Tuesday, February 13, 2007

House Debate on Iraq: Day One

The U.S. House of Representatives is debating George Bush's plan to increase American involvement in Iraq.

Democrats plan to take a self-described "first step towards reducing American participation in the war" this week and pass a nonbinding resolution that says NO to escalation.

Working Families agrees that sending more of our troops into harm's way is wrong, but we're not satisfied with nonbinding resolutions. We want the troops brought home from Iraq.

There's reason to believe we're moving in that direction. Some of the highlights from today's debate include Rep. Jerry Nadler (via MyDD):
"That is why this resolution must be only the first step.

In the Supplemental Budget we will consider next month, we should exercise the only real power we have - the Congressional power of the purse. We will not cut off the funds, and leave our troops defenseless before the enemy, as the demagogues would imply, but we should limit the use of the funds we provide to protecting the troops while they are in Iraq and to withdrawing them on a timetable mandated in the law. We should provide funds to rebuild the army and to raise our readiness levels, for diplomatic conferences in case there is any possibility of negotiating an end to the Iraqi civil war, and for economic reconstruction assistance, but above all, we must use the power of the purse to mandate a timetable to withdraw our troops from Iraq.

We must use the power the people have entrusted to us. The best way to protect our troops is to withdraw them from the middle of a civil war they cannot win, and that is not our fight."
and Rep. Louise Slaughter (via Daily Kos):
"This resolution - and the debate this week - is only the beginning.
. . .
In March, for example, we will consider the President's supplemental funding request. Soon afterward, we will consider the regular authorization and appropriations bills for the war. All of these debates will be detailed and significant.

But before we go forward, we must first know where we stand. Our goal this week is to clearly establish whether Congress agrees or disagrees with the President's current approach to Iraq. If the answer is no, then we will have the basis for forcing a change in that approach.

It is my most sincere hope that the vote we take on Friday will be the first of many that will help produce a better end to the war in Iraq than the one our current course will produce."
Rep. Slaughter's whole speech is on YouTube:

If you agree that we need to bring the troops home, let your U.S. Representative know.

And if you have a favorite speech or line from today's debate, share it in the comments.

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