Republicans Filibuster Return of Equal Time Requirements for Troops

By a vote of 56-41, Republican Senators blocked an up-or-down vote on a bill sponsored by Jim Webb and Chuck Hagel, both combat veterans, that would have required troops be given the same amount of time at home following any deployment overseas. This would have reversed the disastorous policy recently created whereby troops are kept in a combat zone for 15 months and then redeployed after only 12 months at home. The previous policy and what the bill sought was the long-standing standard of equal time – e.g. 12 months at home for 12 months in combat or 15 and 15. The Army Times wrote in article in support of the legislation and, at least, 56 Senators support the proposal to remove the undue burden being placed on our troops.

Nonetheless, the 41 votes ruled the day as the Republicans once again filibustered legislation despite their calls in recent years that morally bills deserve up-or-down votes except in the most extraordinary circumstances. The need to screw the troops must be something Republicans believe requires extraordinary effort these days.

Josh takes the New York Times to task for falling to call the Republican ploy by its name – a filibuster and its misleading report. On the rare occasion the Democrats used the filibuster, they were called obstructionists. Now that Republicans use it as standard operating procedure, the ploy is ignored for goofy headlines like “Senate Narrowly Backs Bush in Rejecting Debate on Increasing Time Between Deployments.” The headline is almost painful to read given how far the headline writer had to bend over backward to come up with something Bush friendly.

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