WASHINGTON, DC - Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke at a press conference after the Iraq resolution, which expresses support for our troops and opposes the President's escalation of the war in Iraq, passed the House with bipartisan support. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Today, a bipartisan majority of the United States House of Representatives took a critical first step in affecting the President's failing Iraq policy. And tomorrow, I hope the Senate - which will vote to proceed to debate on an identical resolution - does the same.
"Let us be clear: We do not honor the courage and sacrifice of our troops when we continue to pursue a failing policy. Nor do we strengthen our national security.
"In November, the American people sent a resounding message for change. They voted for a new direction in our nation - including a new direction in the war in Iraq. Today, the House not only demonstrated that we heard the voters' message, but also that we had the collective will to send one of our own - a message that will reverberate at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Main Street U.S.A.
"Some of our House colleagues claimed this week that this Resolution is merely symbolic and meaningless. I could not disagree more.
"As Walter Dellinger, a constitutional scholar at Duke University and a former Assistant Attorney General, said this morning in the Washington Post: "I think that the framers of the Constitution would be astonished that a president would proceed to increase U.S. involvement in a foreign war over the expressed objection of both houses of Congress."
"I have no doubt that it pains this Administration - which has pursued a failing policy in Iraq for nearly four years - that this Congress is determined to fulfill its constitutional obligation to conduct real, meaningful oversight. The American people expect and deserve no less.
"In the days ahead, we will continue to explore opportunities to affect our failing policy. Already, in just six weeks of this new Congress, we have conducted more than 50 House and Senate hearings on Iraq. And, more are scheduled. We have an absolute obligation to our men and women in harm's way to ensure that they have an effective, successful strategy that honors their sacrifice.
"And, let me say this without equivocation, qualification or caveat: We will always stand by our troops. We will never do anything that could endanger our servicemen and women in harm's way.
"This Resolution is a critical moment in our nation's war effort in Iraq. It is a first step in our attempt to forge a new direction in Iraq."