updated 9/18/2006 5:37:07 PM ET 2006-09-18T21:37:07

The White House told lawmakers it would send Congress a revised proposal late Monday for dealing with terrorism suspects as the number of GOP senators publicly opposing President Bush's initial plan continued to grow.

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A Republican-led Senate committee last week defied Bush and approved terror-detainee legislation that Bush vowed to block. Sen. John Warner, normally a Bush supporter, pushed the measure through his Senate Armed Services Committee by a 15-9 vote.

John Ullyot, a spokesman for Warner, said the Virginia senator expected to receive another draft of the legislation. No details were immediately available.

The White House was adamant last week that the Senate proposal would end the CIA program to interrogate terrorists. Top officials spoke with reporters and senators in a bid to shore up support for Bush's legislation instead.

McCain hopeful
Earlier Monday, Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, a key opponent of the Bush proposal, said that he is confident a compromise can be reached with the White House on proposed rules for interrogating terror suspects.

"We are certainly making progress and I'm hopeful we can get it completed soon," McCain said, while campaigning for U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn.

McCain, a former prisoner of war, did not elaborate on how an agreement can be achieved on whether to allow highly controversial methods by the CIA, such as electric shock, forced nakedness and waterboarding, in which a subject is made to think he is drowning. The Bush administration says those techniques have foiled terror plots. Opponents say they verge on torture.

The full Senate was expected to take up the issue as early as this week.

Whether Bush would have enough votes to win on the Senate floor remained unclear. On Monday, Warner appeared to have the majority of support in the Senate, with at least 52 votes in their favor if Democrats backed them as expected.

GOP Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Olympia Snowe of Maine said they favor Warner's bill, joining Warner and three others who voted for it during the committee meeting last week.

There are 44 Democratic senators plus a Democratic-leaning independent, Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont.

CIA techniques at risk
Legal experts say that under international law, the provisions banning "humiliating and degrading treatment" and "outrages upon personal dignity" would likely bar the CIA's more aggressive tactics. Bush contends they are too vague. He wants a narrower interpretation that would permit the program to continue and shield CIA interrogators from lawsuits.

McCain, as well as Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner, R-Va., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have said that would redefine the broader legal understanding of the Geneva Conventions in the international community.

Their Senate proposal is silent as to what types of CIA tactics might be permissible under the broader conception of Article 3.

Vietnam experience
In a speech at a local VFW Hall in Connecticut, McCain told the story of how he had been treated in Vietnam.

He said under pressure to abide by the Geneva Conventions, he and other prisoners eventually were housed together and were allowed to receive care packages. One of his buddies used some cloth from home to fashion an American flag, to which they pledged their allegiance every night, he said.

After the speech, McCain said the story was not meant as a political statement.

McCain also said Monday that he will not endorse his Senate colleague, Democrat Joe Lieberman, in his independent run for re-election. Some Republicans have announced their support of Lieberman, who is running an independent re-election campaign after losing last month's primary to Democrat Ned Lamont. Republican Alan Schlesinger is running far behind in the polls.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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