WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) made the following statement on the floor of the House of Representatives today:
“Mr. Speaker, I am going to vote for this emergency supplemental appropriations bill because I believe it is absolutely imperative to support our brave men and women in harm’s way in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I know that even today – two years after the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom – there continues to be strong disagreement across this nation on the decision to remove the brutal Hussein regime, as well as the planning and prosecution of our military effort in Iraq.
“However, on this point, I believe there is unanimity: We – the elected representatives of the American people – have a legislative duty as well as a moral responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure that our troops have everything they need to defeat the vicious insurgency in Iraq and to assist the Iraqi people in establishing democracy there.
“In my view, we are not doing enough yet. Just last week, the New York Times reported the experience of Marine Company E – an experience that ‘was punctuated not only by a lack of armor, but also by a shortage of men and planning that further hampered their efforts in battle.’
“I am pleased that this bill includes $1.4 billion more than the Administration requested for bolstering force protection needs such as add-on armor and night-vision goggles, and for outfitting troops rotating into Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Over the last four years, this Administration has refused to ask the American people – particularly the wealthiest among us – to make even minimal sacrifices.
“Meanwhile, our men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq are sacrificing every single day.
“The very least we can do is give them the resources they need to achieve victory and to return home safely.
“I also support the important funding in this bill for tsunami relief, foreign assistance and domestic homeland security, as well as the $200 million in assistance for the Palestinian Authority for infrastructure and economic development projects.
“The political reforms taking place in the territories must be accompanied by an end to the poverty and lack of opportunity facing the Palestinian people.
“Finally, let me raise one objection to this funding bill – the $592 million for a new embassy compound in Baghdad. This funding is not only inappropriate in this emergency supplemental appropriations bill, but it also is substantially excessive.
“Mr. Speaker, I believe that we are at a critical juncture in Iraq. Victory is imperative, although it is not certain.
“I urge my colleagues to support this conference report.”