Two senior members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have produced a resolution opposing President Bush's plan in Iraq, a resolution that might get enough bipartisan support to overcome a filibuster.
In a deal struck last night, there will be only one resolution on the Senate floor, rather than two competing ones. It's basically the resolution Virginia Republican John Warner crafted, with some language that sets benchmarks for progress in Iraq and vows that funds won't be cut off for troops in the field.
The Senate's No. 2 Republican, Trent Lott, opposes that resolution, and he admitted that the compromise has complicated his job:
"Look, the chessboard changed last night," Lott said. "Everybody had to go back and you know look at, I think we had them checkmated, now everybody's going back and looking at the position of their pawns."
Despite efforts to make the resolution more attractive to President Bush's allies, Lott says the resolution is still unacceptable.
And Arizona's Jon Kyl, another member of the Republican leadership, warned colleagues today that backing such a resolution sends a dangerous message.
"We cannot send that message to our troops and to their families," Kyl said, "that we disagree with the mission that we're putting them in harm's way to try to achieve."
Further complicating things is push-back by some Democrats who say the resolution has been too watered down. They say it puts senators on record as opposing using their power of the purse to withdraw troops from Iraq. Connecticut's Chris Dodd, who's running for president, said that unless the resolution is changed, he won't vote for it.
Debate on the issue is expected to begin early next week.