Democratic Hawks Forced to Identify Themselves

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Two amendments to a defense spending bill have come before the Senate in the last two days, both of which would ratchet up the pressure on the White House over the war in Iraq. The first, defeated yesterday by a voted of 58-40, was the Democrats’ version (S.Amdt. 2519, amending S. 1042). It called for the White House to offer a plan for a phased withdrawal of the roughly 160,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq, among other things. The second was the Republican version, which just passed by a 79-19 margin (S.Amdt. 2518). It was essentially the same bill with the “phased withdrawal” language removed. Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, who sponsored the first amendment, said he supported the second because it was the “second-best approach.”

Lincoln Chaffee was the only Republican who voted in favor of the Democratic amendment. Five Dems voted against it. They are:

Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Ben Nelson (D-NE)
Mark Pryor (D-AR)

Not voting: Jon Corzine (D-NJ)

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