Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) upped the stakes last night in threatening to object to any motion to adjourn for a recess this next week after Presidents’ Day.
Their objection could easily be overcome with a simple roll call vote and a majority voting against them — but who wants to vote for vacation and shopping days in the malls of one’s district and state over debating the fate of America’s Iraq-based military units.
Here is the Snowe/Hagel letter pdf.
Hagel and Snowe wrote to “Harry and Mitch” (that’s Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) and Republican Leader McConnell (R-KY):
February 14, 2007
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 presence 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 U.S. military involvement in Iraq will not help solve the fundamental causes 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 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 the Presidents’ Day recess, and further request a roll call vote on any motion to adjourn that may be made.
Olympia J. Snowe
United States Senator
United States Senator
In response, Senate Majority Leader Reid has decided to escalate rather than accommodate these Senators and has threatened to call for a cloture vote on the House Resolution this Saturday — which in this blogger’s view is simply ineffective and a pale shadow of what the Warner Resolution calls for.
On this front — Hagel, Snowe, and the others who have signed recent letters and who are co-sponsors of the Warner resolution are correct.
And whether it is giving up the weekend — or staying in session all next week — the issue of whether to throw more troops into a bad strategy is worth giving up shopping and fundraisers for.
— Steve Clemons