Two GOP Votes for Iraq Bill Made the Difference

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Shortly before 1 p.m. today, the U.S. Senate narrowly approved the conference report for the Iraq spending bill containing a deadline for the withdrawal of most U.S. troops in Iraq, the last vote before the bill is sent to the president for an almost certain veto.

The roll call for the 51-to-46 vote is available here.

Two Republicans, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon, voted with the 48 Democrats (every one except Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who is recovering from brain surgery). Independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont voted for the bill; independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut voted against.

Also not voting were Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Had Hagel and Smith voted with the rest of their party, then either Graham's or McCain's vote would have been sufficient for a tie, which Vice President Cheney would have been able to break in favor of the administration.