The Senate voted today against setting up a "Truman Committee" to investigate reports of scandal, fraud and abuse for war contracts going to Halliburton and other companies. But the vote was close, and there was a surprise announcement from one GOP Senator.

Here's a dispatch from Halliburton Watch:

Although Senate Republicans killed an amendment that would have established a special investigation into war profiteering by Halliburton and other companies by a vote of 53 to 44 today, they have pledged to investigate Halliburton before the end of the year.

The amendment, introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan, D-ND, during Senate consideration of the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill, would have established a special committee modeled after Senator Harry Truman's World War II committee, which cost just thousands, but saved taxpayers $15 billion in 1940s' dollars. It was the third time in two years that the Senate rejected Dorgan's amendment.

After Dorgan introduced his amendment again yesterday, Sen. John Ensign, R-NV, made a surprise announcement that he would hold formal hearings into Halliburton's contract abuses in Iraq sometime in December. Ensign chairs a subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee - known as the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support.

The vote went down straight party lines; all Republicans voted no, all Dems voted yes. Alexander (R-TN), Corzine (D-NJ), and Inouye (D-HI) didn't show.

Halliburton Watch is calling on those concerned about Halliburton's contracts to: (1) Contact Sen. Ensign and congratulate him for his decision to hold formal hearings, and ask him to publicly release the dates on which the hearings will be held. (202) 224-6244, and (2) Contact your senators and ask them to support Sen. Ensign's decision to hold hearings, and call upon the Bush administration to ban Halliburton from any new contracts until all ongoing criminal investigations, as well as Ensign's pending investigation, are concluded.