Biden Gets Vote
On Iraq Plan
All the '08 Democratic candidates have plans to end the Iraq war. But only Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. gets to bring his to a Senate vote.
The Foreign Relations Chairman's proposal to create a federal Iraq with separate Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions will be called up Tuesday as Amendment 2997 to the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill. It's a non-binding resolution, so even if it does pass, it won't force President Bush to do anything. But sources close to Biden describe the senator as positively giddy about the exposure.
Biden has pitched his Iraq political settlement for months, both on the Senate floor and on the campaign trail, and it has quietly collected an unusually diverse array of Senate co-sponsors, from conservatives Sam Brownback (Kan.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.) to liberals Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Barbara Mikulski (Md.). But Democratic leaders paid it little heed, preferring to keep the congressional debate focused on the U.S. military mission and bringing home troops.
Earlier this month, Biden walked into Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (Nev.) office for an Iraq planning meeting prepared to lobby that his proposal be added to the legislative mix when the war debate returned to the Senate floor. But Reid didn't need much convincing; he liked Biden's political focus, as viewed it as a way to broaden the debate. Earlier this week, Reid announced that the Biden amendment would be one of four Iraq measures that Democrats would offer to the defense bill.
Biden has missed 99 votes so far this year, nearly 29% of the total number held, but this week he skipped Iowa campaign appearances to stay in Washington, drumming up votes for the Biden plan.
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