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Hullabaloo


Friday, September 14, 2007

 
Strategering

by digby


Chris Dodd just told Tweety again that we can't end the war without 60 votes. We all know the drill. But Mark Kleiman writes today about a possible legislative strategy that seems quite logical to me and doesn't require 60 votes:

Anything that can be ridden on the Defense Appropriations bill (or on a continuing resolution) doesn't need 60 votes in the Senate. It needs 51 votes in the Senate, or 218 in the House, that will stand firm.

Take, for example, the Webb Amendment, forbidding troops from being required to serve tours in Iraq longer than the spells between tours. If passed, it would force a troop drawdown by spring.

The Democrats should offer the Webb Amendment when the Defense Appropriation comes up. If the Republicans want to filibuster, fine. Don't pull the amendment. Just let them keep filibustering. As long as the amendment is on the floor, there can be no vote on the bill itself. Keep calling cloture votes, one per day. After a few days, start asking how long the Republicans intend to withhold money to fund troops in the field in order to pursue their petty partisan agenda.

If the Republicans in the Senate hold firm, it's their stubbornness that's holding up the bill. If they fold, and the bill gets to the President's desk and he vetoes it, then pass the same damned bill again. And start asking how long the President intends to block funding for troops in the field in order to pursue his petty partisan agenda.

As of October 1, there's no money to fund the war. So the usual move is to pass a continuing resolution, which keeps the money flowing until the appropriation passes. Fine. Pass a continuing resolution with the Webb Amendment attached. If the CR runs into a filibuster or a veto, ask how long ...


I thought it was very odd when they didn't pursue the Webb Amendment earlier. But maybe there was a method to their madness. The Webb Amendment is powerful. It will support the troops in the most direct manner possible, making it law that they be allowed to have a reasonable break between deployments. The military families will all support it.

Forcing the Republicans to filibuster something that gives the troops a break seems like excellent politics to me. I'd be interested in hearing from some of you legislative mavens out there about this. Why wouldn't it work?


(Besides, I still want to see I want to see Huckleberry Graham give his famous dramatic reading of Miss Mellie's death scene in "Gone With The Wind" to obstruct passage of the Webb amendment, don't you?)


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