Last night, a measure authored by Duncan Hunter which called for the immediate termination of U.S. forces in Iraq, was voted on twice by the House of Representatives and was soundly defeated on the second vote. Hunter was apparently inspired to author the bill after hearing of a speech given by Representative Murtha.
Congressman Murtha is a retired Marine Corps Reserve colonel with two Purple Hearts, and a Bronze Star to his credit: Murtha’s biography. Murtha’s speech called for an ‘over the horizon’ ‘redeployment’ in Iraq of a quick response Marine force, as soon as practicably possible, and for an emphasis on diplomacy to solve the Iraq crisis. Clearly, with Murtha’s combat and military experience, his is a voice to be respected and honored with at least an honest debate and vote.
The Republican response was Duncan Hunter’s resolution, H.RES.571, which called for the immediate termination and withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.
CSpan had reasonable coverage of the debate and two votes, separated by several hours. For a House debate it was quite a spectacle to watch: there was much rancor and dissent audible in the background, and many callings of “out of order” from the leadership with them occasionally sitting down to wait for order.
The first vote was to determine whether the House should vote on Hunter’s resolution, the second vote was on the resolution itself. With the first vote, a vast Republican majority voted “Yes” to consider the resolution, while the Democrats largely voted “No”. On the second, later vote on the resolution itself, the vast Republican majority reversed their votes and joined with Democrats in an overwhelming “No” vote.
Why would many of the same House Republicans vote “Yes” to consider a resolution that they hours later intended to vote “No” on? This defies common sense, and is part of the waste of taxpayer money citizens have continually complained about: why waste time voting on what they percieve as flawed legislation twice instead of just once? Are we to believe the same Republicans were convinced by Democrats’ debate and changed their minds to vote “No” in such a short period of time?
If Republicans intended to vote against Hunter’s resolution, then the straightforward, honest approach of simply saying “No” and remaining consistent in that view would be respectful. The Democrats were consistent in their opposition to Hunter’s resolution of an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, while the elaborate show of disrespect to combat veteran and Representative Murtha by flip-flop Republican votes played itself out as another waste of time.
Edit of 12/16/05: Congressman Murtha’s petition for a real debate in the House of Representatives.
Hunter’s resolution H.RES.571
Murtha’s Speech released on Nov. 17, 2005
House Republicans respond to Murtha
Murtha Calls for a ‘Change in Direction’