[Congressional Record Volume 153, Number 51 (Friday, March 23, 2007)]
[Pages H2961-H2999]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to section 2 of House Resolution

[[Page H2962]]

261, proceedings will now resume on the bill (H.R. 1591) making 
emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending 
September 30, 2007, and for other purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. When proceedings were postponed on Thursday, 
March 22, 2007, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey) had 59\1/2\ 
minutes remaining and the gentleman from California (Mr. Lewis) had 51 
minutes remaining.
  Who yields time?

                              {time}  0945

  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 10 minutes.
  Yesterday, a number of Members on the Republican side of the aisle 
sought to belittle the legislation before us because, in addition to 
funding the needs of the troops in Iraq, it contains money to address a 
number of domestic priorities. To ridicule that legislation, they tried 
to belittle items such as funding for levees in New Orleans, and 
agriculture disaster payments. In that they have been joined by 
editorial writers at papers such as the Washington Post.
  Like the Post, the Republican speakers of yesterday indicated that 
their main objection to this legislation is the way it tries to create 
pressure to end our military involvement in an Iraq civil war. Those 
speakers and the Washington Post editorial writers make no effort to 
understand why these additional items are there. They simply ridicule 
them for their own purposes. This bill has my name on it, and I take 
full responsibility for each and every item in the bill.
  Despite the comments of my good friend from California suggesting 
that if I could have written this bill, it would have been quite 
different, this is not a bill that was imposed from Nancy Pelosi's 
Speaker's Office. Oh, yes, she was consulted. But every last provision 
in this bill was not included until I personally approved of it, and I 
take full responsibility for it.
  I want to be very clear about some of the items that the editorial 
writers and certain Members of this House have been criticizing.
  Let's start with agriculture. I haven't voted for a farm bill in the 
last 10 years because I believe that existing farm programs provide way 
too much funding for large farmers and way too little funding for 
family farmers. But the fact is that over the past 2 years, over 70 
percent of the counties in this country were declared disaster areas, 
not by me, but by the President of the United States. That entitles 
farmers who have suffered that weather-related disaster to certain 
forms of compensation.
  The previous Congress tried to work its way through that problem for 
well over a year and failed. We at one time this year were looking at a 
bill in the Senate costing $6 billion. Thanks to the efforts of 
Chairman Peterson on this side of the Capitol, the cost of those 
agriculture disaster programs have been cut by one-third, by tightening 
up eligibility requirements.
  I applaud him for making those changes.
  There is a second criticism being made about the fact that there is 
some money in here for dairy. You bet there is. Because under the 
Republican stewardship, during the last Congress, or two Congresses 
ago, actually, in order to use an accounting gimmick, the then majority 
on the Agriculture Committee arranged to have the dairy program expire 
one month before every other farm program. That was done only for 
budget fiction purposes, to hide the true cost of the farm bill 5 years 
ago. You bet, in this legislation there is a 1-month fix so that when 
we go into writing the next farm bill, dairy will have a chance to 
compete with other farm programs.
  I find the Washington Post criticism of this especially interesting, 
since they often squawk about the fact that farm programs give too much 
to large farmers. The MILC Program happens to focus on small farmers, 
which is why so many big farmers don't like the program. I make no 
apology for recognizing that is an inequity that needs to be fixed.
  Then we have a squawk about spinach. Let me tell you why spinach is 
in here. You can laugh about it now, but people were dying last year 
because of an E. coli outbreak.
  Now, the FDA did not have the authority to require mandatory recalls 
of spinach. What some of these companies did, despite the fact that 
their product was clean, they voluntarily withdrew their product from 
the market. That cost them a bundle and brought a lot of people to near 
  I have heard a lot of conservatives on this floor talk about how 
outrageous it is when the government engages in an unconstitutional 
taking. They usually are talking in terms of land or environment. 
Doesn't the government that required or that asked these people to 
participate in the withdrawal in order to protect public health, 
doesn't that government have an obligation to people who exercise their 
patriotic duty and did what they were asked? I think they do. That is 
why this is in here.
  Then they are squawking about aquaculture. Well, let me explain why 
that item is in the bill. In eight States in the union, fish farmers 
woke up one morning and discovered that the Federal Government had 
issued an edict which prevented them from transferring their product 
across State lines because lake trout, in the Great Lakes region, had 
been discovered to have viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a highly virulent 
fish disease. If it was allowed to get into lakes, in the Great Lakes, 
it could have ruined the entire fish supply. So, the government said 
you can't sell your fish across State lines.
  Again, the problem was that the fish that they were prohibited from 
shipping across State lines was all healthy. In a catch-22 situation, 
if their fish had been diseased, they could have collected under 
disaster programs. But because they were healthy, they couldn't 
collect. So the government put those people out of business.
  Does the government have an obligation to correct that problem? You 
better bet you they do. That is why it is in this bill.
  There are some other items in the bill as well that people don't 
like. But the main frustration on the part of the opponents of this 
bill is because people don't like the way that we are going about 
trying to end our military participation in an Iraqi civil war.
  Let me submit to you the problem we have today is not that we didn't 
listen enough to people like the Washington Post, it is that we 
listened too much. They endorsed going to war in the first place. They 
helped drive the drumbeat that drove almost two-thirds of the people in 
this Chamber to vote for that misbegotten, stupid, ill-advised war that 
has destroyed our influence over a third of the world. So I make no 
apology if the moral sensibilities of some people on this floor, or the 
editorial writers of the Washington Post, are offended because they 
don't like the specific language contained in our benchmarks or in our 
  What matters in the end is not what the specific language is. What 
matters is whether or not we produce a product today that puts pressure 
on this administration and sends a message to Iraq, to the Iraqi 
politicians, that we are going to end the permanent, long-term 
babysitting service. That is what we are trying to do.
  If the Washington Post is offended about the way we do it, that is 
just too bad. But we are in the arena, they are not. This is the best 
we can do, given the tools we have, and I make absolutely no apology 
for it.
  I would say one thing, those of us who voted against the war in the 
first place wouldn't have nearly as hard a time getting us out of the 
war if people like the Washington Post and those who criticized us on 
the floor yesterday hadn't supported going into that stupid war in the 
first place
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I would not want the gentleman 
from Wisconsin to think, since I don't have an opening statement, that 
I don't feel as passionately about this issue as he does. We just 
happen to disagree about how we support the troops, whether we make an 
effort to support them by providing adequate and flexible funding for 
the commanders, or have a mandatory withdrawal
  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to recognize the gentleman from Florida 
(Mr. Weldon) a member of the committee, for 2 minutes.
  Mr. WELDON of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I thought freedom was worth 
fighting for. I thought, when we saw all those Iraqis risk their lives 
to go and

