WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the House Appropriations Committee approved the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, which will be considered on the House Floor next week:
“Just four days before the beginning of the fifth year of war in Iraq, it is fair to ask: What is it about accountability that this Administration and so many Republicans find objectionable?
“Today’s news reports on Iraq are deeply troubling, and demonstrate – more than ever – the necessity of the accountability measures in the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, which the House will consider next week. It is clear that the Administration’s stay-the-course strategy is a recipe for continued failure.
“In a quarterly report to Congress, the Pentagon finally admitted that much of what is occurring on the ground in Iraq is ‘properly descriptive of a civil war.’ The same report indicates that Iraqis are increasingly taking the back seat in combat operations – contrary to the President’s assertions in January – and that Prime Minister Maliki has not followed through on promises to reform his government. Furthermore, the Administration now claims that political goals that the Iraqis were supposed to have met this month will not be fulfilled until the end of the year.
“It is clear that we need to forge a new direction in Iraq and the Democratic bill will help do that. It will give our troops the equipment they need, require the Iraqis to take responsibility for their future, set real benchmarks for progress and establish real consequences for failing to meet those benchmarks, and lays out a strategic redeployment plan similar to that outlined by the Iraq Study Group.
“After nearly four years of war, the loss of more than 3,200 American servicemen and women, and the expenditure of more than $400 billion on this war, it is long past time for those who argue for a stay-the-course strategy to explain why they persist in the pursuit of failure. This Democratic Bill – the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health, and Iraq Accountability Act – will help move us in a new direction. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle support it next week.”