Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
House and Senate Democrats are planning a symbolic vote on Bush’s escalation of the Iraq war, partially to force Republicans to take a stand on the issue. While they haven’t ruled out more aggressive—and meaningful—measures, the Dems agreed that demonstrating their opposition was the least they could do.
New York Times:
Senate Democrats decided to schedule a vote on the resolution after a closed-door meeting on a day when Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts introduced legislation to require Mr. Bush to gain Congressional approval before sending more troops to Iraq.
The Senate vote is expected as early as next week, after an initial round of committee hearings on the plan Mr. Bush will lay out for the nation Wednesday night in a televised address delivered from the White House library, a setting chosen because it will provide a fresh backdrop for a presidential message.
The office of Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, followed with an announcement that the House would also take up a resolution in opposition to a troop increase. House Democrats were scheduled to meet Wednesday morning to consider whether to interrupt their carefully choreographed 100-hour, two-week-long rollout of their domestic agenda this month to address the Iraq war.
In both chambers, Democrats made clear that the resolutions—which would do nothing in practical terms to block Mr. Bush’s intention to increase the United States military presence in Iraq—would be the minimum steps they would pursue. They did not rule out eventually considering more muscular responses, like seeking to cap the number of troops being deployed to Iraq or limiting financing for the war—steps that could provoke a Constitutional and political showdown over the president’s power to wage war.