What: All Issues : War & Peace : National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2008 (H.R. 1585), Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) amendment to withdrawal U.S. troops from Iraq/On adoption of the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 345)
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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2008 (H.R. 1585), Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) amendment to withdrawal U.S. troops from Iraq/On adoption of the amendment
senate Roll Call 345     Sep 20, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on an amendment to a bill setting policy for the Defense Department for fiscal 2008 that would begin a "safe" withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq within 90 days of enactment. The amendment was sponsored by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and would require the redeployment to be completed by June 30, 2008.

After U.S. troops were "safely out of Iraq," in Feingold's words, funding for the war would be ended with four narrow exceptions: providing security for U.S. government personnel and infrastructure, training the Iraqi security forces, providing training and equipment to U.S. service men and women to ensure their safety and security, and conducting targeted operations limited in duration and scope against members of al Qaeda and other affiliated international terrorist organizations.

"This war doesn't make sense. It is hurting our country, our military, and our credibility. It is time for this war to end. The American people know this, and they are looking to us to act. I hope we will not let them down again," Feingold said.

"I am not suggesting that we abandon the people of Iraq or that we ignore the political stalemate there and the rapidly unfolding humanitarian crisis which has displaced more than 4 million Iraqis from their homes," he continued, adding that the latest independent estimates reveal that 1 million Iraqi civilians have been killed since the war began. "But such turbulence cannot and will not be resolved by a massive military engagement."

In order to try to head off expected criticism from Republicans that their amendment would cut off funding for troops in the field - a critique Feingold called "phony" - Reid and Feingold added language requiring that redeployment "shall be carried out in a manner that protects the safety and security of United States troops'' and that nothing in this amendment will prevent U.S. troops from receiving the training or equipment they need "to ensure, maintain, or improve their safety and security."

Nonetheless, the provision drew heavy Republican criticism.

"The Senate, once again, faces a simple choice: Do we build on the successes of our new strategy and give General [David] Petraeus and the troops under his command the time and support needed to carry out their mission or do we ignore the realities on the ground and legislate a premature end to our efforts in Iraq, accepting thereby all the terrible consequences that will ensue?" Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked.

In the end, the amendment didn't even find enough supporters to pass with a simple majority, let alone the higher threshold of a three-fifths majority required by a previous agreement between the Democrat leadership and Republican leadership. The final vote was 28 to 70, with all of the support coming from Democrats, including the Senate's most progressive lawmakers. Thus, an amendment to begin a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq within 90 days of enactment and to be completed by June 30, 2008, failed to pass, and a bill setting policy for the Defense Department for fiscal 2008 went forward without the provision.

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