Dems lose bid to debate Iraq resolution

Senate Democrats late yesterday failed to win enough GOP support to begin debate on a non-binding resolution disapproving of President Bush’s plan to raise troop levels in Iraq. Sens. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) were the only two in their party who supported cloture on a motion to proceed to the measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) disputed GOP leaders’ charges that Democrats were seeking to minimize consideration of alternative resolutions of support for the Bush “surge.” Democrats offered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) several compromise proposals, Reid said.

The vote to cut off debate on a motion to proceed to the underlying resolution, a compromise backed by Sens. John Warner (R-Va.) and the authors of the first Foreign Relations Committee resolution on Iraq, fell 11 votes short of the required 60.

Collins and Coleman, who backed Warner’s first resolution as well as the compromise he struck with senior Democrats, voted with the majority, while war supporter Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) voted with Republicans. Both Collins and Coleman are already grappling with strong reelection challenges this cycle.

Warner and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), who took bruising fire from fellow Republicans for his support of the resolution, voted with their leaders in favor of filibustering a measure they support.