From NBC's Mark Murray
Over the last several years, Republicans accusing Democrats of voting against military funding bills -- for whatever the reason -- became an common line of political attack.
Here's one example: "Senator Obama, who after promising not to vote to cut off funds for the troops, did the incredible thing of voting to cut off the funds for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," John McCain said at his first presidential debate with Obama last year.
So it was more than ironic to see 33 Senate Republicans -- including McCain -- support a filibuster last night on a military spending bill, simply to delay the health-care bill. Only three Republican senators voted to end debate on the Defense bill: Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Strikingly, Democrats today haven't tried to capitalize on last night's vote. That is until the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee blasted out press releases criticizing GOP Sens. Richard Burr, Chuck Grassley, and David Vitter for supporting the filibuster. Burr, Grassley, and Vitter are up for re-election next year, as is McCain.
"At approximately 1:00 am this morning, United States Senator Richard Burr put partisan politics above funding our troops by voting to support a filibuster of the Department of Defense Appropriations conference report," the DSCC release states. "Instead of allowing the Senate to move swiftly in providing the funds crucially needed by U.S. troops both at home and abroad, Burr decided to continue his trend of delay and obstructionism. Despite Burr's attempt at obstructing the Senate from passing funding for U.S. troops, cloture was invoked in a bi-partisan manner, and the Senate will vote on final passage this Saturday."
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh emails First Read that last night's GOP votes won't backfire on Republicans. "People recognize that this filibuster was about slowing the Democrats' massive government health care bill which Harry Reid is intent on ramming through the Senate before Christmas," he said. "If the Democrats really want to make next year's election a debate over which party better supports our military or which party is more committed to defeating the terrorists, we would certainly welcome that debate."