Roll Call ($) reports:
After weeks of behind-the-scenes wrangling, Senate Democrats emerged Thursday from a closed-door meeting with details of a new Iraq resolution calling for phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from that country beginning within three months.
The joint resolution, which is binding, would set specific goals for President Bush’s Iraq War policy including that the withdrawal of forces begin no later than 120 days after the bill is enacted and that a goal of a complete redeployment be achieved by March 31, 2008.
Democratic leaders said a binding resolution would go to the floor as early as next Tuesday, with debate spanning at least a week. Republicans would get the chance to offer three competing alternatives, while Senate Democrats may get the chance to put out a second proposal as well, sources said.
“We feel very strongly in our position,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “Whether any Republicans will join us, we don’t know.”
Democrats suggested that a good share — perhaps as many as 50 of 51 of their Caucus — will back their latest resolution. It remains unclear whether Reid will seek a minimal threshold of 50 or 60 votes for the measure, and other GOP alternatives...
So House and Senate Democrats are largely in agreement; they want to be out of Iraq as soon as practicable, and they are willing to support binding legislation to accomplish this. I really wonder what Roll Call means when they say that the Senate measure could get as many as 50 of the 51 Democratic Senators. Do they mean that Tim Johnson won't vote for it, or that they might lose Joe Lieberman's support?
I believe that the former is true, regardless. As far as I know, Tim Johnson is not returning to the Senate next week. If the latter is true - that Lieberman won't support it - then they might not even have the support of half the Senate.
In either case, this demonstrates that Dave Obey is more right than he suspects. There is no way the Democrats have the votes to end the Iraq conflict. The sooner the nutroots accept this, the better for the Democrats.
It looks like no one wants to bring them 'the bad news,' however.