Webb amendment blocked

Senate says no to mandatory time off for soldiers.

Topics: War Room, Jim Webb, Iraq, Middle East,

Senate Republicans were successful today in an attempt to block an amendment to the 2008 defense authorization bill that would have mandated that soldiers receive a certain amount of time off between deployments. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., who introduced the amendment — the first to be considered as the Senate debates the bill — withdrew it after a cloture vote, intended to limit debate on the measure and thus block a Republican filibuster, failed.

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The cloture vote needed 60 votes to succeed, but it fell four short; the final tally was 56-41. Seven Republicans — Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, John W. Warner, R-Va., John E. Sununu, R-N.H., Norm Coleman, R-Minn., Gordon H. Smith, R-Ore., and Susan Collins, R-Maine — joined Democrats, as did Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Senate’s other independent, Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman, voted against cloture.

On Tuesday, the Bush administration threatened a veto of the entire authorization bill if Webb’s amendment — or any amendment that set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq or dictated the U.S. mission there — was included, CQ reports.

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