The US Senate gridlocked on the Iraq war in a sharply worded showdown Saturday as Republicans foiled a Democratic bid to repudiate President George W. Bush's deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops.
The 56-34 vote fell four short of the 60 needed to advance a nonbinding measure identical to one the House passed Friday.
Democrats swiftly claimed victory anyway. "A majority of the United States Senate is against the escalation in Iraq," said Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. "As for the Republicans who chose once again to block further debate and protect President Bush, the American people now know they support the escalation" in troops.
Republicans blasted the Democratic leadership for refusing to allow a vote on an alternative that ruled out any reduction in money for troops in the field.
"There is no place for chicanery at a time of war," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "Even some of the president's most strident opponents know that. They know that the only vote that truly matters in a vote on whether to fund the troops."