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dnice35

They are finally coming around!

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WASHINGTON — Just moments before a Senate test vote, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle jumped on the bandwagon Thursday and threw his support behind the resolution allowing President Bush to use force against Iraq.

"I believe it is important for America to speak with one voice," Daschle declared.

Daschle was the last of the four congressional leaders to sign onto the resolution, which was expected to pass with wide margins in both chambers, and as early as Thursday in the House. The 75-25 vote in the Senate to end debate means that the Senate is choking off opposition and closing in on approval of the resolution.

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., joined House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Sen. Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., last week in agreeing to a resolution that calls for the president to seek support from the United Nations, but also does not tie his hands to take unilateral action to prevent Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from continuing building weapons of mass destruction.

Daschle said that he agreed to vote for the resolution because of changes in the president's approach to getting support from allies and the Congress.

He commended the president for "recognizing that under our Constitution, it is the Congress that authorizes the use of force, and for requesting a resolution providing such authority."

Daschle said that four elements of the resolution won him over: that the resolution forucses on a threat specifically posed by Iraq; that it seeks continued cooperation with the U.N. Security Council to secure Iraqi compliance; that the president must notify Congress that other means have failed within 48 hours of taking military action, and that it orders the president to report to Congress every 60 days on the progress of disarmament.

"For me the deciding factor is my belief that a united Congress will help the president unite the world. And by uniting the world, we can increase the world's chances of succeeding in this effort," he said.

Daschle is one of the few Democratic holdouts to sign off his support. Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate Majority Whip; Joe Biden of Delaware, the Foreign Relations Committee chairman; John Kerry of Massachusetts and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut all lately gave their stamp of approval.

Biden warned, however, that "If Saddam Hussein is around five years from now, we are in deep trouble as a country."

Some holdouts still remained, however. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was offering an alternative that would require the president to act in conjunction with the United Nations but to seek support for unilateral action. That substitute measure was headed for failure.

On Wednesday, an amendment by Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., to expand Bush's authority for pre-emptive military action to include five terror organizations, went down, 88-10.

Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., also failed in a 66-31 vote to get an amendment passed authorizing the president to come back in two years for any further authority. However, the president pro-tempore of the Senate continues to hold out against giving the president any authority.

On Thursday, the 84-year-old Byrd, said Congress is acting recklessly if it agrees to give the president a "blank check" to take action.

"I'm sorry to see this day," Byrd said. "This is my 50th year in Congress and I never thought that I'd find a Senate which would lack the back bone to stand up against this stampede, this rush to war."

On the House side, where debate in the House went deep into the night both Tuesday and Wednesday, nearly every member expressed his or her opinion about the gravity of their action.

"I know the heartache and pain of the families that are left behind," said a tearful Rep. Randy Cunningham, R-Calif., who was a pilot in the Vietnam War.

"It's time we go straight to the eye and dismantle the elements from which the storm of brutal, repressive tyranny and terrorism radiate," said Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. "I can attest to the evilness of Saddam Hussein."

About half the Democrats were ready to vote for an alternative proposal similar to Sen. Levin's, and sponsored by Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C. A similar measure offered by Rep. Barbara Lee, failed on a 355-72 vote on Thursday.

"It is not a victory to strike down one tyrant and breed 10,000 terrorists," Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., a supporter of the Spratt proposal, said, adding that the costs of lives and resources would create a backlash in the Muslim world.

On the diplomatic front, the president has still not convinced French President Jacques Chirac of the need for a U.N. Security Council resolution that allows for force if Saddam does not comply with disarmament and verification measures by U.N. weapons inspections.

Bush and Chirac spoke for 25 minutes by telephone Wednesday and White House spokesman Sean McCormack said that the administration is "continuing our consultations."

In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov relayed a similar stance as Chirac, even though Secretary of State Colin Powell, interviewed on television Wednesday night, said world leaders were coming together on Iraq.

Back in the Congress, with the resolutions expected to pass, Daschle and Democrats can now turn to issues that they want to discuss before the Nov. 5 mid-term election, something that the Iraq debate was holding up and was threatening Daschle's status as majority leader.

The House also can focus its attention on elections, as it planned to move after the resolution vote toward passing a continuing resolution to keep the government operating until Nov. 22, so lawmakers can campaign and then return to finish up the 2003 fiscal year budget.

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Originally posted by sassa

daschle....has gone way down in my eyes.

i can't believe he's supporting this bullshit, i thought he was more intelligent.

You act surprised..... Dont you know polititians will go along with anything as long as they stay in "power". Thank God he came to his senses though.

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please don't say he came to his senses, that is implying this is a RIGHT thing, which it is not.

maybe if your family was over there and you had a personal loss you might feel differently.

but you are right....politicians will say or do anything to keep themselves (and their party) in power.

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Originally posted by sassa

please don't say he came to his senses, that is implying this is a RIGHT thing, which it is not.

maybe if your family was over there and you had a personal loss you might feel differently.

but you are right....politicians will say or do anything to keep themselves (and their party) in power.

May I ask where are you from?

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