Monday, June 20, 2005

Bolton Cloture Vote: Take Two

Note: This post's updates end at 7:15 p.m. Monday. For more recent Bolton updates, move up to the main page.

[Update: Moving the party up to a new thread, here. -- 7:14 p.m.]

New format for this post; newest updates will be at the top, rather than the bottom.

[Update: Bottom line: cloture fails again. White House continues holding up the confirmation of its own nominee by refusing to handover relevant documents. It's time to withdraw Bolton's name and put forth a real reformer who can accomplish something at the United Nations. -- 6:49 p.m.]

[Update: Eight non-voting senators on cloture - wow. Clearly this was not a required attendance day (the White House and Frist knew this was bound to fail). And unless Voinovich voted no simply in order to be able to reconsider the motion, I don't think any other senator did. I have to check into what that means, will update shortly. -- 6:42 p.m.]

[Update: 54-38 vote. Motion not agreed to. -- 6:38 p.m.]

[Update: Still waiting ... - 6:36 p.m.]

[Update: Specter votes yes, hadn't voted last time. I think Inouye, the other non-voter from round one, voted no earlier in the count. -- 6:25 p.m.]

[Update: Still no other changes, Voinovich the only one thus far. Clemons' comments. -- 6:22 p.m.]

[Update: Voinovich seems to be staying as a no vote for the moment, a significant move. No other changes so far: Lieberman and Salazar sticking with no as well. -- 6:16 p.m.]

[Update: VOINOVICH has been announced as voting no (change, but I'm not sure the clerk announced it right). Pryor votes aye (no change, but he had previously said he might switch). -- 6:12 p.m.]

[Update: Frist: "Plain and simple truth is that some on the other side of the aisle are obstructing a highly qualified nominee, and I believe that by doing that ... they are doing harm to this country." Notes number of interviews, meetings, hearings, pages of testimony, etc. "John Bolton is the right man to represent us in the United Nations ... is exactly what the United Nations needs from us. A vote for John Bolton is a change there, is a vote for reform there ... John Bolton deserves a vote, and the American people deserve a strong, principled voice at the United Nations." Urges colleagues to vote for cloture. Roll call begins. I'll note any changes from last time as they come in, and then give the count at the end. -- 6:03 p.m.]

[Update: Okay, quorum call, deep breath. Strong statements from Biden, Dodd, Lugar's was decent. All predictable. George Allen makes me crazy, but he's just repeating the standard administration lines. Domenici now making some motions on the energy bill before going back to quorum call. -- 5:55 p.m.]

[Update: Dodd, continued: "Mr. Bolton needed 'adult supervision' ... to ensure that he stayed on the reservation. Is this really the kind of performance we want to reward? ... Is this the kind of person we want to have represent us at the United Nations? ... I think not." "It will take real leadership at the UN to build a case for cooperation ... Based on what I know today about Mr. Bolton I believe he is incapable of exhibiting that kind of leadership ... I do not believe he is the man to be our face at the United Nations." Notes this vote isn't just about Bolton: "Will the executive branch tell this body ... what is relevant or not relevant when it comes to nominations?" "send the right signal to the administration by voting no on the cloture motion." Now quorum call. -- 5:52 p.m.]

[Update: Dodd: Repeats the point that this vote pertains to the question of whether the Senate has the right to the information requested, says the Administration has stonewalled the requests since the May 26 cloture attempt, that he and Biden have continually narrowed their requests relating to NSA intercepts and Syria intelligence. "Mr. Bolton's conduct, while at the State Department, was anything but ordinary" ... notes Bolton's treatment of analysts, cites today's Post article and calls Bolton "Mr. No" at the State Department, "imposing his judgments on the intelligence community ... he breached what I think must be a very strong firewall between intelligence and policy ... Mr. Bolton went too far, and does not deserve to be the confirmed nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations." -- 5:48 p.m.]