[[Page H2963]]

vote and establish a government and establish a Constitution and to 
have, possibly, freedom of speech, that was something worth our level 
of effort. If you actually go over there and talk to those people, you 
find out that it is a minority that is trying to break the will of this 
body. That is what is going on.
  What I object to in this bill is the way you have brought this to the 
floor. You have got subsidies for spinach. You know, my constituents 
are asking, who put that in the bill, Popeye? Why don't you let us have 
a vote on whether or not we want to attach funding for peanut farmers 
and funding for spinach farmers to a war supplemental?
  Yes, why don't we have a vote on the Murtha language? Why are you 
denying us an opportunity, this body, a Democratic institution, the 
ability to say collectively as a majority, we think this kind of 
language is what we want to have?
  I don't deny the gentleman from Pennsylvania, as the chairman of the 
Subcommittee on Defense, to put forward his plan. Even though he is not 
the Commander in Chief, the way I read the Constitution, he can do 
that. But the way I also read the Constitution and the Federalist 
papers, we are supposed to have some kind of a vote, and you are just 
bringing this thing forward under a closed rule.
  I personally think that is a disgrace, what is going on here. I am 
going to vote against this bill. I hope, as we move forward in this 
process, democracy, which the Iraqis are willing to risk their lives 
for, will someday be reinstituted in this body here.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Van Hollen).
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, 4 years ago President Bush sent our 
troops to war without a plan for success in Iraq, and without a plan to 
care for our wounded soldiers returning home.
  During those 4 years, the old Congress rubber-stamped the failed 
policies of the Bush administration. The American people know well that 
when you ignore failure and bad decisions, you simply get more of them.
  Today, we are demanding accountability for a change, accountability 
to ensure that our troops get the training and equipment they need, 
accountability to ensure that our wounded soldiers returning home are 
treated with a dignity that they deserve. We hold the Iraqi government 
accountable for taking the steps toward political reconciliation which 
they, themselves, have said are necessary to achieve stability.
  The accountability measures in this bill track the recommendations 
made by the independent bipartisan Baker-Hamilton Commission. The 
President chose to reject those recommendations and, instead, to 
escalate the war in Iraq.
  At the same time, the President has not paid adequate attention to 
those who were responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001, al 
Qaeda, operating out of Afghanistan.
  This bill provides additional resources for completing that mission 
and for holding those responsible who did attack us on September 11. Al 
Qaeda is still plotting against us. It demands accountability, it 
supports our troops, and it strengthens our national security.
  Mr. Speaker, it is time for a change and direction in Iraq. It is 
time to bring some accountability to the history of failed decisions we 
have made so we don't continue to make the same bad decisions going 
forward. The American people asked for and deserve a change in 
direction. That is what this bill does.

