Thursday, February 15, 2007

House Republicans are suddenly free to cast "a vote of conscience" on the anti-escalation resolution--is the White House expecting a bloodbath?

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This in from Rawstory.com:
Aide to top Republican says leadership won't force members to vote in favor of Bush 'surge'
Michael Roston
Published: Thursday February 15, 2007

House Republicans will not demand party discipline when the Democratic-sponsored non-binding resolution condemning President Bush's Iraq "surge" comes to a vote, a top Republican aide tells RAW STORY--guaranteeing a sizable number of Republicans will cross the aisle.

Spokesman for the House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) Amos Snead said Thursday there will be no consequences imposed on Republican House members who vote for the Democratic resolution.

"This vote won't be whipped, we understand that this is a vote of conscience," Snead said.

"There are different opinions about the war in America, and there won't be a formal effort," to enforce party discipline on this measure, he added.

"Different opinions about the war"? Does anyone else remember when there was only one correct one, and anyone who disagreed was giving aid and comfort to the terrorists?

Howie, who's on the road, adds this note:

Keep in mind that, although they're painting an entirely different picture now, just two short weeks ago Rove and Cheney were threatening dire consequences for anyone who abandoned their president and voted to demoralize the troops and aid the terrorists. We should have a pool to see who can come closest to naming the # of Repugs who abandon their reactionary, warmongering leadership and vote with the less reactionary, less warmongering Democrats (without going over the actual number). My guess is 38 (and, of course Libertarian Ron Paul counts as a Republican).


MEANWHILE IN THE SENATE . . . Senator Reid has scheduled
a Saturday vote to consider the House anti-escalation resolution


The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray is reporting:
Senate Democratic leaders abruptly switched course in the Iraq war debate today, shelving a complicated non-binding resolution that has run into procedural hurdles, in favor of a House version that simply states Congress's objections to President Bush's troop escalation plan.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) this afternoon announced that the Senate would take a rare Saturday vote on whether to consider the House resolution, which is expected to pass that chamber Friday, with some Republican support.

If the Saturday vote succeeds, Reid said he may cancel the upcoming week-long recess, scrambling campaign plans for at least six presidential candidates.

The House resolution expresses support for U.S. troops fighting in Iraq, but objects to Bush's plan to increase combat forces by 21,500.

"We are determined to give our troops and the American people the debate they deserve," Reid said.

In particular, Democrats are calling the bluff of a group of Republican senators who oppose the escalation, but who joined with their GOP leadership to block the earlier Democratic-led resolution from coming to a vote, in an effort to force Democrats to allow a pro-administration measure to be offered.

When the House floated a much simpler text, Senate Democratic leaders quickly gravitated to it, believing Republicans would find it harder to block.

"On the one hand, they have their president and on the other hand, they have their constituencies," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). "They're diametrically opposed to one another. And now they can't duck it any more."

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