Breaking: Senate Democrats Back Defeat!

Senate democrats today refused to strike language that would tie the hands of the Commander-in-Chief by imposing an arbitrary timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq:

Defying a veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Senate narrowly signaled support Tuesday for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by next March.

Republican attempts to scuttle the non-binding timeline failed on a vote of 50-48 (Roll Call HERE), largely along party lines. The roll call marked the Senate’s most forceful challenge to date of the administration’s handling of a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,200 U.S. troops.

John McCain, R-Ariz., a presidential hopeful, said that “we are starting to turn things around” in the Iraq war” and that a timeline for withdrawal would embolden the terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere.

The effect of the timeline would be to “snatch defeat from the jaws of progress in Iraq,” agreed Lieberman, who won a new term last fall in a three-way race after losing the Democratic nomination to an anti-war insurgent.

Bush had previously said he would veto any bill containing the timeline, and the White House freshened the threat a few hours before the vote on Tuesday. “This and other provisions would place freedom and democracy in Iraq at grave risk, embolden our enemies and undercut the administration’s plan to develop the Iraqi economy,” it said in a statement.

Similar legislation drew only 48 votes in the Senate earlier this month, but Democratic leaders made a change that persuaded Nebraska’s Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson to swing behind the measure.

Additionally, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a vocal critic of the war, sided with the Democrats, assuring them of the majority they needed to turn back a challenge led by Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

The senate will now convene tomorrow to resume consideration of H.R. 1591, the Supplemental pork-bloated Appropriations bill.

Strange how they were just recently opposed to timetables, via RedState:

** While stumping for votes last September, senatorial candidate Jim Webb said: “Anyone who tells you we can set a timetable for withdrawal doesn’t understand war. And anyone who says that nothing can be done to speed a secure peace doesn’t understand America.”
** On March 8, Sen. Ben Nelson said: “I’m bothered by dates. I think you still have to go on conditions for staying.”
** On March 12, Sen. Evan Bayh wrote: “I, for example, am not in support of circling a date on a calendar and saying, ‘no matter what, we’re out on that date.’ ”
** Nancy Pelosi spent $28 billion last week to round up 218 votes (the exact minimum to get a majority in the 435-member House). That worked out to $130 million or so per vote.

Tomorrow the Senate will vote on Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill for FY2007 along with these add-ons, via Victory Caucus:

$24 million for funding for sugar beets.

$3 million for funding for sugar cane (goes to one Hawaiian co-op).

$20 million for insect infestation damage reimbursements in Nevada, Idaho, and Utah.

$2.1 billion for crop production losses.

$1.5 billion for livestock production losses.

$100 million for Dairy Production Losses.

$13 million for Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Program.

$32 million for Livestock Indemnity Program.

$40 million for the Tree Assistance Program.

$100 million for Small Agricultural Dependent Businesses.

$6 million for North Dakota flooded crop land.

$35 million for emergency conservation program.

$50 million for the emergency watershed program.

$115 million for the conservation security program.

$18 million for drought assistance in upper Great Plains/South West.

Provision that extends the availability by a year $3.5 million in funding for guided tours of the Capitol. Also a provision allows transfer of funds from holiday ornament sales in the Senate gift shop.

$165.9 million for fisheries disaster relief, funded through NOAA (including $60.4 million for salmon fisheries in the Klamath Basin region).

$12 million for forest service money (requested by the president in the non-emergency FY2008 budget).

$425 million for education grants for rural areas – (Secure Rural Schools program).

$640 million for LIHEAP.

$25 million for asbestos abatement at the Capitol Power Plant.

$388.9 million for funding for backlog of old Department of Transportation projects.

$22.8 million for geothermal research and development.

$500 million for wildland fire management.

$13 million for mine safety technology research.

$31 million for one month extension of Milk Income Loss Contract program (MILC)

$50 million for fisheries disaster mitigation fund.

$100 million for security at the Presidential Candidate Nominating Conventions

$2 million for the University of Vermont

More on the senator with the secret escape plan.

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