Senate will adjourn until 9:30 tomorrow
Morning business of one hour. The resume consideration of motion to proceed to S. 2634, with any time counting post-cloture. That passes. Senate adjourns until 9:30 tomorrow. The pending business will be the al Qaeda strategy bill. Debate on this bill will now consume the Senate through Friday.
Republicans welcome al Qaeda debate
Senators jump from Iraq debate to al Qaeda. Senators voted to proceed on a motion to consider a second Feingold foreign policy bill, this one calling for the Executive to establish a policy to defeat al Qaeda. Republicans welcomed the debate.
Richard Burr (NC) just spoke about health care. Ken Salazar now takes the Senate into a period of morning business. This is Senate business. Salazar could one day handle a more important role in the Senate for the Democrats.
Procedural vote is on bill calling for U.S. to declare an al Qaeda strategy
This is not the Iraq redeployment legislation, this is S. 2634
. Sixty voted needed to proceed to debate on the bill. The bill: "Directs the Secretaries of Defense, State, and Homeland Security to jointly submit to Congress a report setting forth U.S. global strategy to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates."
Aye: Alexander Allard Bunning Conrad Craig Crapo Durbin Feingold Grassley McConnell Reed Sununu Thune.
Nay: Hagel (NE), Enzi (WY).
89-3, the motion is agreed to.
They are moving forward with this thing.
I find it surprising that Republicans would support the bill as it now stands. It is possible that the Republicans are making a play to take over this legislation. Recall that the FISA bill was commandeered by the Republicans at one point, filibustered by Dodd et al. The Republicans are saying, OK, we'll take the opportunity to amend that bill. We'll hold some tough national security votes and see who will come along.
This will pass and be the pending business of the Senate. It will be open to amendment unless the amendment process gets screwy again.
John Warner was present for this vote, voted aye. No one has voted against it yet. It would be interesting to hear some al Qaeda debate as opposed to Iraq debate. But how much of its strategy should the U.S. be ready to share with the public?
No sign of the presidents-to-be.
Reid queries the benefit of blind soldiers
Four thousand troops dead, says Reid. "How many blind soldiers do we need? ... When is enough enough? We're gonna start in a few days the sixth year of this war." He says that Iraq is a wealthy nation, that is has a bunch of oil. He suggests Iraq can take care of itself.
Republicans aren't serious enough about Iraq. How can they object to this? he wonders. Now Reid is making a reference to Keith Olberman. How Olberman signs off his broadcasts by saying the number of days since President Bush declared "Mission Accomplished."
Now Durbin, Dick Durbin, from Illinois, the majority whip. He says, Yeah, Reid you're right. The war in Iraq is the biggest foreign policy blunder in the history of the country. But Maria Cantwell (WA) says from the chair that the majority's time has expired. Durbin looks dumbfounded. McConnell yields back time. We're gonna have this vote now.
They're still talking about Iraq, but a vote is on the way
There is going to be a second procedural vote on this Feingold bill redeploying troops out of Iraq. A second bill calls for defining a policy in the war on al Qaeda. McConnell is coming at these bills hard, saying if Feingold is so worried about fighting al Qaeda he should urge the House to pass the Senate's version of new FISA legislation.
Anyway, at 18:30 a cloture vote on the bill itself, a vote on whether or not debate should come to an end. I don't believe the Republicans will vote for cloture. But maybe they'll call the Democrats' bluff. Offer up a bunch of national security amendments, maybe get them passed. But I believe the Republicans will vote against cloture, effectively killing the bill. Voting will begin shortly.
Iraq redeployment debate continues
It's been rather uneventful today in the Senate. Republicans are forcing senators to burn through the maximum 30 hours of debate following a successful cloture vote on the motion to proceed to a Feingold bill facilitating redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq. It all feels perfunctory to me, nothing we haven't heard before.
Several senators are using their time to talk about other topics. There haven't been any votes today.
Corker doesn't want housing bill to "see the light of day"
This is the housing bill that Democrats wish they were working on instead of debating Iraq. Bob Corker (TN) says that the bill would be an "unmitigated disaster" and he calls for help in making sure "that it doesn't see the light of day." This is telling me that Republicans will be voting against cloture on any motion to proceed to consideration of the bill, preventing Democrats from getting the 60 votes they need to begin debate on the bill.
This is a housing bill that would allow bankruptcy judges to reduce the amount of principal that insolvent homeowners owe to mortgage lenders on home loans. It is an attempt to stave off the Dem-espied foreclosure crisis.
Reid moves to have post-cloture time yielded back, McConnell objects
Democrats yesterday initiated an Iraq War debate by holding a cloture vote on a motion to proceed to a Russ Feingold bill
purporting to redeploy troops from Iraq. Republicans agreed to cloture, clearing the way for a maximum of 30 hours post-cloture debate. If any senator insists, the Senate must spend 30 hours on the underlying legislation. Republicans have so insisted.
Harry Reid (NV) began the morning by asking for unanimous consent that "all post-cloture time be yielded back." Reid wants to move on to a housing-related bill that would allow bankruptcy judges to shave off the amount of principal that insolvent homeowners owe to mortgage lenders.
Mitch McConnell (KY) objected to Reid's request. McConnell said that several members on his side have recently been to Iraq and want to talk about the success that the U.S. is having in Iraq.
So, the Democrats have brought on this Iraq debate but now they seem to want to get out of it and move on. The Republicans are enjoying a means to frustrate the agenda of the majority.