What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Curbing Presidential Power : S. J. Res. 9 Joint resolution to revise United States policy on Iraq/On the resolution
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S. J. Res. 9 Joint resolution to revise United States policy on Iraq/On the resolution
senate Roll Call 75     Mar 15, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This vote represented the Senate's second attempt this year to address President Bush's stewardship of the war in Iraq. In February the Senate was unable to bring a nonbinding resolution expressing disapproval of the administration's handling of the war to the floor over Republican protests. This time around the Senate brought a mandatory troop withdrawal measure to a vote, but only after Republicans were confident that it did not have the 60-vote supermajority necessary to pass. The 60-vote threshold was necessary to overcome the threat of a Republican filibuster. Without three-fifths of the Senate in agreement to end debate, any Senator could have held the chamber hostage by refusing to turn over the floor. To avoid the necessity of a cloture vote, the only procedural move that can stop a filibuster, the Democratic leadership agreed to rules for consideration that required at least 60 votes for adoption. With almost every Republican against the measure, the Republican leadership knew the resolution likely wouldn't be able to collect the necessary 60 votes. The resolution called for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq by the end of March 2008. As a binding measure, it faced a promised veto by President Bush, but adoption by the Senate would have allowed Democrats to define a clear position on the war. The chief sponsor of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said that in voting for the resolution the Senate would not only have been rebuking Bush's conduct of the war but also making a declaration of the legislative branch's intent to assert its constitutional authority. The resolution would have required the president to begin pulling out troops within 120 days of enactment, with the end of redeploying all combat forces from Iraq except for training Iraqi troops, targeted counter-terrorism efforts and protecting U.S. infrastructure and personnel by March 2008. The language further stated that the withdrawal would be part of a "comprehensive diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community for the purpose of working collectively to bring stability to Iraq." In the end, the Democrats couldn't even muster a simple majority, and the measure failed 48-50. Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) were the only Senators who caucus with the Democrats to oppose it. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) was absent due to illness. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) was the only Republican who didn't cast a vote. Sen. Gordon Smith (Ore.) was the only Republican to support the resolution. All remaining 47 Republicans opposed it. In short, the Senate failed to muster enough votes to pass a resolution requiring combat forces be pulled from Iraq within a year, and the president's war policy -- including a recent troop escalation -- remained unchanged.

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