Senate rejects Democrats’ Iraq plan

The Senate on Thursday rejected a Democratic-backed resolution imposing a yearlong window to withdraw most of the U.S. troops from Iraq, with only Republican Sen. Gordon Smith (Ore.) crossing over to vote with the majority, which fell short of the necessary 60 votes.

Three Democratic caucus members opposed to their leadership’s resolution were Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who joined Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) on a proposed alternative that did not receive a floor vote. Smith, preparing for a hotly contested 2008 reelection race, supported the measure while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), locked in his own close race for the presidency, missed the vote while on a bus tour of primary states.

Both parties’ companion resolutions expressing support for troops in the field passed; Sen. Judd Gregg’s (R-N.H.) by an 82-16 vote and Democratic Caucus Secretary Patty Murray’s (Wash.) by a 98-2 vote. Gregg’s resolution was aimed at putting members on record as opposing any funding cuts for the war, while Murray’s highlighted commitment to caring for service members in the wake of the Walter Reed and other veterans’ health scandals.

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.), jockeying for their party’s White House nomination, supported the Gregg plan, a vote that may earn them disfavor with antiwar advocacy groups. Their fellow Democratic presidential hopefuls, Joseph Biden (Del.) and Chris Dodd (Conn.), voted against the Gregg language.

The only member of the Democratic leadership to back Gregg was Caucus Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.), a supporter of Clinton’s 2008 run.

Freshman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was the only member voting against all three Iraq proposals on the floor.