Democrats Drop Efforts to Delay Tanker Escort

Associated Press

Senate Democrats said today that they are dropping efforts to delay President Reagan’s plans to protect Kuwaiti oil tankers, one week before the first U.S. Navy ships are to begin their escort duty in the Persian Gulf

The decision came after the Senate failed--for the third time in a week--to end a Republican filibuster blocking the chamber from considering a measure seeking to delay the escort plans.

“This vote will be the end of it as far as I’m concerned,” Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) said shortly before senators took their vote.


“We’ve made our point that a majority of the Senate is opposed to this policy,” he added.

6 Votes Short

The Democratic-controlled chamber voted 55 to 44, six votes short of the 60 needed to impose cloture, the parliamentary device used to end a filibuster.

With Democrats holding a 54-46 margin in the chamber, Republicans have been able to muster enough votes to block the cloture attempts.

At issue today was a proposal that called for a 90-day delay in Reagan’s plans. The two earlier votes were on a different proposal, seeking to put the Persian Gulf policy “in abeyance” for an undetermined time.

The Navy will start escorting U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti tankers through the war-torn gulf July 22, according to legislators who met Tuesday with top Reagan Administration officials. (Story on Page 9.)