This means that the bill — which Bush has to have to finance the war — will go to him with a deadline in place. Will he veto the bill as he’s vowed he’ll do? Dare he, if he has to have the money? By a vote of 48 to 50 (roll call vote), Senate Republicans failed to pass the Cochran Amendment; a provision remains which sets “a goal of bringing home most American troops by March 31, 2008.” The Senate GOP even had Cheney on hand in case the vote was close. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) crossed over and voted with Democrats. I’m surprised because I was sure the Republican minority would prevail. (This is breaking news, so there’s no story yet, but there’s an earlier story on the vote at the NYT. UPDATE: “Senate Keeps Pullout Date in Iraq War Bill“)
Sen. Smith of Oregon is up for reelection in 2008, and a recent poll showed him losing to a good Democratic candidate, Rep. Peter DeFazio.
From a diary at Daily Kos, “BREAKING: Cochran Amendment fails, withdrawal language stays in”:
From what Majority Leader Reid said on the floor after the vote, there will be cloture vote in the not-too-distant future (either later tonight or tomorrow, I forget which). The Republicans have indicated they won’t oppose cloture, so the vote on final passage of the Senate supplemental should come within the next few days. Then it’s on to the conference committee, but with withdrawal timelines in both the House and Senate versions, it’s essentially a certainty that there will be a withdrawal timeline in the conference report.