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Iraq Transition

Senate Democrats follow House lead on Iraq resolution

Story Highlights

• Senate Democrats prefer "more direct" language in House Iraq resolution
• Bipartisan measure has been stalled in the Senate
• Republicans opposed to Iraq plan consider attaching resolution to spending bill
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Democrats have decided to push aside a stalled bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush's troop boost in Iraq in favor of a more simplified measure now being debated in the House.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Tuesday that he would use the House resolution as the "moving piece of legislation" in the Senate, instead of a resolution crafted by Sens. John Warner, R-Virginia, and Carl Levin, D-Michigan, which has stalled because of a procedural dispute with Republicans.

"I think it's so much more direct -- we support the troops, we're opposed to the surge. Perfect," Reid told reporters.

Senate Democratic leaders had been supporting the Warner-Levin resolution, which expresses disapproval of Bush's plan to send an additional 21,000 troops to Iraq but also opposes trying to thwart it by cutting off funding, as some Iraq war critics have demanded.

In contrast, the two-sentence House resolution, which is expected to pass in a vote Friday, opposes the troop increase and expresses support for U.S. forces, without wading into the dispute over funding or setting any benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet. (Full story)

Reid was forced to pull the Warner-Levin resolution from the Senate floor last week after Republican leaders successfully blocked it from moving forward in a procedural vote.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, refused to let the resolution go forward unless Reid agreed to let him bring up two alternative resolutions under rules that would require 60 votes for any of the measures to pass.

McConnell was backed in that position by Warner and four other Republicans who oppose Bush's new Iraq deployment.

Since then, Warner and several of his GOP allies have tried to attach the anti-surge language to a massive spending bill now making its way through the Senate. But Reid has blocked those efforts, out of concern it could delay passage of the bill and prompt a government shutdown.

On Tuesday, Reid blasted GOP senators who have been complaining about the delay in the Iraq debate.

"Some people have a lot of gall to think they can come to the floor and keep giving speeches as to why we're not debating Iraq, when they're the ones that stopped us from debating Iraq," he said.

Warner said Tuesday that he still wants to get his resolution passed in the Senate and might try to block other legislation as a tactic to get it considered. He said he hasn't decided whether to support the House resolution.

Reid said if the Warner-Levin proposal is brought up on the Senate floor, it would only be as an amendment to the House resolution, which the Senate will probably take up after returning from a recess later this month.

Sen. Harry Reid, left, discusses the Democratic response to the State of the Union speech with Sen. James Webb and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month.


(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.


Should the House pass a resolution opposing President Bush's plan to send 21,500 additional combat troops to Iraq?
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• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide


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