Caroline Daniel of the Financial Times has been doing a good job of tracking the Congressional effort towards a nonbinding voice of dissent over the White House Iraq policy. While Senate Republican leadership has managed to stall, if not disable, debate over the nonbinding resolution that opposes further escalation in Iraq, House rules appear to be more accommodating; and debate is scheduled for three days in the coming week in the wake of "22 oversight hearings over Iraq and Afghanistan in the past four weeks." Meanwhile, Senate Republicans who have opposed the leadership decision to quash debate have not yet given up the good fight:
Although the Senate Republicans scored a temporary legislative victory in preventing an embarrassing vote against the president, the tactics have split the party. On Wednesday night seven Republican senators wrote to Senate leaders threatening to attach a resolution opposing the surge in troops to any bill sent to the floor in the coming weeks. The group, which includes John Warner, Chuck Hagel, Norm Coleman and Susan Collins, vowed to “explore all of our options under the Senate procedures and practices to ensure a full and open debate”.
I do not know enough about Senate rules to know whether or not the Republicans can change their leadership in midstream; but this may be coming down to the question of whom the Republican leadership represents, the constituents that voted in the Republican senators or the White House. It would appear that the very process of open debate, which has been part of our country's legacy going back to the Continental Congress (which, lest we forgot, debated the text of the Declaration of Independence very energetically, if not contentiously), has opened a very ugly can of worms in the operating procedures of our government, which may remind us of just how dire a state we are in!