Statement on Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act

the president of the united states had a chance to TimeCode: 18:42:54.4 fully fund the troops a few weeks ago. he chose not to take it. i tell my friend, mr. tiahrt, from kansas. we fully funded the troops, in fact we gave more money for the fight against terrorism. we want to see success. TimeCode: 18:43:12.1 mr. speaker, let every member here and all those watching this debate at home be perfectly clear. this legislation fully funds our troops in harm's way in iraq and afghanistan. ensuring that they have the TimeCode: 18:43:25.9 resources they need to conduct their missions. not only that, this bill includes additional funding as the last bill did, not requested by the president, to fight the war on terror. to improve americans' military TimeCode: 18:43:43.6 readiness, and meet our veterans' unmet health needs. however while this legislation funds our troops, it insists as we tried to last time for the first time in more than four TimeCode: 18:43:56.9 years that the bush administration and the iraqi government be accountable. the american public expects accountability. plain and simple this legislation responds to the will of the people who are TimeCode: 18:44:12.0 dismayed by the failed implementation of american foreign policy, perhaps more failed than in any generation. on tuesday a cnn poll found that 2/3, 2/3 of americans oppose the war. TimeCode: 18:44:28.9 and 61% support benchmarks like the ones in this bill that would measure iraqi progress. let me say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, vice president cheney was deployed by this administration. what for? TimeCode: 18:44:44.9 to tell the iraqis they had to perform. that they had to meet benchmarks. that the american public was running thin on its support. in fact is not supporting this war. TimeCode: 18:45:01.1 but frankly the congress has taken the position that we won't say that. and the president vetoes a bill that said that. a bill that required performance so that the millions that the american TimeCode: 18:45:16.3 public, the billions that the american public, the $500 billion-plus the american public has dug into their pockets. . will be responsibly met by the iraqi government. thus, mr. speaker, this TimeCode: 18:45:33.8 legislation holds the president and the iraqi government accountable by fencing off $52-plus billion of the $95.5 billion provided to the defense department until released by subsequent legislation. TimeCode: 18:45:47.0 what is there to fear from this congress as we oversee whether or not there is a turn from an unsuccessful implementation of a policy to a successful policy? perhaps that fear is that that corner will not be turned and therefore this vote may be at TimeCode: 18:46:03.3 risk. before this additional funding is leased, however, the president must report to congress by july 14, regarding the success of the iraqi government and meeting security and political benchmarks. general patraeus said that there TimeCode: 18:46:19.4 is no solution, but a political solution. and the only people who can accomplish a political solution are the iraqis themselves. what do we ask for? disarm militias killing our men and women. enact legislation to share oil TimeCode: 18:46:36.9 revenues. reforming the -- the debaathfication process, which says to tens of thousands of people, we know that you were baath members, but you weren't in politics, but you can come TimeCode: 18:46:53.1 back to do the work to build this society. our men and women will pay the price as they're paying the price every day. lastly, providing for elections. we're fighting for democracy. we're investing in democracy. that's what we're told. TimeCode: 18:47:08.0 but we haven't amended the constitution and we're not providing for the elections that were promised. if that is the case, the iraqi people are not going to think that democracy is on its way. mr. speaker, the president of the united states himself has stated that our commitment in iraq is not open-ended. TimeCode: 18:47:24.7 that's what this legislation says. if you think it's open-ended, if you think that there should be no benchmarks, if you think that the american taxpayers' money ought to be spent without seeing results and without the carnage to our troops decreasing, then TimeCode: 18:47:42.0 vote against this. to this we say no more. no more blank checks. not after more than 3,370 americans have lost their lives in iraq and more than 25,000 TimeCode: 18:47:57.8 have been injured. 10% of thrives have been lost in the last -- of those lives have been lost in the last four months. not after the taxpayers spent $3.5 trillion, not after 4 1/2 years of egregious decisions, TimeCode: 18:48:17.0 from mission accomplished to iraq will fund its own reconstruction. every member in this body, every member hopes an prays that the current troop -- and pray that's the current troop calation succeeds, that our troops -- TimeCode: 18:48:31.9 escalation succeeds and that our troops return home safely. why should you fear waiting 6013 days and make a -- 60 days and make a decision. TimeCode: 18:48:47.4 we swore to the constitution of the united states that swore we're the policymakers. progress on the ground is somewhere between elusive and nonexistent. a two-step funding approach in this legislation affected by mr. TimeCode: 18:49:03.6 obey and mr. murtha is not only appropriate, it is imperative. even the senate minority leader, mr. mcconnell has stated, and i quote, i think the time to look at where we are is late summer. this is a few days before that. TimeCode: 18:49:20.5 and we will continue consideration into that late summer that senator mcconnell talks about. we cannot want to succeed more than the iraqis. they must take the lead in restoring stability and securing their nation. TimeCode: 18:49:33.8 and the iraqi parliament must not go on vacation while american men and women are fighting and dying for them. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, support this bill. let us forge a new direction in TimeCode: 18:49:50.2 iraq and implement a policy and design to succeed.