Senate Republicans on Wednesday scuttled a Democratic proposal ordering US troop withdrawals from Iraq in a showdown that capped an all-night debate on the war.
The 52-47 vote fell short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate under Senate rules. It was a sound defeat for Democrats who say the US military campaign, in its fifth year and requiring 158,000 troops, cannot tame the sectarian violence in Iraq.
"We have to get us out of a middle of a civil war" said Sen. Joseph Biden, a Democrat, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee. A political solution must be found "so when we leave Iraq, we don't just send our children home, we don't have to send our grandchildren back."
As members cast their votes, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hurried between private meetings with lawmakers in their offices to make the administration's case for the war.