland? He said: " I'm not sure it is making America safer."

    Note: The estimates of the size of Al Qaeda in Iraq according the Brookings Institution Iraq Index was less than 10 in January 2003, about 3000 in July 2006, and about 5000 in July 2007. The Reuters factbox talley indicates we have killed less than 200 since Jan. 2007.
    The size of the Iraq Security Force is over 350,000 and over 200,000 of them can operate with minimal or no US Troop Support.What will they be doing if we draw down to a typical peacekeeping force of 45,000 troops?

    Jim Frego
    Grants Pass, OR

    September 13, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  3. Dan, TX

    Yes, let's make the compromises and start reducing troop levels. Republicans and democrats can both claim victory on this one.

    September 13, 2007 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  4. David, Roseburg OR

    How is this for a plan.
    1. Rebuild the infrastructure we blew up on the first day of the invasion.

    Give them dependable electricity, running water and sewage. It's amazing how much gentler people become when they can go to the bathroom or get a drink of water from the faucet instead of having to go outdoors for that purpose. Imagine being able to run your refrigerator every hour of every day, wow, fresh food.

    2. Feed them. A happy belly is a happy and contented person and those that provide the food are treated with due respect.

    3. Get them medical treatment. Get their hospitals up and running at capacity. Treat not just their body, but also their mind, they have been through a lot more horrors than any of us will ever see unless we are stationed there. Give them counseling to understand the issues that are controlling their country.

    4. Educate them, get their schools up and running and teach them what has happened and why and what the future plans are. (oops, this one might not be feasible as we never have had a future plan for them.

    5. build city, county and state commissions so the public is involved with their day to day life. It's truly amazing what people will do when they know their actions will be helping to change things for the better.

    6. Get us out of there and let them stand on their own two feet.

    September 13, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  5. Peter, Wausau, WI

    The plan that involved the "mandatory withdrawal timetables" is pretty scary... I hope that monster of a plan doesn't come back to give the terrorists a timetable for when they can completely take over Iraq.

    September 13, 2007 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  6. alan St Louis MO

    yes and no. The short term no The senate republicans will phillybuster anything the dems try to do or a veto from the whitehouse which dems cant overide.
    The long term yes the anger and stress that been building up for the last 8 years. And republicans sleeping in there dream worlds stay the course america behind us will come crashing down on election day.

    September 14, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Blanca DeBree, Fond du Lac, WI

    The eleven Republican Senators who will vote for the Webb Bill are traitors foremost to their party, but also to their country. It is my hope that loyal Republicans all over the country will punish these turncoats by removing them from office in next year's primaries. And if these senators are not running next year, we Republicans must punish them indirectly by denying them the companionship of other Republicans in the Senate chambers in 2009. Only by punishing Republicans for abandoning our Commander Guy can we ensure victory.

    September 15, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |