POLITICS

Senate Dems Say They'll Drop Iraq Withdrawal Deadline To Pick Up GOP Votes

03/28/2008 02:44 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Senate Democrats are revising their major war legislation to attract votes to pass and potentially launch a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by year's end.

First, the author of the main Senate Democratic measure that would withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq is considering removing from the proposal a deadline for completing the redeployment, in an effort to attract enough Republican votes to pass the measure.

Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview the Senate could vote this month on a measure he wrote with Jack Reed, D-R.I., that would begin in 120 days the withdrawal of all but a limited set of forces. He said he may remove the deadline of April 30, 2008, for completing the process, if it can net additional GOP votes. In July, Democrats fell eight votes short of overcoming a filibuster of the measure.

"If we can pick up some more Republican support, it's certainly worthy of consideration," Levin said of turning the spring deadline into a goal, not a firm requirement. "We would keep the principle, which is that we would mandate the beginning of a reduction of American forces. That is the heart of the matter."

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