                              {time}  1000

  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield for a unanimous consent request to the 
gentleman from Texas.
  (Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this 
legislation, thanking both Congressman Murtha and Congressman Obey for 
their work.
  It has now been 4 years since this war started, over 3 years since we 
heard the phrase ``mission accomplished,'' and almost a year and half 
since the Iraqi elections for a permanent government--it is time for 
the Iraqi government to police, govern, and run its country. This bill 
also provides more support for our veterans and military healthcare.
  This legislation will provide funding for our troops, but it will 
also force the Iraqis to take control of their own country, and bring 
our troops home within the next 18 months--possibly sooner, if the 
Iraqis do not meet benchmarks that demonstrate they are making 
  Our commitment in Iraq, which grew under the President's surge plan 
last month, has strained our military, cost thousands of U.S. and Iraqi 
lives, and has created serious readiness problems in the Army and 
Marine Corps.
  I don't like the idea of setting a timeline, but for 4 years we have 
had an open-ended commitment, and after those 4 years, we are still 
seeing some of the bloodiest attacks, and highest casualty numbers to 
date. We need to set benchmarks to force the Iraqis to take over their 
own country, and this bill does that. It is not pulling our troops out 
immediately--if Iraqis rise to this responsibility, we will have troops 
there for another 18 months, but if they don't, we will begin 
redeployment this year.
  After 4 years, it is time Congress exercise authority over the way 
this war is being run. Congress is not 535 commanders in chief, but we 
must provide guidance on what we will ask the American taxpayers to 
fund. We have held dozens of hearings this year, and passed a non-
binding resolution opposing the escalation or surge in U.S. troops. Our 
vote on this Supplemental will be another step in bringing a resolution 
to this conflict and will let the Iraqis know our commitment is not 
  I applaud the leadership and Appropriations committee on bringing 
this bill to the floor, and I urge my colleagues to join me in 
supporting it.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, it is my honor to yield time to 
my Speaker, the gentleman from Illinois, Dennis Hastert, 3 minutes.
  Mr. HASTERT. I thank the chairman, and I rise today in strong 
opposition to 1591.
  Mr. Speaker, I just want to say to my friend from Wisconsin, I have a 
great deal of respect for the fights that he has fought on this floor 
for over 30 years, but we do disagree.
  Supplemental spendings are intended to provide additional funding for 
programs and activities that are too urgent and pressing to wait for 
the regular appropriations process. To be clear, only emergency funds 
should be included in this supplemental. Period. So if Democrats are 
looking for an avenue to send money back to their districts, they 
should look to regular order.
  Last year when the Senate tried to include over $14 billion in 
nonemergency funds in the supplemental, House Republicans demanded a 
clean bill. And when the House sat down with the other body to 
negotiate a final bill, we accepted nothing less than a supplemental 
free of unrelated and nonemergency funding.
  Why did we do that? Because we wanted to pledge the faithful support 
of this Congress to the members of the armed services serving in harm's 
way. This legislation should remain focused on the needs of the troops 
and not become a vehicle for extraneous spending and policy proposals.
  In yet another show of a different way, the same Members who screamed 
for a straight up or down vote on minimum wage legislation just 1 year 
ago are today trying to attach that legislation to a wartime 
supplemental. And the very Members who voted to reinstitute PAYGO rules 
just 2 months ago are here today casting fiscal responsibility to the 
  This bill should be limited to necessary funding for our troops 
serving bravely in Iraq and around the world in the war on terror. I 
ask my honorable Democratic friends how the Democrats can on the one 
hand say they support our troops by providing them with money, but on 
the other undermine them by telegraphing a date for their withdrawal 
from Iraq.
  Congress should under no circumstances micromanage the war and have 
politicians making decisions that should be left to our Commander in 
Chief and generals on the ground. Even The Washington Post and the Los 
Angeles Times, hardly supporters of this administration, have 
editorialized that this legislation oversteps the bounds of Congress 
and both support a Presidential veto of the bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to oppose this legislation and 
think long and hard about its consequences. This bill is fiscally 
irresponsible; it holds our troops hostage to nonemergency

