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Majority Leader Hoyer Urges
Colleagues to Vote to Override Veto of
Iraq Accountability Bill
Will of the American People
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer spoke on the House Floor today to urge his colleagues to override the President's veto of the Iraq Accountability Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Mr. Speaker, regrettably, the 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 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 - even though we may not succeed, and even as we prepare to meet with the President today to discuss next steps.
"The president's claim last night that "we've begun to see some important results" is unfortunately contradicted by the facts. In fact, Iraq is wracked by violence, including massive car bombs almost daily. The 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. Senator Hagel, who recently returned from Iraq, stated: "This thing is coming undone quickly, and the Maliki government is weaker by the day."
"Finally, let me say that the President's claim last night that this legislation "substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders" is simply inaccurate. We do not seek to micro-manage our military, which has done everything we have asked of them. Rather, we do continue to question the decisions of top administration officials, including the President, whose judgments regarding this war have proved repeatedly and profoundly wrong for more than four years - to the detriment of our nation and our national security.
"Indeed, it is ironic that the President makes this claim when, in fact, we are mired in Iraq because politicians - the President, the Vice President, former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and his Deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, and Paul Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority - substituted their judgments for the judgments of military officers, such as General Eric Shinseki.
"Mr. Speaker, this Congress must not rubber-stamp this Administration's failing stay-the-course strategy in Iraq.
"I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle: Listen to the American people. Fully fund our troops. Hold the Iraqis accountable. And, support a responsible redeployment of American troops. Vote yes on this veto override."