Losing ground on Iraq?

How a Senate withdrawal measure went from 52-47 to 47-47.

By Tim Grieve
Published September 21, 2007 7:39PM (UTC)
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In July, the U.S. Senate voted 52-47 to take up consideration of a measure that would have required the president to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within 120 days. While 52 votes constituted a majority, they weren't enough to meet the 60-vote requirement for a cloture motion that would have cut off debate and moved the measure toward an up-or-down vote.

So Democrats tried to get a substantially similar measure going again this morning. The result this time: 47-47.


How is it possible that Democrats actually lost ground?

Here's how.

Democrats Barbara Boxer and Dick Durbin and independent Bernie Sanders, all of whom voted for the measure in July, didn't vote today. That takes support down from 52 votes to 49 votes.


Democrat Tim Johnson, who didn't vote in July, voted yes today. That takes support back up to 50 votes.

Democrat Harry Reid, who voted no in July, voted yes today. That takes support up to 51 votes.

Democrats Chris Dodd, Ben Nelson and Mark Pryor and Republican Susan Collins, all of whom voted yes in July, voted no today. And with that, the 52-47 vote found its way back down to 47-47.


Dodd explained his vote by saying that he'll vote yes only on measures that would "fully fund the complete redeployment of our troops out of Iraq." We haven't heard explanations from Nelson, Pryor or Collins yet, but somehow we're doubting that they're quite so unequivocal.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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