From NBC's Ken Strickland
Senate Republican leaders are now saying they will block next week's Iraq debate with a procedural vote on Monday afternoon. Unless an agreement is reached between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell before Monday at 5:30 pm, it's unlikely that there will be any votes on any resolutions.
Republican leaders say Democrats have yet to give them assurances that they'll be able to have votes on resolutions they prefer which support the President's Iraq strategy. Democratic leaders say they've made various offers. Obviously the two sides can't reach an agreement.
The Monday vote, called the "motion to proceed to the bill," will require 60 votes to pass. And McConnell's declaration that all 49 Republicans will vote AGAINST it would kill any votes on the measures. McConnell made a point of saying that even Sen. John Warner (R), who opposes the troop increase, will vote with his party.
Democrats quickly accused Republicans of filibustering. "They have already rejected three compromises that would permit the Senate to vote on the President's plan," Reid said today in a written statement. "This obstruction is an abdication of their responsibility to the American people on the most important issue facing our nation today." But McConnell said today at a news conference that his caucus is "using procedure to ensure a fair process."
Stay tuned, as negotiations will continue into the weekend.