WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this morning in response to comments by President Bush regarding funding for American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan:
“By ignoring the will of the American people and refusing to sit down and work with Congress to change direction in Iraq, the President in fact is engaging in unnecessary political theater and delaying funding for our troops in harm’s way.
“It is increasingly clear that, when it comes to the war in Iraq, President Bush is out of touch with the views of the American people, who are demanding a charge in direction and a policy that is designed to succeed.
“After the deaths of more than 3,200 brave American soldiers and the expenditure of more than $400 billion, the President continues to insist that we pursue a failing stay-the-course strategy – even as the Defense Department describes the situation on the ground in Iraq as ‘civil war.’
“Given the Administration’s record of failure in Iraq, Democrats in Congress refuse to simply rubber-stamp the President’s latest funding request. Thus, for the first time in four years, we demand that the Iraqi government be held accountable and meet the benchmarks for progress that the President himself articulated in January, and we support a responsible redeployment that is supported by nearly 70 percent of Americans and endorsed by the bipartisan, independent Iraq Study Group.
“Let’s be clear: Democrats are not attempting to micro-manage this war. We are attempting to change a policy that is failing and chart a new direction in Iraq.
“Finally, for the President to claim that Democrats are somehow responsible for the readiness issues faced by our armed forces is patently absurd. In fact, top military officials – including General Peter Schoomaker – have issued strong warning about the effects of this war on America’s overall military readiness and our ability to respond to emerging strategic threats.”