Senate puts aside partisan flap to pass resolution commending troops

After four days of arguing over specific language, the Senate Friday passed a resolution commending U.S. troops for their efforts in the war in Afghanistan and declaring that the Senate "stands united with the president in the ongoing effort to defeat terrorism."

Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., drafted a version of the resolution earlier this week and shared it with Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss.

Lott told reporters that he suggested adding language that "we're committed to providing the funds to do the job." A Daschle spokeswoman described Lott's proposal as pledging full funding for the war effort.

That change--which recalls comments last week by Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., about the administration's defense budget request and subsequent comments by Daschle--apparently delayed an agreement on final resolution language.

Lott suggested that Democratic committee chairmen were involved in the delay.

After discussions among the Senate leaders, the following language, suggested by Lott, was included in the final draft: "The first priority of the Congress is to provide for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines the necessary resources and tools required for victory."

Daschle last week praised the conduct of the war to date, but also said that the United States will have failed if it does not capture Osama bin Laden and Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. Lott Thursday reiterated his criticism of Daschle's comments about the war, saying the comments were "inappropriate" and the timing was not good.

Senate Republicans Thursday continued to criticize Daschle for the comments he made last week.

GOP Policy Committee Chairman Larry Craig of Idaho said that Daschle's statements were "not well received ... As a result, this resolution appears to be an attempt of trying to get back in the good graces of the public."

The original resolution drafted by Daschle also stated that, "The Senate stands united with the president in the ongoing effort to destroy al Qaeda." A GOP aide said that some Democrats have not been "too excited" about supporting the language with respect to the president or the budget.