In what was seen as a surprise move, the Republicans in the United States Senate agreed to allow a vote on a bill to cut funding for the Iraq War and to redeploy troops out of Iraq within 120 days. Consequently the motion to invoke cloture passed by a vote of 70 to 24 with 6 Senators not voting.
Both Ohio Senators voted to invoke cloture, which may be the first time that Brown and Voinovich have voted the same way on a bill related to Iraq. Interestingly 21 of the 24 votes against invoking cloture on debating the bill came from Democrats. Democrats voting against cloture included both Democratic Senators from Delaware, and newly elected Democratic Senators Casey, Webb, Tester, and McCaskill.
The Republicans voted to allow the debate to go forward and to advance the bill to a vote because they think that the so-called "success" of the surge will help them move public opinion. Of course, a lot of that depends on how the Democrats frame the debate.
We hope that Democrats point out that Republicans are willing to spend billions of dollars on Iraqis, but not on Americans. Billions of dollars to rebuild Baghdad, but not New Orleans. Framing the debate that way makes the choices that Republicans are making very clear.
We would also like to see Democrats earmark the money saved by cutting funding for the war and deploying troops out of Iraq for helping ordinary Americans caught up in the foreclosure crisis or into developing alternative energy. Of course, it is all hypothetical anyway since Bush has already vowed to veto any bill cuts off funding and redeploy troops out of Iraq. Still, the debate could be interesting.