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Bipartisan Group Of Senators Tries Again On Iraq Compromise

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he isn't interested in Iraq proposals that don't force the president's hand on troop withdrawal.

Nonetheless, a bipartisan group of eight senators has coalesced around a measure that would require regular reports from the White House regarding troop redeployment, but no timetable for withdrawal. The legislation, identical to one that passed the House earlier this week on a 377-46 vote, is unlikely to please the liberal base, which wants mandated timetables and an end to the war. But with the stalemate in the Senate on Iraq, it may be the only type of measure that could pass.

The sponsors of this legislation include an unsurprising list of Democratic and Republican moderates, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio). But these senators have also added a Democratic heavyweight to the mix, adding Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) as a cosponsor. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), an ardent war critic, has also signed on to the bill, which may add some credibility from the liberal side of the war debate.

The bill would require the Department of Defense to provide its report on redeployment within 60 days to congressional committees, with updated reports every 90 days after that.

"The vitriolic partisan debate in Washington has not been conducive to finding a solution that will change the course in Iraq,” Collins said. “I have long maintained that our country needs a new direction in Iraq that sets the stage for a significant but responsible drawdown of our combat troops."

The legislation merely asks the Pentagon "to specify the possible timetable for the redeployment of U.S. troops not needed for the new, more limited mission," according to a release put out by the eight Senate cosponsors.