Cloture vote does not split Warner group

The three senators who crafted the key resolution rejecting President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq said Tuesday they are united despite having gone separate ways on a procedural vote Monday evening.

The three senators who crafted the key resolution rejecting President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq said Tuesday they are united despite having gone separate ways on a procedural vote Monday evening.

Sens. John Warner (R-Va.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) all said they were still united, even though Warner in effect supported a filibuster of the resolution they crafted together. Collins was one of two Republicans who voted with the Democrats on the issue.

Nelson said Tuesday he and Warner had spoken about the vote before it happened. "Sen. Collins took a different view and of course I took a different view," Nelson said, adding that despite the split on the procedural vote, the entire group is still behind the resolution.

Collins emphatically stated that the group was "absolutely" still in accordance on the resolution, and Warner concurred.

Nelson noted that support for the resolution in Congress remains strong, despite the lack of GOP support to cut off debate. Democrats won the vote 49-47 but did not muster even close to the 60 votes necessary to end debate.

Yet the Nebraska lawmaker acknowledged that Monday's vote "didn't help" with regard to fostering bipartisanship on the issue.

Nelson sad he remains hopeful that Senate leaders will find a solution to allow a vote on the resolution, as well as GOP alternatives. He said it was too early to tell what other vehicles the language could be attached to if no agreement can be reached.