The Senate gridlocked on the Iraq war in a sharply worded showdown on Saturday as Republicans foiled a Democratic attempt to rebuke President Bush over his deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops.
The vote was 56-34. That was six short of the 60 needed to advance the measure, which is identical to a nonbinding resolution that Democrats pushed through the House on Friday.
"The Senate, on behalf of the American people, must make it clear to the commander in chief that he no longer has a rubber stamp in Iraq," said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the final moments before the vote.
Republicans blasted him and the Democratic leadership for refusing to allow a vote on an alternative that ruled out any reduction in money for troops in the field.
"A vote in support of the troops that is silent on the question of funds is an attempt to have it both ways," said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP leader. "So we are asking for an honest and open debate."
The vote marked the second time this winter that Senate Republicans have blocked action on nonbinding measures critical of the president's war policies. This time, however, there were signs of restlessness within the GOP.
Seven Republicans broke with their leadership, compared with only two on the previous test vote.
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