[Update: Boxer, continued: Says Frist filibustered Judge Paez under Clinton, saying "cloture, to get more information, is legitimate." Notes her agreement with Frist on that point, yields floor to Chris Dodd for nine minutes remaining on the Dem side. -- 5:43 p.m.]

[Update: Boxer, continued: Notes opposition of current and former diplomats, and Senator Voinovich, to Bolton; repeats some of Bolton's anti-UN comments, says "today's vote is not about John Bolton," but about "whether the United States Senate should get the information requested. "We need to know what this information will show ... what if the information shows that in fact John Bolton was trying to spy on other Americans he had an axe to grind with? what if the information shows Bolton did lie to the committee," that he was involved with the writing of the Syria speech ... also brings up Bolton assistant Matthew Freedman and asks about Freedman's private clients (a topic I haven't covered much here). -- 5:41 p.m.]

[Update: Barbara Boxer: "I think we need to take a deep breath and a reality check here. ... This is a very divisive and controversial nomination," says never before has there been such a controversial UN ambassador nomination. "This is a president who said he wanted to be a uniter, not a divider, and yet in light of all this controversy, he sticks with this nominee." -- 5:38 p.m.]

[Update: Allen, continued: "Senators ought to have the guts to get out of these cushy chairs and vote yes or no." Those voting to continue debate are "obstructionists" and "against the will of the American people." Yields the floor. -- 5:36 p.m.]

[Update: Allen is hard to stomach, trying to keep my lunch down. He is doing a fairly good job listing off all the problems with Bolton though. Contrary to fact, he's trying to portray the requests for documents as something new, when they've been around since early April. Now listing accomplishments of Bolton, clearly not having read the Post this morning. "John Bolton has proven he can work well within the United Nations itself." "John Bolton has the knowledge, he has the skills, he has the principles" etc. "to lead the United Nations." "I believe that the people of America ... don't want a lapdog, they want a watchdog." "We've heard many absurd arguments ... what you see as you look at each and every one of these charges ... is that they're either wild or unsubstaniated ... false or irrelevant. This is the definition of a fishing expedition ... Says those opposed to Bolton have always been opposed. "I would hope that senators on the other side of the aisle who are refusing to bring this nomination to a close ... who are seeking to delay this nomination as an embarrassment to our president ..." that the president has the right to bring in "people loyal to him who share his goals." Other side "keeps moving the goalposts ... there's always a new allegation ... Colleagues, obstruction ... has gone on for too long. This nomination has received inordinate scrutiny and review ... We need to have a conclusion. -- 5:35 p.m.]

[Update: Allen: "The Senate has had this nomination for five months." Notes this is "an important position" as "freedom is on the march." "It is vitally important that the taxpayers of this nation ... ought to have a man such as John Bolton leading our efforts. John Bolton is a reformer and that's why the president nominated him ... a president needs to have the men and women he desires to represent him ..." "I'm hoping my colleagues will actually take off their political blinders ... and look at the facts regarding Mr. Bolton. I think it is highly irresponsible of the United States Senate to keep obstructing reform at the United Nations." "We have gone through every germane or stretch allegation against John Bolton ... we've been on a fishing expedition ..." providing litany of the issues people have with the nomination. -- 5:27 p.m.]

[Update: More Biden: Notes the narrowing of the requests, "the bottom line is it's very easy for this to be resolved ..." said Andy Card told him today they could resolve Syria and Biden said "don't resolve that unless you're willing to resolve the issue of Mr. Bolton and the intercepts." Urges colleagues to reject cloture until the White House releases the information requested. Yields to George Allen. -- 5:23 p.m.]

