The State of the Senate

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Yesterday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote–in which only one Republican, Chuck Hagel, voted in favor of a nonbinding resolution denouncing President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq–has Democratic leaders rethinking their strategy for bringing the resolution to the floor. If the Foreign Relations vote is any sign of things to come, the Democrats will fall far short of their hopes of getting a dozen or more Republicans to support the resolution.

The idea now is that it might be smarter to vote on a similar, but slightly gentler measure like Republican Senator John Warner’s, which avoids the use of the word “escalation.” It’s a tricky tradeoff: One gives them a stronger bill, the other a message that opposition to the policy is truly bipartisan. Either way, it now appears there will be no action on the Senate floor until late next week. Stay tuned…

UPDATE: See comments for a great catch by Anon. The language did indeed get changed, a Foreign Relations staffer confirms, to “increasing.” But there are still only differences in nuance between the Biden and Warner resolutions. By the way, here’s a link to the Biden resolution on the official congressional website, though you will see it still has the old language of “escalating,” and here’s one to Warner, which calls it augmenting.