The Politico reports that the Senate will vote today on whether to strip the timetable from the Senate Iraq legislation:
The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday afternoon on an amendment to strike the withdrawal timetable from legislation to fund the war in Iraq, a senior Senate aide told Politico's John Bresnahan.
Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi offered an amendment to remove the withdrawal language from the emergency spending bill to fund the war.
The House approved a measure last week that would force U.S. troops to leave Iraq by the fall of 2008 as well as other benchmarks that could speed that withdrawal.
Now we all remember about I'm just a bill. If the Senate strips this provision and passes the bill without it, then the Senate version (without timetable) has to be merged with the House version (with timetable) in conference. On a huge issue like this one, the conference outcome will likely be dictated by the leadership. Thus, Pelosi, Reid, and their leadership teams will decide whether the timetable is included in the conference report or stripped.
In a penny, in a dollar: the language will likely be included. Then the question will be whether Reid can get enough votes to send the bill to the President. Watch the vote today. If he only needs to sway one Senator, he probably ought to be able to send it to the President for a veto. More than that I would not bet on. Then whether the supplemental is vetoed or dies in the Senate, Congress will go back to work on a cleaner bill (but count on it still including the pork, and some of the procedural hurdles).
Why retain the forced-surrender language when it's clear the President will veto it? Because when the anti-war left says 'jump,' the Congressional Democrats know that the proper response is 'how high?'