[[Page H2964]]

spending and policy proposals, and it signals to the insurgents and 
terrorists around the world a lack of American will to do what is 
necessary to win the war on terror.
  Vote ``no'' on H.R. 1591.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.
  Mr. Speaker, let me simply say that we could do as the distinguished 
speaker has indicated and simply rubber-stamp what the administration 
asks for and do nothing else. But the fact is, what we are doing is 
exercising our responsibilities to provide checks and balances; 
Congress has every right to limit the terms and conditions under which 
appropriations are made, especially in wartime.
  I would also point out that lest there be any doubt for the support 
of the troops, in addition to all of the funding that Mr. Murtha has 
put in his section of the bill to meet the everyday combat and 
readiness needs of the troops, we have $1.7 billion above the 
President's request for veterans health care; we have another $1.7 
billion above the President's request for defense health care. I think 
that makes quite clear that if you are concerned about the troops and 
concerned about the veterans, you will vote for this bill.
  I will now yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Texas 
(Mr. Edwards).
  Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, we have a moral obligation to support our 
troops while they are in combat and when they come home. That is why we 
fully fund our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why we commit $3.1 
billion in this bill to build better barracks, housing, and training 
facilities here at home for our troops returning from war.
  We also believe that supporting our veterans is a real cost of war, 
just as real as guns, tanks, and bullets. That is why we had $1.7 
billion in high-priority health care and benefits programs for our 
veterans, with a special focus on taking care of those who need us the 
most, those suffering from traumatic brain injury, PTSD, or loss of 
arms and legs. Our veterans' sacrifices don't end after they return 
home, and neither should our commitment to them.
  For members of the Guard and Reserves in rural areas, we provide $100 
million for contracting out mental health care services so these brave 
citizen soldiers don't have to suffer even more by waiting weeks or 
months for health care they desperately need and deserve. For some, 
that timely care could mean the difference between health and 
depression; for other, the difference between life and death.
  To prevent a Walter Reed Annex 18 tragedy from occurring in VA 
hospitals, we commit $550 million to address serious maintenance and 
repair needs at those hospitals. Not one soldier, not one veteran, not 
one, should ever again have to endure the indignity of living in rat-
infested, moldy housing.
  The needs addressed in this bill are real, and our troops and 
veterans deserve no less. A vote for this bill is a vote for better 
health care and housing for America's heroes. By voting for this bill, 
we can honor and respect our troops, our veterans, and their families, 
not just with our words, but with our deeds.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I recognize the gentleman from 
Indiana (Mr. Burton) for 1 minute.
  Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I understand my Democrat 
colleagues have the votes. I guess there was a lot of arm twisting last 
night. So congratulations on getting the votes necessary to pass this. 
But I am sad because this bill spends $31 billion more than the 
President requested. It is a budget buster. And also I am kind of sad 
because I think a little bit about history.
  You know, if George Washington had a Congress with the attitude of 
this Congress, we might very well have lost the Revolutionary War. If 
Abraham Lincoln had a Congress with the attitude of this Congress, we 
might very well have lost the Civil War. And I am sad for our valiant 
troops who you are going to jerk out of Iraq. It is a withdrawal bill. 
That is what you want to do, withdraw. And I am sad for our troops, our 
valiant troops, who want to win. Who want to win. And you are not going 
to let them if you have your way.
  So I would just like to say, if I were talking to the President of 
the United States today, Mr. President, hang tough. Hang tough.
  Mr. OBEY. I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. 
  Mr. MURTHA. Let me just say that the Revolutionary War, my great-
great-grandfather fought in it. We fought our own war. In the Civil 
War, I have my great-grandfather's hat in my office. He fought against 
the South in the Civil War. We fought our own war. What we are trying 
to do in this legislation is force the Iraqis to fight their own war. 
That's what it's all about. Sixty-two Americans have died this month. 
We want to force the Iraqis to fight their own war.

                         Parliamentary Inquiry

  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, parliamentary inquiry.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, is it true that House Rule XXI, clause 9(d) 
defines an earmark as report language included primarily at the request 
of a Member recommending a specific amount of spending authority for an 
entity or targeted to a specific State, locality, or congressional 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is correct.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, does the language in the committee report 
directing $35 million to risk mitigation project at NASA's Stennis 
facility constitute an earmark, as defined in rule XXI, clause 9(d)?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair discerns no question of order with 
respect to the statement that is included in the report. Questions 
concerning the content of that statement may be addressed by Members by 
engaging in debate.
  Mr. FLAKE. So I can understand this, if the chairman of the committee 
simply says there are no earmarks, then the Chair is obligated to say 
there are no earmarks for the purpose of the rule?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. That is not a proper parliamentary inquiry.
  Mr. FLAKE. Is it accurate to say that a Member could request an 
earmark through the chairman of the committee and have that earmark 
funded, and then the report come to the floor claiming that there are 
no earmarks in fact in the bill?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman has stated a hypothetical 
question. The Chair does not respond to such questions.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute 
to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Flake).
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, we have passed some good rules with regard to 
earmark reform and transparency, but we have found a way around them 
already, because when a report comes to the floor the rule states that 
it has to state if there is an earmark there, which Member requested 
it, and what it is for. Yet here we have something that is clearly an 
earmark for the Stennis facility and not an emergency by any 
definition. And my office actually called NASA, called the 
administration, asked was this requested. No, it wasn't; the request 
came from Congress. Clearly, an earmark request.
  Yet the report comes to the floor; and because it says there are no 
earmarks, we have to take it for the purpose of the rule that there are 
no earmarks.
  I am just wondering if this is how the appropriations cycle is going 
to go this year? Do the earmark rules mean anything? Or simply, can we 
get around them this way? What is to stop every Member from going to 
the chairman and saying, I have a request for this for my district. 
Will you simply put it in the overall request? Therefore, my name won't 
be attached to it.
  We need to clean up these rules. If the chairman of the 
Appropriations Committee would clarify this, I would be most 
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds.
  The fact is that an earmark is something that is requested by an 
individual Member. This item was not requested by any individual 
Member; it was put in the bill by me. And it is there because we are 
simply doing the same thing with this facility that we are doing 
throughout the gulf coast, which is to make investments that mitigate 
against risk because of hurricanes.

