Senate Democrats, in an effort to expose the Republican filibuster on the Iraq war, held an all-night session and rally last night. Despite many Republican senators verbally breaking with the White House, only four Republicans — Senators Olympia Snowe (ME), Susan Collins (ME), Chuck Hagel (NE), and Gordon Smith (OR) — voted to end the filibuster in a vote this morning. Both Senators Smith and Collins are up for re-election in 2008.
Leading Democrats from both the House and Senate gathered last night in the Senate Park to call for an up or down vote on beginning to bring troops home from Iraq. Over a hundred anti-war protesters, including activists from the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women and Code Pink, cheered while Iraq war veterans and military family members addressed the crowd. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), surrounded by 50 legislators including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), rallied the crowd demanding that Senate Republicans support the Democrats’ troop withdrawal plan. “I want everyone here tonight, every American coast to coast to know that we won’t stop the fighting until we end this war,” he said.
As the rally continued outside, Senators kept at their night-long debate over the amendment on the Senate floor. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) called out Republican obstructionists, stating, “We want to end the war. They want to hide behind parliamentary procedure.”