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Senate Passes Supplemental Bill, Iraq Withdrawal

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Just moments ago, the Senate followed the lead of the House of Representatives by passing the $124 billion supplemental spending bill containing a provision that mandates a withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq by this time next year.

The vote was 51-46, with Republicans Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon crossing the aisle to vote with the Democratic majority.

The House voted 218-208 last night to pass the legislation, which was a compromise between the bills that had previously been approved by each chamber.

"No one wants this nation to succeed in Iraq and the Middle East more than I do. But I know that after more than four years of mismanagement and incompetence by this Administration, there is no magic formula or silver bullet that will lead to the victory we all desire," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in a speech before the vote. "Yet I also believe there is a way forward that gives us our best chance to end the war responsibly while protecting our strategic interests, strengthening our security, and better positioning us to provide the long-term assistance Iraq will need for years to come."

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Wednesday night that listening to the will of the American people and removing our troops from Iraq is also a responsibility to military families at home and abroad.

"The sacrifices borne by our troops and their families demand more than the blank checks the president is asking for, for a war without end," said Pelosi.

Unless he is struck by lightning or gets a conscience transplant, George W. Bush is expected to veto the bill -- which is the first binding action Democrats have passed to end the war since taking control of Congress in January -- by early next week.

As Reid said today, the ball is in Bush's court.

"If the President refuses to change direction, America risks being bogged down in Iraq for years, not months," said the Majority Leader. "For a President that took the country to war under false pretenses, he now needs the courage to admit his policies have failed and work with us to bring the war to a responsible end."

Vote Update: As expected, the vote was almost straight down party lines... Hagel and Smith did the right thing and voted with 48 Democrats and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont to bring the troops home. No Democrats voted with the Republicans who, of course, had Joe Lieberman (WHOCARES-CT) on their side, with Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) missing the vote.

Gee, it's almost as if the gutless McCain doesn't want to be on the record about this or something -- go figure!

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.