Senate Republicans have change of heart, welcome Iraq debate

In an turnabout, Senate Republicans are agreeing with Democrats to advance an anti-war bill because they said the debate would give them an opportunity to praise the US military's progress in Iraq. The change of heart came after months of blocking similar measures. Unlike most of last year, however, security conditions in Iraq have improved, and Republicans say they now feel they have the upper hand in the debate. "We welcome a discussion about Iraq," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell declared. The measure, by Democratic Sens. Russ Feingold and Majority Leader Harry Reid, would cut off money for combat after 120 days. It had been expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle and move ahead.