Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bolton Vote Postponed 

Dept. of Small Triumphs: A dramatic reversal by Republican Senator George Voinovich of Ohio scuttled a day's worth of GOP parliamentary maneuvers aimed at quelling debate on John Bolton, and moving his nomination as U.N. ambassador out of committee and onto the floor of the Senate:
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed a scheduled vote Tuesday on President Bush's pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and could call nominee John Bolton back for more testimony.

Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, had pushed for a vote Tuesday afternoon. But that plan was derailed after member of the panel's Republican majority joined Democrats in seeking a delay.

"I've heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr. Bolton," Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said.

Republicans call Bolton, the undersecretary of state for arms control, a foreign policy realist who will help push U.S. calls for "reform" at the United Nations.

But during confirmation hearings last week, senators heard allegations that Bolton tried to intimidate or have fired intelligence analysts who disagreed with him.

Democrats sought an extension to investigate what they called new complaints about Bolton, and objected strenuously to a push by Lugar to cut off debate and force a vote on the nomination.
Laura Rozen live-blogged the proceedings at War and Piece:
Lugar's calling for a vote. It's 4:35pm....Sarbannes is asking why they have to vote now if they have 'til 5pm....We could use the time for debate. The Chairman has moved to short circuit this entire process.

Lugar: The Chair gave a lot. The give is over.

Boxer: I pushed for the delay this morning. It seemed extraordinary you wouldn't give us another week... We're trying to do our job because we feel so strongly about this . . . .

Update !!!: Surprise Republican voice against voting today. God bless Sen. Voinovich, (R-Oh) (4:35pm):

Voinovich: I heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable today voting for Mr. Bolton. ...I don't feel comfortable voting today on Mr. John Bolton. Maybe it would be in the best interest of this committee to take a little time. I can feel the passion (from the other side of the aisle).

(Wow, has it been delayed? Lugar sounds surprised.)

Biden: Let's just take the time to check out these accusations (of intimidation)...

Chafee: Mr. Chair, in view of Mr. Voinovich's comments, do you have any hesitation about going forward? . . . .

Biden: [Biden is bringing up the NSA intercepts (!!) Bolton requested.] On ten occasions Bolton sought the names of the American in NSA intercepts. Can anyone testify if that is an unusual practice? To seek the name of an American who is in on the intercept. Why? The detractors to try to identify American personnel who disagreed with his analysis. Supporters say, it's a standard practice. Does anyone here know if that's a standard practice. I tried to find out. I was on the phone last night til 1030pm . . . .

Allen: What happens if we get a tie vote? In the event of a tie vote would sink this nomination, strategically thinking, we need to plan....

Biden: Mr. Chair, can you ask State Department to be cooperative? It wasn't until your letter on Thursday that even got the State Department to even respond to requests we had in for two weeks.
Crooks and Liars has posted a large chunk of video, with more promised for later this evening.

There is, of course, no telling what portions of which animals' anatomies Sen. Voinovich will be finding under his bedsheets in the next three weeks. Steve Clemons of the Washington Note reports that the Senator is already the target of a telephone campaign organized by an anti-UN outfit called "Move America Forward":
Reports have just come in that Senator Voinovich is receiving lots of calls from "out-of-staters" protesting his comments during today's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings . . . .

I think Senator Voinovich deserves supportive calls and emails for his principled commentary and stand today. Whether you are from Ohio or from out-of-state, TWN hopes you will call him.
We heartily concur. Here's how:

Honorable George V. Voinovich
524 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3353 Fax: (202) 228-1382
TDD: (202) 224-6997

Or just click here.

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