Essentially, the resolutions have originated from the Democratic leadership to satisfy their base. They want action on Iraq -- preferably action that sets deadlines for withdrawal or at least for initiation of withdrawal, or some change in the plans of the war that’s now being fought by the administration, General Petraeus, and Ambassador Crocker. Republicans have indicated that they are prepared to support General Petraeus, Crocker, and, in essence, the administration.

So with the 60-vote agreement that would be required for any of these votes to pass they are predictably falling short. You can see all or most of the Democratic votes, with a few Republicans -- but not 60. As a result, Democrats are able to show that they are trying. Their base, or at least the far left of it, may feel they’re ineffective and be disappointed in that. On the other hand, Republicans have indicated that they are prepared to understand what Petraeus and Crocker are saying in the report that we all heard in the committees. It’s indeterminate in much the same way that the debate on the defense authorization bill was.

Eventually we’ll have to include the amendments with reference to Iraq and finish the defense bill. It’s very important because it has the provisions for pay raises for the troops, as well as other authorization language. We’ve already passed the appropriations bill but it would be insane not to pass the authorization bill, having done so for the last 35 or 40 years. This will need to happen, but in a time frame in which the leadership comes together, as they have not yet, on a continuing resolution so that our entire government can continue after September 30, which now is only five days hence.