[Update: Biden, continued: On to NSA intercepts. "It is notewothy that he sought the identities of Americans listed in the ten intercepts." Biden says Bolton told him he asked for the names to satisfy his "intellectual curiosity," Biden says some have reported he sought the names as part of his "intramural fights within the administration." "Mr. Bolton has seen this intercepts, Mr. Bolton's staff may have seen some of these intercepts, but not a single U.S. Senator has seen these intercepts." Notes that he asked Frist to request the names, that Frist did ask and that the Administration wouldn't give them to him either. "We have a duty to be sure that he did not misuse this data." "The Administration may not decide what the Senate needs in evaluating a nomination." -- 5:22 p.m.]

[Update: Biden, continued: Last month after the Senate voted not to invoke cloture, both he and Reid said publicly they will agree to vote up and down on the Bolton nomination "as soon as the administration provides the information requested by the Committee, which, I emphasize again, we have the right to obtain." Notes these are not new requests, that they've been made since April, that goalposts are "only moving closer" to the middle by narrowing the requests. "We think the documents [on Syria] that we are seeking will bolster the case that he repeatedly sought to doctor intelligence data." Speaks to why he thinks Syria documents are important, "may also raise questions" about whether Bolton lied under oath to the Foreign Relations Committee when he said he wasn't involved in the drawing up of the Syria speech. -- 5:18 p.m.

[Update: Biden: "The vote we're about to take is not about John Bolton." "It's totally unacceptable for a president of the United States ... to dictate to the United States Senate how we should proceed." That the president doesn't think the documents requested are relevant is "somewhat presumptuous, to say the least." "I do not hold John Bolton accountable for this administration's arrogance," notes that Bolton was gracious enough to meet with Biden last week (at the request of McCain) and talk with Biden and Dodd. "I believe John Bolton would be prepared to give us this information," says both he and Dodd told Bolton "this is not about him ... this is above his pay grade." -- 5:14 p.m.]

[Update: Lugar, continued: "The will of the Senate is expressed by the majority. A majority of senators have voted to end debate", "neither a filibuster nor a request from individual senators counts as the will of the Senate," arguing that the Biden/Dodd line that the Senate's requests are being frustrated is not fair since a majority of the Senate doesn't agree with the requests. "The cases for and against Mr. Bolton have been made effectively and skillfully," notes an 11-week investigation. "If we accept the standard that any senator should get any documents requested on any nominee ... the the nominations process has taken on nearly endless parameters." "Clearly we should thoroughly examine each nominee's record" ... "Secretary Bolton has affirmed his commitment to fostering a strong United Nations ..." "I believe that the president deserves to have his nominee to represent him at the United Nations and I urge my colleagues to vote for cloture at the end of debate today." Yields floor to Biden. -- 5:11 p.m.]

[Update: Lugar: "We urgently need an ambassador to the United Nations. A clear majority of senators are in favor of the Bolton nomination." Notes that Bush and Rice have made clear their desire to have John Bolton as the ambassador. "We should recall that United Nations reform is an imperative function of the next ambassador. ... in 2005 we may have a unique opportunity to reform the United Nations." ... "Few people in government have thought more about United Nations reform than John Bolton." ... -- 5:06 p.m.]

[Update: Looks like Dick Lugar as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee will be managing the debate for the Repulicans; he's taken the floor for an initial statement. One hour of debate, equally divided. Lugar's statement to follow. -- 5:03 p.m.]

[Update: Still waiting for anyone to arrive on the floor to get things started. -- 4:57 p.m.]

[Update: C-SPAN2 is still reporting that debate will begin at 5 p.m., a vote to follow at 6. -- 4:32 p.m.]

Steve Clemons reports this afternoon that the cloture vote will begin around 5:30 p.m. rather than 6 as previously stated. I'm trying to track down whether that means they'll start debate at 4:30 (so as to still have an hour of discussion before the vote), or not. Stay tuned. I'm going to keep this thread open through the debate and vote and will be updating regularly as things start moving.


At 5:16 PM, Blogger Senseless said...

So many opinions on this but isn't it good we have are own Media from the comfort of ours keyboards?

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Stygius said...

Look at Allen trying to keep his words straight. He can barely remember what he's been told to say.


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