Friday, September 21, 2007
Dems Lose Another Micromanagement Vote
After wavering Republican Senators came under fierce political pressure, the bill garnered 56 votes in the 100-member chamber, but in a stinging defeat for Democrats, fell four votes short of the required 60-vote supermajority.
The measure, framed by Democratic Senator James Webb, and co-sponsored by Republican war critic Senator Chuck Hagel, would have mandated rest periods for troops equal to the length of time they spent on combat tours.
Its failure was the latest bitter disappointment for Democrats who grabbed control of Congress last year, but have repeatedly failed to change the course of US strategy in the unpopular war.
But critics branded the bill a "back-door" attempt to enforce a drawdown of US troops from Iraq. Supporters did not dispute the fact it would limit troop levels, but said it was vital to ease the strain on the US military.
Republicans celebrated the defeat of the bill, which they said would have amounted to a legislated surrender in Iraq, a week after Bush declared his troop surge strategy a success.
Senator and 2008 presidential candidate John McCain branded the bill "dangerous," adding it would have "the effect of changing policy on the war."
Republican Senator Jim Bunning issued an outspoken attack on the bill.
"I will not support this slow bleed strategy in Iraq, it ties the hands of our commanders," he said.
Republican Senator John Warner, an expert on the military, who has expressed disquiet about war strategy, had considered voting for the measure, but was swayed by top military brass in a meeting on Wednesday.
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