Washington, D.C. â€“ Council for a Livable World condemned the Senateâ€™s refusal today to hold a substantive debate on President Bushâ€™s effort to escalate U.S. troop levels in Iraq. The Senate voted 56-34 Saturday on a motion to invoke cloture on S. 574, which is identical to the resolution just passed in the House and expresses support for U.S. troops while criticizing President Bushâ€™s proposal to commit an additional 21,500 combat soldiers to Iraq. The final vote fell 4 short of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture and move past ongoing procedural obstructionism by Senate Republicans.
Despite this disappointing outcome, Council for a Livable World commended 7 Republicans who defied their party leadership and voted for cloture. These brave Republicans were Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and John Warner (R-VA).
â€œSenator John Warner of Virginia deserves particular praise for his leadership of the dissident Republicans,â€� said Guy Stevens, Chief Operating Officer of Council for a Livable World.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Warner outlined his reasons for voting in favor of the resolution, "Our resolution in no way has anything to do with the cut-off of fundsâ€¦We simply say: Mr. President, this particular battle in Baghdad is best fought by the Iraqis."
â€œAfter four years of war, an open and honest debate about the war in Iraq is long overdue,â€� said John Isaacs, Executive Director of Council for a Livable World. â€œUsing procedural maneuvers to evade such a debate is despicable and does a grave disservice to the American people and our troops in the field.â€�
â€œThe Senate should follow the example set by the House of Representatives and hold an up or down vote on this simple resolution that criticizes President Bushâ€™s escalation of the war,â€� said Isaacs.
Every Senate Democrat voted in favor of cloture except Tim Johnson (D-SD), who continues to recover from a recent stroke. Nine Senate Republicans, however, refused to go on record either for or against cloture. These non-voting Republicans included presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ), who labeled the vote "meaningless" during a campaign stop.
The Council for a Livable World, based in Washington, D.C., works tirelessly to reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security. Founded by Manhattan Project scientist Leo Szilard in 1962, the Council provides Members of Congress with technical information on weapons of mass destruction and operates a Candidate Fund that helps elect candidates who support sensible national security policies.