Iraq Debate, by the Numbers
Day two of the House debate on the Iraq war kicked off promptly at 10:30 a.m. ET this morning, with today's highlight being the floor time Democrats granted to Republican lawmakers who are opposed to President Bush's plan to send in more troops
Democrats are taking note of the coincidental timing of Bush scheduling a last-minute White House news conference during the same time the "anti-surge" House Republicans are speaking. The 11 a.m. Bush appearance was set at precisely the time that Rep. Walter Jones (N.C.) -- a Republican who's been opposed to the war for several years now -- was set to lead fellow anti-war Republicans on the floor in support of the Democrats' resolution.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) will lead the first half of the debate today, with Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos running the floor for the final eight hours of debate.
One crucial group of Democrats to watch will be the "Blue Dogs," the caucus of moderate-to-conservative lawmakers who hail mostly from GOP-leaning districts in rural parts of the country. This group voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Iraq war in October 2002, and they are expected to vote nearly unanimously against the surge on Friday -- as sure a sign as there is of the changing political times for Bush.
The Blue Dogs are expected on the floor between 6 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET.
Now, for a by-the-numbers look back at day one of the Iraq debate:
4 -- The number of Republicans who joined Democrats in supporting the initial procedural motion to begin the debate on the disapproval resolution. [Reps. Jones, Wayne Gilchrest (Md.), Ron Paul (Texas) and Jim Ramstad (Minn.).]
1 -- The number of Democrats who stood with Republicans on that procedural motion, objecting to the beginning of the debate. [Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.)]
11:04 -- That's 11 hours, 4 minutes -- the total amount of time for official floor debate on Tuesday, which concluded with Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), a moderate who supported the war in '02, speaking out against it.
2 -- As in, 2 p.m. ET, the time most federal workers were allowed to leave their offices Tuesday and head home because of a small-but-nasty snow/ice storm headed toward the nation's capital.
11:35 -- As in, 11:35 p.m. ET, the time Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.) banged the gavel shut to close off debate for Tuesday.
91 -- Total number of members of the House who spoke on the floor Tuesday for or against the proposal, according to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's (Md.) office. That was 54 Democrats and 37 Republicans.
0 -- Total number of amendments or alternative proposals Republicans will be allowed to offer over the roughly 36 hours scheduled for debate.
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