Some liberals and conservatives dismissed the House resolution as merely a symbolic gesture and said that Democratic leaders should have resorted to binding legislation if they were serious about stopping the troop buildup. But House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said that Bush would have vetoed such a bill, with no possibility of an override. The nonbinding resolution is not dependent on the president's signature.
"What the president cannot veto is the opinion of the Congress of the United States, the judgment of the Congress of the United States, the counsel of the Congress of the United States," Hoyer added, pounding on a lectern after the vote. "Let us hope that the commander in chief hears this counsel."
For those of you wondering whether you took the same eighth-grade social studies class as Representative Hoyer, binding legislation that the President vetoes is a much more substantive event than a nonbinding resolution that doesn't make it to his desk.
A close runner-up in this weekend's contest is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is quoted as follows:
Democrats in the Senate face a similar political dynamic. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said yesterday that most Republicans will block a debate on the House-passed resolution until they are guaranteed a vote on a resolution opposing any effort to cut off funding for the war. He predicted that Democrats will muster nowhere near the 60 votes they would need today to move to a debate on the resolution opposing additional troop deployments.
Many Republicans will not bother to show up in the rare Saturday session. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) will be campaigning for president in Iowa. A Democratic counterpart, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), will be campaigning in South Carolina.
Democratic aides said that will only mean another round of newspaper headlines proclaiming that Republicans are blocking a debate on the war.
"Let us be clear," Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said, "anyone voting 'no' tomorrow is voting to give the president a green light to escalate the war.
So voting "no" on a nonbinding resolution (or the decision to have a vote on a nonbinding resolution) gives the President a green light? For those of you trying to figure out the rules of the road, voting "yes" on a binding resolution to authorize the funding for the additional troops is the green light. What has been happening on Capitol Hill this week is analogous to the yellow "Slow Children" sign that you sometimes see on the side of the road.