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LJWorld.com weblogs Congressional Briefing

The scene as the Senate voted on Iraq

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Here are today's headlines from the Kansas congressional delegation:Iraq[(Washington Post commentary) As Senate Avoids Debate, Only Statements Are Sartorial:][1] The rare Saturday session, in addition to making the Senate floor look like an Andover reunion, gave the lawmakers one more chance to talk about -- and then vote against -- having a full debate about the direction of the Iraq war. Both sides knew in advance that Republicans still had enough votes to block the debate again (Democrats came up four votes short), but Democrats were determined to cause the GOP maximum discomfort by forcing a vote on the weekend.... With a few exceptions (Barack Obama sauntered in 20 minutes after the vote began), the Democratic senators attempted a note of solemnity. They sat quietly at their desks for the vote, standing to call out "aye." But Republicans, nine of whom skipped the vote entirely, declined to play. McConnell, the minority leader, ignored the clerk when his name was called. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) made a show of breezing through -- he put on his overcoat immediately after voting and left with his briefcase -- and fellow Kansan Pat Roberts (R-Blue Blazer-Chinos) wore a blue scarf and playfully swatted colleagues with his driving cap. (Roberts and Brownbackvoted against cloture on the matter.)Etc.[(ProLifeBlogs.com) Brownback and 35 Other Senators Urge President to Champion Life Issues:][2] U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today joined 34 senators in urging President Bush to uphold and champion pro-life policy. "President Bush has shown that he is committed to protecting the dignity of every life, from the unborn to the elderly," said Brownback. "Now that we have a Democrat-controlled Congress, I respectfully urge President Bush to remind my colleagues of his commitment to pro-life policies." Brownback today sent a letter to the White House asking President Bush to issue a letter to the Congress reaffirming the White House's pro-life stance. The letter was signed by 35 senators, including Brownback. Brownback continued, "A letter sent to Congress from President Bush would be a powerful reminder that the United States is a country that is committed to protecting the dignity of human life. I look forward to working with my colleagues on important life-related legislation." (Sen. Pat Roberts also signed the letter.)[(Topeka Capital-Journal) Military money hangs in balance:][3] What started last year as a barely noticed tussle on Capitol Hill now has nearly $400 million for construction projects at Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth hanging in the balance. The situation has led to high anxiety on the Kansas bases and finger pointing in Washington as Congress moves to debate an emergency supplemental spending bill. Much of the heat is directed at freshman U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan. "I have been personally attacked for this," she said. "Because they failed to pass a budget last year, they've brought our military bases and generals into a political squabble when they have a war to be fighting," she said. The idea that Congress failed by not approving appropriate spending bills before leaving Washington last year is buttressed by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. Roberts said last year's maneuvering in Congress exemplified a "breakdown in the appropriations process." "It's a first-class mess and is not an example of how Congress should handle the process," he said. "There's plenty of blame to go around."Rep. Jerry Moran (R) ![][4][(Truth About Trade and Technology) Moran introduces legislation on Cuba trade:][5] Congressman Jerry Moran this week introduced legislation to increase the ability of U.S. agriculture producers to market their products to Cuba. H.R. 1026, the Agricultural Export Facilitation Act of 2007, removes barriers to present and future sales of U.S. agricultural products to Cuba under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. The introduction of this legislation comes after a Congressional delegation's visit to Cuba in December to meet with Cuban government, trade and religious leaders. "With the stepping aside of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, this is an opportune time to encourage the United States to change its trade policies toward Cuba," Moran said. "Cuba is an important market for U.S. agriculture, as well as for manufacturers and distributors of food products. But the actions of our own government have created a climate of uncertainty and have inhibited the sale of agricultural goods. Our unreliable and uncertain trade policies are sending the signal to Cuba that it is easier to purchase its products elsewhere. We are only hurting ourselves." [1]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/17/AR2007021701343.html [2]: http://www.prolifeblogs.com/articles/archives/2007/02/us_senator_sam.php [3]: http://www.cjonline.com/stories/021707/sta_148883306.shtml [4]: http://ljworld.com/specials/kudole/bios/art/moran.jpg [5]: http://www.truthabouttrade.org/article.asp?id=7069