Playing D for McCain on Torture

Feb 13, 2008 3:24pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf Reports: If there were any doubt that Republican lawmakers are coalescing around Sen. John McCain as the presumptive next leader of the Republican party, here is a good reason to dispense with it:

At 4:30 p.m. today, Senate Republicans will apparently NOT insist on a 60 vote threshold for passage of the annual Intelligence Authorization bill even though the bill includes a measure that would require US intelligence entities to abide by the anti-torture policies in the Army Field manual.

Republicans would seem to have the votes to block the bill – which has already passed the House – on a point of order that Democrats would need 60 votes to overcome.

Dems don’t have the nine Republicans they would need. But it would force McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee and Vietnam-era torture victim, to do some serious thinking.

The senator from Arizona would either have to cast a Republican-friendly vote essentially to allow the CIA to interrogate outside the Army Field Manual or side with Democrats as he seeks the Republican nomination.

We will know more as this plays out, but it appears that Senate Republicans will allow the bill to go to the President, who has promised a veto.

It bears mentioning than since Democrats took over in Congress, Republicans in the Senate have not been shy about blocking legislation they did not agree with.

I can only recall a single bill – the war spending bill with a timeline – they chose not to block. That bill was also vetoed.

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