WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Leaders released the following statements today regarding a concurrent resolution that will be debated on the Floor this week. The resolution expresses support for American troops and disapproval of the President's plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq. Debate on the resolution will begin tomorrow and each member who wishes to speak will be given five minutes on the Floor. Passage of the resolution is expected on Friday. Click here to see the full text of the resolution.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
"This week, at long last, the House of Representatives will have an honest and open debate on Iraq where all voices will be heard. Every Member of the House will have an opportunity to vote on a bipartisan resolution that will commend our brave men and women in uniform for their courageous work in Iraq and Afghanistan and will express our strong disapproval of the President's proposal for an escalation of our military involvement in Iraq.
"At the end of the debate, we will vote on a straightforward proposition: do you support the President's plan or oppose it? That vote will herald whether the House understands the message the American people are sending about the policies used to implement this war: they have not worked, they will not work, and they must be changed."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer:
"The vast majority of the American people are opposed to the President's escalation of the war in Iraq and are looking to Congress to express that opposition. The resolution introduced today and the debate in the people's House this week will finally put Congress on record. Democrats are absolutely committed to forging a new direction in Iraq, and this is a first step in our continuing efforts to affect Iraq policy."
House Majority Whip James Clyburn:
"There is no more solemn and serious issue debated on the House floor than the issue of war. The Congress has an obligation to respond to the President's proposal to once again increase troop levels in Iraq, a plan that a majority of Americans oppose. We will offer every member the same opportunity-time to speak their mind on the issue and a clean up-or-down vote on the President's proposal. This is the first step in a new direction of oversight and accountability in Congress on the war in Iraq."
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel:
"Tomorrow, we will begin debate on a simple resolution that outlines our continued support for our troops and our opposition to the President's plan to escalate the war in Iraq. Thus far, every surge in troop commitments has been met with a surge in violence. Now, the President has offered a strategy that is nothing more than more of the same. Democrats are united in our opposition to this escalation and united in our commitment to changing the course of the war in Iraq."
House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair John Larson:
"I've conducted five townhalls in my district and what I have heard consistently is an overwhelming support of our troops and desire to stop this escalation. The best way to support our troops is to bring them home in as timely, safe, and strategic a fashion as possible. We shouldn't clutter this debate. We must focus on one thing--the men and women that wear the uniform and taking them out of the center of an increasing insugency and civil war."
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton:
"This resolution is important because as representatives we stand in the shoes of the American people. In a very straightforward way, the resolution expresses our strong support for the troops and our opposition to the President's plan to deploy more than 20,000 additional U.S. combat troops to Iraq. I believe it will attract considerable support."
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos:
"Last November the voters sent President Bush a loud and unmistakable message about Iraq. It's obvious that the President didn't get it, as his announcement of an escalation of the war showed. This resolution is a second chance for the President to hear a strong, clear message that cannot be ignored."