David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

Senate Republicans killed three major measures via filibuster threats today: habeas corpus for enemy combatants, a House member for DC, and the Webb Amendment on troop rotations. It is part of an unprecedented use of the filibuster by Senate Republicans in the 110th Congress. I don't use "unprecedented" lightly. McClatchy ran the numbers, as we noted back in July (thanks to Kevin Drum for the reminder). At that time, Republicans were on pace this term to nearly triple the previous record high for the use the filibuster in the modern era. It's worth taking a look.

Following the vote on the Webb Amendment, Sen. John McCain took to the floor and praised the high level of debate in the Senate over the measure. Perhaps he missed the speech by RNC Chairman and Florida Sen. Mel Martinez: "I think we would demean their service if we were to say to them that there had to be a parity between the time in service out of the country and the time at home."

The Senate could only muster 56 votes to cut off debate on the Webb Amendment, the second time Senate Republicans have successfully filibustered the amendment to ease troop rotation schedules.

Late Update: GOP alternative also fails to muster enough votes to overcome filibuster threat.

We have a copy posted of the GOP alternative to Sen. Jim Webb's troop readiness amendment. It is being billed as the "McCain-Graham" amendment. This comes after Sen. McCain announced on the Senate floor that Sen. John Warner would be sponsoring the resolution. We're told that McCain later retracted that remark, but not before Webb reacted strongly to the purported Warner move.

Confused? So are we. Whatever the case, Warner now says he won't support the Webb Amendment, although he had supported it when it first came to a vote over the summer.

The votes on both amendments are scheduled to take place momentarily.

We've been bringing you reports through the day on the battle in the Senate over the amendment on troop readiness offered by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA).

The big news was that Sen. John Warner (R-VA) was going to offer a non-binding resolution to undercut the Webb Amendment. That was announced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on the Senate floor and prompted a swift reaction from Webb, who had been negotiating with Warner but was apparently not told by Warner of his plan.

But now we're hearing that there may be more to this story. It's not clear whether McCain misspoke in saying Warner was the sponsor of the resolution, or whether Warner is now distancing himself from the resolution.

We're looking into it and will have more shortly.

Late Update: What doesn't appear to be in dispute is that Warner has announced he will not vote for the Webb Amendment, after originally supporting it. That is probably the most important takeaway from today's events, not whether Warner stabbed Webb in the back in the process of withdrawing his support for Webb's proposal.

Later Update: Our Greg Sargent is being told that the vote on the Webb Amendment and the GOP non-binding resolution is scheduled to occur in about an hour, at 5:15 ET.