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Democrats Attack GOP For Not Blocking Iraq Debate

12:23 PM, Feb 27, 2008 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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I covered yesterday the reluctance of Senate Democrats to begin debate on an Iraq withdrawal resolution. The irony of the situation is that the withdrawal bill is cosponsored by Majority Leader Harry Reid, who promised last year to bring it up. Democrats became even more angry when Senate Republicans voted to allow the Senate to debate the Feingold withdrawal bill. It led to a bizarre floor appearance by Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, complaining that Republicans -- by not shutting down the debate -- were forcing the Senate to waste valuable time. The Politico says:

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) accused Republicans of "obstruction," even though the GOP had just voted to allow debate instead of blocking the Iraq bill. Twenty Democrats voted against taking up the Iraq bill.

"The real reason is they're scared to death of the housing bill," Durbin said...

Right. The terrifying housing bill. It's unclear at this time whether Durbin was aware that it was the Democratic leadership which called up the bill and forced a debate.

The Politico also captures some fascinating statements from Democrats and Republicans about the debate, which will likely continue through Thursday, at least:

"Our view is that there's been so much improvement in the situation in Iraq, ... we're happy to talk about the improvements," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "We welcome that debate..."

"The truth of the matter is, the surge completed the military effort, but the question is how do we get to a political settlement?" said Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "That's really where the debate should be..."

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) who has made several trips to Iraq and is considered one of the Democrats' top voices on military strategy, said he admired Feingold's efforts but believes a 120-day troop withdrawal mandate "is just too restrictive."

And Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) admitted the Democrats were gaining no ground by debating a doomed Iraq troop withdrawal measure that was so similar to previously unsuccessful proposals...

So Republicans welcome the invitation of the Democratic leadership to debate improvements in Iraq, while Democrats cite a variety of reasons that the bill cosponsored by Reid and called up by him doesn't make much sense. Do you wonder why people give Congress such poor ratings?