Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Today's list of important bills Senate Republicans blocked

The Senate considered some amendments to the 2008 defense authorization bill today involving Guantanamo Bay and Iraq and, of course, Senate Republicans played their usual obstructionist role.

The first was a bill to restore constitutional habeas corpus rights to detainees in Gitmo which were stripped in by the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The motion to invoke cloture got 56 votes, 4 shy of the 60 necessary and take a vote.

The second measure, Sen. Webb's amendment to require parity between troop deployment time and their time at home, also got 56 votes in a clear sign that the GOP members of the Senate are intent on driving the Republican Party off a cliff in next year's election. Sen. John Warner, who had supported the amendment previously, decided against voting for it this time and assured that the amendment would get no wider vote margin than last time (Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson is back now). He and other Republicans who had considered voting for it this time must have been satisfied with Bush's speech last week, I guess. Sen. McCain introduced a "Sense of the Senate" resolution expressing mere sympathy with long troop deployment, but it was rightly rejected to the dustbin of legislative irrelevancy where it belongs.

Soon, Democrats will hold votes on three other Iraq-related amendments including another pass at a firm timetable in Levin-Reed and the Feingold proposal to cut off money once troops have been redeployed, as well as a non-binding resolution from Sen. Joe Biden in support of partitioning Iraq into three autonomous regions.

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