Wednesday, July 11, 2007

An update on some of the wrangling over Iraq funding in the Senate. According to this story, even as Sen. Domenici (R-NM) has broken with the president, he is still unwilling to back any legislation that has firm deadlines for required troop withdrawals--though some Democratic leaders are predicting that many Democrats will support the Levin-Reed amendment, which requires the withdrawal of many troops from Iraq by a certain deadline. An alternative to Levin-Reed is an amendment (with language similar to that of S.1545) sponsored by Sen. Salazar (D-CO) and Sen. Alexander (R-TN), which would recommend the implementation of the Iraq Study Group's recommendations but not set a firm deadline for troop withdrawals. Other sponsors of the Salazar-Alexander amendment include:
Mark Pryor (D-AR), Robert Bennett (R-UT), Robert Casey (D-PA), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), John Sununu (R-NH), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Pete Domenici (R-NM), and Bill Nelson (D-FL).
However, it seems as though some Republicans (including Sen. Cornyn [R-TX]) are skeptical of this alternative or any calls for change in policy until the president offers his report on Iraq in September. Meanwhile, Sens. Lugar (R-IN) and Warner (R-VA) are working on a proposal that will be revealed after the president offers an interim report on progress in Iraq by July 15.
While Senate Republicans have shown some levels of division in approaches to Iraq policy, Senate Democrats have shown some divisions, too, with Majority Whip Durbin (D-IL) predicting that the Senate will be unable (contrary to the wishes of some Democrats) to force deadlines for a total end to Iraq military operations--at the moment, at least. And Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) has apparently not yet decided if he will support a vote on the Salazar amendment.