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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) made the following statement today on the House floor in opposition the resolution offered by Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Duncan Hunter (R-CA):
“Mr. Speaker, the most profound issue that this Congress must consider is whether or not to declare and prosecute war, whether or not to send our nation’s sons and daughters into harm’s way.
“A serious proposal has been made by a senior Member of this body – a member who honorably served in the United States Marine Corps for nearly four decades, a Member who has served here for more than three decades, and a Member who has been one of our nation’s leaders on making our defenses the strongest they could be.
“That proposal raises legitimate and critical questions as to the prosecution of our nation’s war effort in Iraq. And it suggests an alternative course of action that deserves serious consideration and a full and fair debate.
“However, his proposal is not before us tonight.
“The Republican Chairman of the Armed Services Committee offers a Resolution to immediately withdraw our troops from Iraq.
“Not because he supports such a policy, but rather to avoid serious consideration of the policy our country is pursuing and proposals for possible alternatives.
“The Majority Party’s response seeks to deal with this issue in a way that trivializes our consideration of how to conduct this war effort in the manner best designed to attain success.
“As such, this Resolution is beneath the dignity and responsibility of this institution and the Members of this body, who have sworn an oath to protect this nation and the American people.
“And this Resolution is unworthy of our responsibility to our men and women who are now serving our nation and who are deployed in harm’s way.
“Unfortunately, today’s process mirrors the superficial consideration of serious policy issues in this Congress, and demonstrates a continuing unwillingness to subject policy proposals to oversight and serious and thoughtful deliberation.
“Mr. Speaker, I regret that I do not possess the eloquence or vocabulary to express the magnitude of my contempt with which I view this shabby, petty political maneuver. Our responsibilities to our country and to our men and women in harm’s way in the defense of freedom demand more of us.
“The Majority leadership demonstrates today its lack of respect for this institution and for its great responsibilities to our democracy.
“The American people will see this day’s proceedings for what they are: the rankest of politics and the absence of any sense of shame.
“Our troops, our citizens and our country deserve better.
“I urge every one of my colleagues: Vote against the Hunter Resolution.
“It is unworthy of respect.”