[[Page H2965]]

  This is a valuable Federal facility, and it certainly does not pass 
any definition of earmark that I know. I know the gentleman wants to 
see earmarks in every closet that he can find, but the fact is it is 
not an earmark. It was not asked for by any Members of Congress.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I can count on one hand the 
number of times I voted with this gentleman. He is on the other side of 
the aisle, but he couldn't get any time on that side. So I am pleased 
to recognize that all of us have the right to speak regardless of 
whether we agree with one or not.
  I recognize Mr. Kucinich of Ohio for 1 minute.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. I rise in 
opposition to the bill.
  Four years ago, Congress was told we had no alternative but to go to 
war. That was wrong. Now Congress is telling the American people, we 
have no alternative but to continue the war for just another year or 
two, and then we will be able to end the war. So war equals peace. I 
don't think so.
  This war now has a momentum of its own, which has captured even 
people of good will who say they want peace but are going to vote to 
keep us at war. The same false logic that trapped Members into voting 
for the war is trapping Members into voting to continue the war.
  I believe you cannot say you are for peace and vote to keep this war 
going. You cannot say you are for peace and facilitate the theft of 
Iraqi oil. You cannot say you are for peace and give the President 
money not just to keep this war going but to attack Iran if he so 
  If you want peace, vote for peace now. If you want peace, stop 
funding the war. If you want peace, stand for the truth.

                Announcement By the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair will remind visitors in the 
gallery that they are here as guests of the House, and any 
manifestation whatsoever of approval or disapproval of these 
proceedings is in violation of the rules of the House.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds. Mr. Speaker, the 
characterization just placed on the previous speaker is flat out wrong.
  Last night we had plenty of time for a lot of Members who didn't show 
up before the session expired. We called the gentleman from Ohio's 
office twice to inform him he had time available last night even though 
he was opposed to our position. He wasn't in a position to take it last 
night. So I would suggest that we have a different set of speakers 
today. We called on four Members of the caucus last night who were 
opposed to our position. And if the gentleman is suggesting that we 
have not called on Members who are opposed to our position, he is just 
flat out wrong.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. OBEY. I yield to the gentleman from Ohio.
  Mr. KUCINICH. I want the gentleman to know that my office did make an 
attempt to get me time, that we were told that he didn't think there 
was any time, and that I came down here this morning seeking the 
  Mr. OBEY. With all due respect, we called your office twice last 
night, and we were informed that you had already gone home.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Actually, I was there until very late.
  I want to thank my friend from California for yielding 1 minute and 
thank the gentleman from Wisconsin.
  Mr. OBEY. I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. 
George Miller).

