February 17, 2007
Senate is next stop for Iraq resolution
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
WASHINGTON Sen. George Voinovich opposes President Bush’s surge of
troops into Iraq, but, strange as it may sound, that doesn’t mean
he will support an anti-surge resolution that is set to come
before the Senate today.
Voinovich, one of a handful of Republicans in the Senate who
object to sending more troops to Iraq, called the one-sentence
resolution too simplistic.
Unlike Voinovich, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, plans to support the
“It is clear that more of the same is not working in Iraq,” Brown
said in a statement Friday. “President Bush is not listening to
millions of Americans opposed to escalation. He may not listen to
Congress, either, but we have a duty to speak. That’s what we will
HOUSE PASSES RESOLUTION
Identical in language to a nonbinding measure approved by the
House on Friday, the Senate resolution expresses support for U.S.
troops in general but disapproves of Bush’s deployment of more
than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq.
The House vote on the nonbinding measure was 246-182, and within
minutes Democrats said their next move would be to challenge
Bush’s request for $93 billion in new funds for the Pentagon.
Supporters of the nonbinding resolution included 229 Democrats and
17 Republicans — fewer GOP defections than Democrats had hoped to
get and the White House and its allies had feared. Two Democrats
joined 180 Republicans in opposition.
Area lawmakers broke along party lines in the vote.
Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, who supports sending more
troops to Iraq, voted against the resolution.
Democratic Reps. Zack Space of Dover, Tim Ryan of Niles, Betty
Sutton of Copley and Charlie Wilson of St. Clairsville voted for
Bush announced his plan to send the additional troops to Iraq last
month. He said the troops are needed to help Iraqi forces
establish order in the most violent parts of the country and to
lay the groundwork for a stable society.
Since then, Voinovich’s position on the surge has evolved from
skepticism to opposition.
His basic gripe is that Bush has failed to lay out enough detail
on what the additional troops are supposed to accomplish,
including specific benchmarks that the Iraqi government must meet
in order to continue receiving U.S. aid.
Brown supports a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.
Earlier this month, Voinovich signed on to another anti-surge
resolution introduced by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman
Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Sen. John Warner, R-Va. Their bill, which
runs several pages, opposes sending additional troops while
supporting continued funding for troops currently in Iraq.
While opposing the surge, the Levin-Warner resolution specifies
that it is not calling for an immediate troop withdrawal or
reduction. It rejects “elimination or reduction of funds for
troops in the field.”
The resolution offers various advice to the president, including
letting the Iraqi military deal with sectarian violence and
engaging Iraq’s neighbors in diplomacy.
Voinovich, a Cleveland resident, opposes the anti-surge measure
passed by the House because it fails to grasp the complexity of
“You can’t even begin to address a real solution to a complex
situation in 10 lines,” he said of the resolution, which takes up
that amount of space on a formal congressional document.
He said another reason he is opposing it is to protest Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid’s refusal to allow a vote on other
anti-surge resolutions or allow Republican amendments to the
Associated Press writer David Espo contributed to this story.