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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Senators Hagel and Snowe Continue to Push for a Real Iraq Debate

In a letter dated 2/14/07, Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) made the following request to caucus leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell:

Nearly one month ago, we joined two Democratic colleagues in introducing a resolution expressing the Senate's disapproval of the President's plan to increase the US troop increase in Iraq. We subsequently joined forces with another bipartisan group of senators, led by Senator Warner, in introducing a second resolution disapproving of this 'troop surge' strategy. In both instances we worked across the aisle, putting partisanship aside in the interest of the nation. Our resolve stems both from our strong support for our troops in the field and our strong belief that deepening the US military involvement Iraq will not help solve the fundamental issues of the sectarian violence now engulfing Iraq. We believe the strategy is wrong, and that the Senate has a constitutional and moral obligation to make its views known.

Despite the fact that a clear majority of the Senate opposes this troop increase, senators have been able unable to voice their opinions on this matter because Senate leadership has failed to bring the Warner resolution (S. Con Res. 7) to a vote in a manner that satisfactorily accomodates both majority and minority viewpoints on the conduct of the war. This runs counter to the traditions and practices of the Senate. Given that additional US troops have already deployed to Baghdad and have already begun security operations, we believe time is of the essence, and that it is unconscionable for the Senate to recess at the end of this week without an agreement to debate the war in Iraq.

We understand you have resumed discussions to reach a mutually agreeable solution to bring the Warner resolution to a vote. We sincerely hope you succeed in these efforts, and we stand ready to work with you and your staffs to bring this matter to a swift resolution. Until such an agreement is reached, however, we hereby notify you of our intent to object to the adoption of any adjournment resolution for Presidents' Day recess, and further request a roll call vote on any motion to adjourn that may be made.

I say, good for them. Its infuriating for the leadership to duck and hide behind parliamentary maneuvers, when the 06 election results signaled a change in course is requested.

Everybody in the Senate should be ready and willing to go on record with roll call votes on any and all Iraq resolutions. As Senator Hagel said a few weeks ago to his colleagues, 'why are you here'?