                              {time}  1015

  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker and Members of the 
House, I rise in very strong support of this bill, and I want to thank 
Chairman Obey and Chairman Murtha for all of their hard work to put 
this legislation together.
  I believe it is time to bring our troops home, to come home from 
Iraq, and I believe it is time for this Congress to support this 
  As the American soldiers begin their fifth year in this war of choice 
in Iraq, we confront the tragic fact that the Bush administration's 
preparation, planning and execution of this war has not kept faith with 
the enormous sacrifices our men and women in uniform and their families 
have made.
  More than 3,200 American soldiers have died in Iraq, and close to 
25,000 more have been seriously wounded. And Iraq is mired in a civil 
war, with tens of thousands of civilians killed, or even more 
internally displaced. Hundreds of billions of taxpayers dollars have 
been squandered in this war that has left our military readiness in 
jeopardy, the All-Volunteer Army is at a breaking point, and the 
world's faith in America's leadership is gravely shaken.
  The American people recognize President Bush's approach in Iraq for 
what it is, a failure. That is why we sent a message to Washington this 
past November to change the course, to end this war, to get out of 
Iraq. That is what the American people said in November.
  Instead, this President, in all of his arrogance and all of his 
lying, chose to choose a surge.
  Well, the time is now for the Congress to do something about that 
because the American people do not support a war in Iraq, and has no 
end in sight, and continues the tragic, unnecessary loss of life. And 
given the President's unwillingness to change course, it is incumbent 
upon the Congress to act. With this bill the Democrats in Congress are 
taking a stand against the President on behalf of the soldiers in this 
country and the American people.
  The bill before the House would protect our troops on the battlefield 
and at home, and require accountability from the Bush administration 
and the Iraqi Government, and set a responsible timeline for the phased 
redeployment of U.S. troops with a date certain by September 2008 at 
the latest. We must support this legislation. And again, I thank the 
authors of this legislation.
  I rise in strong support of this bill and I encourage all of my 
colleagues who believe it is time for our troops to come home from Iraq 
to support it.
  As American soldiers begin their fifth year of this war of choice in 
Iraq, we confront the tragic fact that the Bush Administration's 
preparation, planning, and execution of this war has not kept faith 
with the enormous sacrifices our men and women in uniform and their 
families have made.
  More than 3,200 American soldiers have died in Iraq and close to 
25,000 more have been seriously injured. Iraq is mired in a civil war, 
with tens of thousands of civilians killed and even more internally 
displaced. Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars have been 
squandered in this war that has left our military readiness in 
jeopardy, the all-volunteer Army at the breaking point, and the world's 
faith in America's world leadership gravely shaken.
  The American people recognize President Bush's approach in Iraq for 
what it is--a failure. That's why they sent a message to Washington 
this past November to change course.
  Americans do not support a war in Iraq that has no end in sight and 
continues the tragic and unnecessary loss of life. Given the 
President's unwillingness to change course, it is incumbent on Congress 
to act. With this bill, Democrats in Congress are taking a stand 
against the President but on behalf of our soldiers and the American 
  The bill before the House would protect our troops on the battlefield 
and at home, require accountability from the Bush Administration and 
the Iraqi government, and set a responsible timeline for a phased 
redeployment of U.S. troops--with a date certain, by September 2008 at 
the latest, for U.S. combat troops to be redeployed from Iraq.
  Adoption of our plan is the answer to America's plea to bring this 
war to an end and turn away from the President's bottomless commitment 
to U.S. participation in the Iraqi civil war. Our plan provides a 
responsible, phased plan for requiring the Iraqis to take 
responsibility for their own future. And voting yes on this bill will 
clearly show to the American people that a majority in Congress clearly 
stand with them in their desire to bring an end to the tragic U.S. 
occupation of Iraq.
  My colleagues must understand that if they oppose the war, if they 
oppose spending more money on the war, if they oppose continuing the 
tragic loss of life in Iraq, then they must support this bill.
  The only alternative to this bill that could garner enough votes to 
pass would be a supplemental appropriations bill to fund the war with 
no accountability, no timetables, and no end. That is the reality.
  I know that the majority of the House opposes the continuation of the 
war. There are differences over strategy, on how best to achieve our 
goal on behalf of the country, on behalf of the soldiers, and on behalf 
of their families.

[[Page H2966]]

  Defeating this bill would prolong the war. Defeating this bill would 
enable the President to continue to his irresponsible and deadly 
failures. Defeating this bill would send a message to the American 
people that Congress is not listening to them.
  The President has run out of excuses for his failures in Iraq.
  The American people have correctly run out of patience waiting for 
him to change course.
  And America's soldiers have done everything asked of them and 
everything that could be expected of them.
  It is time for a new direction.
  The bill before the House provides a new direction for America. And 
it is the only bill that can take us in that direction.

                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair would remind all Members to 
refrain from engaging in personalities toward the President.

                         Parliamentary Inquiry

  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, I have a parliamentary inquiry.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, how is it in order to continue to consider 
H.R. 1591 when rule XXI, clause 9 of the House clearly states that, and 
I quote, ``it shall not be in order to consider a bill or joint 
resolution reported by a committee unless the report includes a list of 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits and limited tariff 
benefits in the bill or in the report, and the name of any Member, 
Delegate or Resident Commissioner who submitted a request to the 
committee for each respective item included in such list, or a 
statement that the proposition contains no congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits or tariff benefits''?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. No Member rose to a point of order at the 
appropriate point in time.

