Majority Leader Hoyer Statement on the President’s Veto of the Iraq Accountability Act

i thank the TimeCode: 13:19:42.8 gentleman for yielding. at the outset let me comment on the ranking member's observation about political posturing. first let me say i wonder what the president was doing TimeCode: 13:19:58.5 standing in front of that sign saying, mission accomplished, on an aircraft carrier with taxpayers dollars? let me suggest to you that he was politically posturing, trying to take credit for a great victory that occurred four years ago. no one in america believes that TimeCode: 13:20:15.4 the mission has been accomplished. no one in america thinks we've had a success. let me say that it was totally appropriate for the speaker and for the majority leader in the TimeCode: 13:20:32.0 united states senate to sign a bill and let the public know that this is what the congress believes. my friend may think political posturing is taking responsibility. TimeCode: 13:20:46.7 which is our constitutional duty. as opposed to simply rubber-stamping what the president wants done. there has not been any question asked for the last four years by this congress. there has not been any interposition of a correct policy as opposed to the TimeCode: 13:21:02.6 president's failed policy. we don't see that as political posturing, i tell my friend. we see it as exercising the constitutional duty that the american public expects us to do as their independent representatives. this is only the second veto. why is it only the second veto? TimeCode: 13:21:19.5 because you wouldn't pass anything the president didn't want. that's not the role of the congress of the united states. the role of the congress of the united states is to make policy. that's what article 1 says. that's what we're doing. mr. speaker, regrettably the TimeCode: 13:21:34.9 president has chosen not to follow the will of the american people and bipartisan majorities in the house and senate by vetoing legislation that fully funds our troops in iraq and afghanistan, that holds the iraqis accountable for making progress, and that TimeCode: 13:21:52.9 calls for a responsible redeployment of american forces who are mired in a civil war. it is our duty now as the elected representatives of the people to try to override the president's veto. TimeCode: 13:22:08.1 even though we may not succeed. and even as we prepare to meet with the president today to discuss next steps. that's our responsibility. we intend to do it. mr. speaker, i believe our president who was wrong four years ago when he stood under a TimeCode: 13:22:24.1 banner announcing mission accomplished is wrong again. the escalation of american troops in iraq does not represent a change in administration failed policies. in fact it's the fourth time we have escalated troops. TimeCode: 13:22:39.0 in fact, it has been tried unsuccessfully. the president's claim that last night that, and i quote, we have begun to see some important results is unfortunately not true. i would wish it were true. TimeCode: 13:22:54.4 i want to succeed in this effort although what success is is ill defined our not defined by the president. in fact, we see in iraq, iraq by violence, including massive TimeCode: 13:23:10.9 car bombs almost daily. u.s. death toll in april -- 104 made last month the deadliest of the year and the sixth most lethal month since the war started, notwithstanding this increase in troop presence. TimeCode: 13:23:26.5 senator hagel who recently returned from iraq stated, and i quote, this thing is coming undone quickly. and the maliki government is weaker by the day, closed TimeCode: 13:23:41.3 quote. and in the special inspector general for iraq reconstruction just reported, and i quote again, the u.s. project to rebuild iraq remains far short of its targets, leaving the TimeCode: 13:23:55.2 country plagued by power outages, inadequate oil production, and shortages of clean water and health care. i suggest to my friend in that context the congress ought to be impacting on the policies that are are being pursued that TimeCode: 13:24:09.6 are are are not succeeding. -- that are are not succeeding. -- that are not succeeding. finally i call my attention to this, because he referenced it. the president's claim last night that this legislation, TimeCode: 13:24:24.5 and i quote, substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders is totally inaccurate. but let me tell you what's not inaccurate. is that our military commanders have made none of the decisions TimeCode: 13:24:43.0 on the policies we have been pursuing in iraq. and that is the tragedy. the decisions have been made not by military men and women but by the president, by mr. cheney, by mr. rumsfeld, by mr. TimeCode: 13:24:59.9 wolf wits, and, yes -- wolfowitz, and, yes, by mr. bremer. we have seen nothing, i tell my friend, but a series of political decisions made on this war over the last four-plus years. TimeCode: 13:25:13.4 would that it had been otherwise. we do not seek to micromanage our military which has done everything we have asked of them. rather we do continue to question the decisions of top administration officials, including, yes, the president, whose judgments regarding this TimeCode: 13:25:31.4 war have proved repeatedly almost without exception wrong. indeed, it is ironic that the president makes this claim when in fact we are mired in iraq because politicians who i have TimeCode: 13:25:46.3 just referenced made decisions that prove to be wrong and did not lead to success. mr. speaker, this congress must not continue to simply rubber stamp this administration's request. TimeCode: 13:26:01.0 our founding fathers did not think that was our role. they thought our role was to make independent judgments on the people's behalf. and have the courage to pass legislation reflecting that judgment. TimeCode: 13:26:16.1 this legislation responds to the will of the american people and sets forth a policy to take us in a new direction. that requires iraqi responsibility and the pursuit of the political solution that general petraeus and the iraq study group said was essential TimeCode: 13:26:32.6 if we were going to succeed. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle listen to the american people. fully fund our troops. hold the iraqis accountable. support responsible re TimeCode: 13:26:50.4 deployment of american troops. vote to override this veto.