Many had been assuming that the sponsors of the competing non-binding resolutions opposing Bush's troop increase would eventually reach some kind of compromise. But the AP says Sen. John Warner (R) refused yesterday to cut a deal with Sens. Joe Biden, Carl Levin, and Chuck Hagel -- whose resolution passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. "Warner's decision bolsters chances that his resolution will be the one to win final Senate approval. Democrats are expected to vote for his proposal if their measure fails, and several Republicans said they prefer Warner's approach because it is less divisive." Also: "His decision to avoid bargaining also decreases the odds that a single resolution would emerge that would garner a strong, bipartisan vote reproaching Bush's plan, which the White House hopes to avoid."
On TODAY, Hagel said the resolution he's co-sponsoring with Biden and Levin isn't confrontational, as his critics complain. "We're asking some tough questions," Hagel said. "This is not confrontational… We're not trying to hurt the president."
Meanwhile, the Washington Post writes that "antiwar groups are launching a public relations blitz to sway Congress [on the troop increase]. And a coalition of labor unions, liberal activists and Iraq war veterans, called Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, will barnstorm through [several states] next week to pressure wavering Republican senators. In each state, television advertising will show six ex-soldiers intoning: 'When it comes to Iraq, America is divided. On the one hand, you've got two-thirds of the American people, a bipartisan majority in Congress, the Iraq Study Group and veterans like us, all opposed to the escalation… On the other hand, there's George Bush, who supports escalation. If you support escalation, you don't support the troops.'"
The New York Times: "Supporters of the president's policy were developing resolutions of their own. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said he would propose giving the Iraqis a series of benchmarks to demonstrate progress. A draft proposal from Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, declares that 'the United States military leadership in Iraq should be given a reasonable chance to execute the new plan for Iraq.'"
As the Senate considers these non-binding resolutions, the Politico notes that Sen. Russ Feingold "has scheduled a hearing next Tuesday in his Judiciary Committee subcommittee to explore whether Congress has the authority to cut off funding for the U.S. military campaign in Iraq."
The Washington Post reports that the Bush Administration "has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort."
The White House will ask Congress for $10.6 billion for Afghanistan to help the country strengthen its security forces and rebuild after years of war, the AP writes. "The money would be on top of $14.2 billion in aid the United States has already given to Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 that toppled the repressive Taliban."
And the Los Angeles Times reports that Fox News on Sunday is planning "to broadcast footage from ABC's controversial miniseries 'The Path to 9/11' that was edited out of the docudrama amid criticism that it inaccurately portrayed the Clinton administration's response to the terrorism threat."