                             Point of Order

  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, I make a point of order.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his point of order.
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, is there a list of congressional earmarks 
with this?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman stating a point of order?
  Mr. McHENRY. Point of order. House rule XXI, clause 9 states, and if 
I shall repeat, or if the gentleman would, if the Speaker would look at 
House rule XXI, clause 9, is there not cause for action?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman's point of order is not 

                        Parliamentary Inquiries

  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, I have a parliamentary inquiry.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, at what time would it be timely for 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. It would be timely at the outset of 
consideration of the matter.
  Mr. McHENRY. Further parliamentary inquiry.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his point of 
parliamentary inquiry.
  Mr. McHENRY. Am I correct to interpret the Chair's statement to mean 
that even if an earmark is clearly present in the bill under 
consideration today, that the mere inclusion of a statement certifying 
that there are no earmarks within the provision effectively neuters the 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman has posed a hypothetical 
question. The Chair does not respond to such questions.
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, it is a fact, not a 
hypothetical. This bill contains earmarks. And the rule under the House 
is that----
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is engaging in debate and not 
stating a point of parliamentary inquiry.
  Mr. McHENRY. Further parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, it simply takes a waiver submitted by the 
chairman to make this rule, this no earmark rule, in fact, 
noneffective; is that not correct?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is reminded again he is 
engaging in debate and not stating a point of parliamentary inquiry.
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, I have a further parliamentary inquiry.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
  Mr. McHENRY. How does the Chair understand the definition term of 
``earmark'' as it relates to rule XXI, clause 9?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair does not provide advisory 
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, I have a further parliamentary inquiry.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
  Mr. McHENRY. Under the rules of the House, what is an earmark?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair does not respond to requests for 
advisory opinions.
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, I have a further parliamentary inquiry.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman shall state his point of 
parliamentary inquiry.
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, according to the definition of an earmark, 
as I interpret it, because the Chair won't provide a definition, how 
does section 2101 of the legislation before us today----
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is engaging in debate and not 
stating a point of parliamentary inquiry. The gentleman is no longer 
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Emanuel).
  Mr. EMANUEL. Mr. Speaker, today this Congress, the 110th Congress, 
faces an historic vote, a vote to truly change the direction of the 
Iraqi conflict.
  Let us review the cost America has borne in 4 years: 3,200 lives have 
been lost, 25,000 of our citizens have been injured, and nearly a half 
a trillion dollars have been spent, and America's reputation around the 
world has been sullied.
  And under the President's leadership, his Iraqi policy comes down to 
something very simple: more troops, more money, more time, more of the 
same. That is it.
  Now, there is a lot of rhetoric going around. We fund our troops. You 
fund the troops. There is one fundamental difference: We require the 
Iraqis to bear responsibility for Iraq, and you provide them and the 
President another blank check for another year. And that is the 
fundamental difference, whether you will bring accountability and 
responsibility to the Iraqis to stand up for Iraq.
  Now, some bemoan and say we are micromanaging. I would say to you, 
you rubber-stamped 4 years of mismanagement. Not enough troops, not a 
plan for the occupation and elimination of the Iraqi Army has brought 
us in from in search of WMD to policing a sectarian civil war.
  And when you talk, as the President said on January 10, that he wants 
the Iraqis to meet his benchmarks, but you don't have any benchmarks or 
any accountability for Iraq, I can only say one thing, as we say in 
Chicago, ``You're all hat and no cattle.''
  It is time, after 4 years and an unbelievable cost across America, 
borne mostly by our troops and their families and our military, that we 
ask the Iraqis to do for Iraq what they have asked us to do for them 
for 4 years, and that is to be accountable for their own future.
  And I am proud that we have finally done something. We will fund the 
troops, and we will also demand that Iraq stand up for Iraq's future 
and stop leaning on America alone.
  And we have done something that is so important that has been missing 
in this policy, and that is not only a new direction, but fundamentally 
bringing the responsibility and accountability to the Iraqis, which is 
why many in the Armed Forces are happy we are forcing Iraqis to do for 
Iraq's future what they have asked us to do, which is stop policing 
their civil war, but demand accountability, bring a new direction to 
this, because after 4 years, more troops, more money, more time is only 
rubber-stamping more of the same.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, could I request the amount of 
time on each side?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from California has 42\1/2\ 
minutes. The gentleman from Wisconsin has 40 minutes.

