Tuesday, July 17, 2007

BREAKING: Our Harry to Republicans: Stand Up or Shut Up.

UPDATE! Harry is taking it to the mattresses!

Apparently Harry is out of patience with Republican procedural obstructionism! Yay, and it's about damn time, says almost everyone referring to the Think Progress alert.
Think Progress » BREAKING: Reid To Force All-Night Filibuster On Iraq Withdrawal: "Moments ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that in response to conservative obstructionism, he plans to force war supporters to physically remain in the Senate and filibuster Iraq withdrawal legislation.

Reid accused conservatives of “protecting the President rather than protecting our troops” by “denying us an up or down vote on the most important issue our country faces.” He said that if a vote on the Reed/Levin Iraq legislation is not allowed today or tomorrow, he will keep the Senate in session “straight through the night on Tuesday” and force a filibuster."

OpenLeft, Firedoglake and others have also called for Congress to call the conservatives’ bluff and force them to filibuster the Levin-Reed Iraq bill.

Here's Reid's reasoning, which I support, for what it's worth.

So the record here is clear. The President’s decision to stubbornly cling to the current course leaves this body no choice but to enact binding language.

He has failed to lead us out of Iraq. We are ready to show him the way.

M. President, my worst fears on this bill have been realized. We have just seen the Republican leadership again resort to technical maneuver to block progress on this crucial amendment.

It would be one thing for Republicans to vote against this bill. If they honestly believe that “stay the course” is the right strategy — they have the right to vote “no.”

But now, Republicans are using a filibuster to block us from even voting on an amendment that could bring the war to a responsible end.

They are protecting the President rather than protecting our troops.

They are denying us an up or down — yes or no — vote on the most important issue our country faces.

I would like to inform the Republican leadership and all my colleagues that we have no intention of backing down.

If Republicans do not allow a vote on Levin/Reed today or tomorrow, we will work straight through the night on Tuesday.

The American people deserve an open and honest debate on this war, and they deserve an up or down vote on this amendment to end it.

Given the Republican leadership’s decision to block the amendment, we have no choice but to do everything we can in the coming days to highlight Republican obstruction.

We do this in hopes of ultimately getting a simple up or down vote on this and other important amendments that could change the direction of the war.

All Senators will be welcome to speak their mind. Those of us who are ready to end the war will make our case to the American people. Those who support the status quo are welcome to equal floor time to make their case.

Let the American people hear the arguments. Let them see their elected representatives engaging in a full, open and honest debate.

Let them hear why Republicans are obstructing us on this amendment.

Whenever Republicans are ready to allow a vote on this most crucial legislation, we stand ready to deliver the new course that has been so long in coming.

So, it's already tomorrow and if everything is going well, individual Republicans will have to be on record as "Supporting the President instead of supporting the troops." Sooner or later, one or more will break and , as detailed below, cloture will be invoked and a vote will follow, as Bob Geiger explains below.
The Reed-Levin amendment to the Department of Defense (DoD) Authorization Bill requires George W. Bush to "commence the reduction of the number of United States forces in Iraq not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act" and mandates a withdrawal of most combat forces by April 30, 2008.

The legislation, S.AMDT.2087, has bipartisan support and is cosponsored by Gordon Smith (R-OR), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

In making this move (based on my understanding of Senate rules), Reid is invoking the provisions of Rule 22 (Precedence of Motions) of the Standing Rules of the Senate, which provides, at the Majority Leader's discretion, up to 30 hours of debate if a filibuster is initiated -- as the Republicans will most certainly do, knowing that Reed-Levin may very well have the 51 votes needed for passage.

Sixty votes are needed to achieve cloture (end debate) and move legislation to a full, deciding vote.

Reid will be using the provision of Rule 22 that allows for up to 30 hours of continuous debate once it's made clear -- in this case, by Republicans trying to avoid an up-or-down vote on Reed-Levin -- that there is a desire to continue debating the issue.

In other words, the Majority Leader is saying "You want to debate? We'll stay all night and debate."

Read Reid’s full speech HERE.

202-225-4965 = Pelosi’s office
202-224-3542 = Reid in D.C.
702-388-5020 = Reid in Nevada

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