GOP senators have offered to resolutions on Iraq to be debated by the U.S. Senate. Senator McCain (R-Ariz.) proposed a resolution that backed “the new Iraq strategy, although it also expressed the need for the Iraqi government to meet certain benchmarks that it has long failed to achieve.” And Senator Gregg (R-N.H.) offered a resolution opposing any funding limits for American troops in the field.

LA Times

But the Democrat leadership refused to allow debate on these resolutions, preferring to solely debate a resolution preferred by Senate Democrats. In response to GOP complaints that the Senate was not allowing full debate, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.) agreed to allow full debate on all three resolutions, but only if the GOP agreed to not fillibuster (simple majority would pass the resolution). Since this would guarantee passage of the Democrat’s resolution, the GOP blocked the move insisting that there be full debate on all three measures and with a 60% vote.

When Senator Reid refused, debate was quashed. The Democrats blamed the GOP for blocking debate, and headlines ran with this claim as shown in a Google news search (bringing up 1,464 articles as of this writing).

Google News Results

But the GOP countered that the Democrats are the ones who blocked debate, and that had the Democrats accepted the GOP offer for full debate under the normal Senate rules (including the ability to filibuster), that likely one resolution would have passed. And because the Democrats do not want passage of the Gregg measure — the least controversial of the three — the Democrats used procedure to block the GOP.

Paul H. Masters is a former CPA with Grant Thornton, having worked as an associate tax attorney for Baker & McKenzie and Vinson & Elkins, currently serving as an assistant attorney general. These opinions are those solely of the author, and do not represent those of his past or current employers.

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