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Reid, McConnell Reach Deal on Iraq Votes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) today announced a deal to finally hold the first of a series of votes on resolutions dealing with President Bush’s handling of Iraq.

Under the agreement, the Senate this afternoon will vote on three proposals, all of which would require 60 votes for passage — a mark that none is anticipated to meet. Lawmakers will vote on Reid’s resolution setting a timetable for a redeployment of troops from Iraq by March of next year, a troop support resolution by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) essentially committing the Senate to backing continued involvement of troops in Iraq and a modified version of the Gregg amendment sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) that, while supporting continued funding for troops in the field, would leave open the possibility of Congress bringing the conflict to an end.

Although the Gregg amendment had originally been expected to garner well over 60 votes thanks to lawmakers’ reluctance to vote against anything with patriotic overtones, Democratic aides said the Murray proposal would likely siphon off enough votes to doom the Gregg language.

Lawmakers will not, however, consider a proposal by Sens. John Warner (R-Va.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), which would have given Bush six months to show his “surge” plan is working before asking the White House to reconsider its approach.

— John Stanton

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