By Betsy Rothstein - 07/19/07 07:13 PM EDT
Starting Tuesday evening, the Senate stayed in session all night long to debate an Iraq withdrawal amendment. It was an unusual night in which aides worked into the wee hours and senators such as Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) spoke on the floor at 4:30 a.m.
“Everyone knows it is a way to get publicity, but it’s not without cause or merit,” wrote one Democratic Senate aide in an e-mail. “Republicans would rather prohibit progress on Iraq for political gains than work to find a sensible solution. …
Hopefully this all-night session will cause Americans to pressure Republicans to recognize the president’s strategy has failed. It’s a way to say, ‘We’re not leaving until Republicans [agree to] an up-or-down vote.’”
Not all staff had to stay, since senators spoke at specific times. Even many senators went home and returned when it was time to speak.
“I have a friend in another office that has to be here between the hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., so I doubt he or his boss will leave,” the aide remarked.
Another Democratic aide said, “Is it politics? Everything is politics.”
He also commented on the napping arrangements: “I think you will see more staff in the cots rather than senators, but if I was going to stay I’d pick the floor in my cubicle over a cot.”
Republicans were not amused by the all-nighter.
“My Democratic colleagues are playing politics with the war,” wrote Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) in an op-ed entitled “Up All Night.”
He continued: “So, the greatest deliberative body in the world, during wartime, is being used as a stage for political theater designed to benefit a political party at the expense of a nation’s war efforts. What’s really going on here?”