|The vote on whether to end debate on the Bolton nomination is on and popping. Republicans are sans Voinovich, and so need six Democrats to make 60 votes. Apparently they lost Feinstein and Lieberman, who were both expected to vote with the GOP... Sounds to me like Harry Reid is ruling his caucus much more effectively than Frist is handling his.
Rolling Update (swing votes only):
- Ben Nelson (Neb.) has voted yes (end debate)
- Chafee and Hagel: yes
- Nelson of Florida: no
- Thune (SD): yes (contrary to what Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell just said)
- Olympia Snowe (ME): yes
- Blanche Lincoln(AR): no
- Salazar (CO): no
- Pryor (gang of 14 member): yes
I'm no professional vote counter, but so far it looks to me like the Republicans have picked up only one out of the six Dems they need to end debate on Bolton. And that includes the most reliable ticket splitter, Joe Lieberman, who stayed with the party... Still developing...
Should I be surprised that Voinovich voted "aye"...?
Final vote: Reid loses only Pryor, Landrieu and Ben Nelson, and cloture vote goes down 56 to 42. (Harry Reid, I think, has proven himself to be one hell of a minority leader, and Mitch McConnell has proved to be a pretty flimsy majority whip...)
Meanwhile, Frist moves for cloture votes on Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor. And Reid regrets that no vote on Bolton was possible, but it's about the information, and that's not the fault of the minority, it's the fault of the administration. And while Frist tried to characterize this as "another filibuster," the bottom line is that, as I argued in an earlier post, this fight is about the separation of powers. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee believes it has a right to the information on Bolton that it has requested from the administration, and they're going to hold up this nomination until they get it (surprisingly, with Frist's help).
What's less clear is Frist's game. Clearly, he is trying to benefit from the characterization of this vote as another example of obstructionism by the Democrats, which could explain why he called for a vote when he didn't have the numbers. But why is he helping Joe Biden push the administration for the documents? Payback for a lack of WH action to get him his nuclear option? Who knows...