The Senate just finished tallying the count, and an overwhelming majority--89-9--voted for the cloture motion, removing the final obstacle for the Iraq debate to proceed.
They will now take up debate on S. J. Res. 9, or US Policy in Iraq Resolution 2007, Speaker Harry Reid's latest iteration of legislation aimed at blocking a US-led escalation of the war.
The proposed legislation would require the president to begin a phased redeployment within 120 days, to be completed by March 31, 2008. The measure would require withdrawal of all US forces except "a limited number that are essential" for three articulated purposes--protecting US and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training and equipping Iraqi troops, and conducting targeted counterterrorism operations.
The Act says those measures "would implemented as part of a comprehensive diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community," but goes no further to define what that would entail. It also would require the President report on the progress of transitioning the mission every 90 days.
Prior to the cloture vote, Reid explained why he was pressing the cause of this resolution:
"Five years into the war in Iraq, the mission has changed – but the Bush policy has not changed. Saddam is gone. There are no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq is in chaos. There is no stability in Iraq. U.S. troops are policing a civil war, not hunting and killing the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. The original mission no longer exists. Yet President Bush wants to stay the same failed course, to surge toward more of the same, to sustain failure. Today, the Senate must finally send a clear message to the Commander-in-Chief: President Bush, it is time for a new way forward – to change course. The way to succeed in Iraq is not to do more of the same. It is to change the mission and change the course. Our country must have a surge, America must have an escalation, but the surge must not be a military escalation, but a surge in diplomacy. This is the message the American people delivered to Congress on November 7, 2006, and this is the message we must send President Bush today."