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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Republicans Block Debate

WASHINGTON -- A long-awaited showdown in the U.S. Senate on the war in Iraq was shut down before it even started Monday, when nearly all Republicans voted to stop the Senate from considering a resolution opposing President George W. Bush's plan to send 21,500 additional combat troops into battle.

A day of posturing, finger-pointing and backroom wrangling came to nothing when Democratic and Republican leaders could not reach agreement on which nonbinding resolutions would be debated and allowed to come to a vote. The Senate's 49-47 vote last night to proceed to debate on Bush's new war policy fell 11 votes short of the 60 needed to break the logjam. Just two Republicans voted with the Democrats to proceed with the debate.

Republicans insisted that the impasse would soon be broken. But the leaders of the two parties appeared to be far from a compromise Monday night, and the White House has worked to block action on a resolution opposing of the president's decision to boost troop levels.

"What you just saw was Republicans giving the president the green light to escalate in Iraq," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said after the vote. Reid contended that Republicans were "trying to avoid a debate on this matter."

Republicans denied this, asserting that they simply wanted a fair hearing on their proposals.