Ratcheting up the stakes in the wake of the GOP’s successful blocking of a vote on Iraq withdrawal just moments ago, Harry Reid just announced on the Senate floor that he won’t allow a vote on the entire Defense Authorization bill until the Senate GOP drops its filibustering of votes on Iraq.
It comes only moments after the Republican filibuster succeeded in preventing a vote on the Reed-Levin amendment, which would have mandated withdrawal by April 2008.
I feel strange. The Democrats appear to be not backing down. Have I fallen through a rift in the space-time continuum? Is this some bizarre, parallel universe?
Reid’s statement is a thing of beauty:
I have temporarily laid aside the Defense Authorization bill and have entered a motion to reconsider.
But let me be clear to my Republican colleagues – I emphasize the word “temporarily”. We will do everything in our power to change course in Iraq. We will do everything in our power to complete consideration of a Defense Authorization bill. We must do both.
And just to remind my Republican colleagues – even if this bill had passed yesterday, its provisions would not take effect until October.
So we will come back to this bill as soon as it is clear we can make real progress. To that end, I have asked the Democratic Whip and Democratic Manager of the bill to sit down with their counterparts to work on a process to address all outstanding issues related to this bill so the Senate can return to it as soon as possible.
Translation: give us what we want, or the bill gets it.
Now, this doesn’t defund the DOD, so as soon as Joe Lieberman et. al. start whining that the Democrats are “playing games with national defense,” you can tell ’em to stuff it. But what it does do, as Greg Sargent notes, is kill the Warner-Levin Amendment, better known as the Dear Mr. President, sir, if you’d kindly sort of pretend to consider ending the war in Iraq, we’d appreciate it. No? Okay then Act of 2007. And that will drive the GOP batty, because they need that amendment to pretend they’re serious about ending the war. And given that they aren’t, they need it badly.
So this may actually work, and even if it doesn’t, it ensures that the Republican votes today to kill the measure are the last say that GOP senators get on the matter. If you can’t win on the vote — and you can’t without eleven Republicans — then at least make the GOP pay a heavy price for their obstruction.