[[Page H2967]]

  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I recognize the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Price) for 1 minute.
  (Mr. PRICE of Georgia asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. PRICE of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, it is truly incomprehensible that 
there are those who believe that the best course of action in the face 
of a determined enemy is to tell them that we are less determined. Yet 
that is exactly what this Iraq supplemental financing bill does.
  What message do we send our brave military men and women when we 
won't guarantee them the resources and the equipment that they need 
without including a litany of restrictive and arbitrary timetables?
  What will our soldiers on the front lines of this war think when they 
hear they have been sold for salmon fisheries and spinach growers, 
money used to buy votes?
  This Iraq supplemental bill is just one more step in what has become 
a long list of unprecedented attempts by this majority to accept defeat 
at any cost.
  For those of us in Washington, we get to face this moment in the 
warmth and the comfort of our homes and offices. For so many Americans, 
they will face this moment in the harsh reality of a war zone. We must 
not forget what is at stake. Our military will not, and the American 
people will not.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks).
  (Mr. DICKS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, I want to rise to commend my colleagues, Mr. 
Obey and Mr. Murtha, for the excellent work on the supplemental 
appropriations bill that they have brought to the House floor. The 
House leadership has worked hard to put together the votes to pass this 
  This bill funds the troops. We have given them extra funds to deal 
with the critical issues of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic 
stress disorder. We need to clean up the mess at Walter Reed and the 
other hospitals around the country, including the VA hospitals. There 
is money in this bill to provide extra staff, nurses and to clean up 
these facilities.
  It is critical that we put pressure on the Iraqi Government to end 
the civil war. The Maliki government must get the message that the 
American people do not have unlimited patience. General Petraeus has 
said that we cannot end this war with only a military solution. We need 
the Iraqis to resolve the conflict amongst themselves. We need them to 
fix their Constitution, pass necessary oil legislation, and end the 
sectarian violence. The benchmarks in this bill will help them to 
accomplish these objectives.
  I hope that General Petraeus is successful in reducing the violence 
in Baghdad and the surrounding area. I hope that U.S. forces embedded 
with Iraqi forces can stop the sectarian killing. Without political 
reconciliation, we cannot stop the sectarian violence and the al Qaeda-
led terrorist attacks. We also need an economic recovery program across 
Iraq to create badly needed jobs.
  This bill sets a timetable. It puts pressure on the Maliki 
government, and I think it is the right bill at the right time to 
change our Iraq policy and to bring the troops home in a reasonable 
period of time.
  I hope we can stabilize Iraq, but we can only do it with the effort 
of the Iraqi Government and their people.

                [From the New York Times, Mar. 22, 2007]

                      Congress's Challenge on Iraq

       The House of Representatives now has a chance to lead the 
     nation toward a wiser, more responsible Iraq policy. It is 
     scheduled to vote this week on whether to impose benchmarks 
     for much-needed political progress on the Iraqi government--
     and link them to the continued presence of American combat 
     forces. The bill also seeks to lessen the intolerable strains 
     on American forces, requiring President Bush to certify that 
     units are fit for battle before sending any troops to Iraq. 
     Both of these requirements are long overdue. The House should 
     vote yes, by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin.
       It is normally the president who provides the leadership 
     for American foreign policy and decides when there needs to 
     be a change of course. But Mr. Bush stubbornly refuses to do 
     either, and the country cannot afford to wait out the rest of 
     his term. Given Mr. Bush's failure, Congress has a 
     responsibility to do all it can to use Washington's remaining 
     leverage to try to lessen the chaos that will likely follow 
     an American withdrawal--no matter when it happens--and to 
     ensure that the credibility and readiness of the United 
     States military is preserved.
       House Democrats have wisely moved beyond their earlier 
     infatuation with mere deadlines. The benchmarks spelled out 
     in this legislation, which also provides the next round of 
     money for the war, require that the Iraqi government stop 
     shielding and encouraging the Shiite militias that are 
     helping drive the killing. United States and Iraqi security 
     forces must be allowed to pursue all extremists, Shiite and 
     Sunni, disarm sectarian militias and provide ``evenhanded 
     security for all Iraqis.''
       The benchmarks also require the Iraqi government to take 
     measurable steps toward national reconciliation: equitably 
     distributing oil revenues, opening up more political and 
     economic opportunities to the Sunni minority and amending the 
     constitution to discourage further fragmentation.
       The legislation does not settle for more empty promises--
     from Mr. Bush and the Iraqis. It would require the president 
     to provide Congress, by July, with an initial detailed report 
     on Iraq's efforts to meet these benchmarks. By October, the 
     Iraqi government would have to complete a specific set of 
     legislative and constitutional steps. Failure to meet these 
     deadlines would trigger the withdrawal of all American combat 
     forces--but not those training Iraqis or fighting Al Qaeda--
     to be concluded in April 2008. If the benchmarks were met, 
     American combat forces would remain until the fall of 2008.
       The measure would also bar sending any unit to Iraq that 
     cannot be certified as fully ready. It sets a reasonable 365-
     day limit on combat tours for the Army and a shorter 210-day 
     combat tour limit for the Marines. As for how many troops can 
     remain in Iraq--until the House's deadlines for withdrawal--
     the legislation imposes no reduction on the level of roughly 
     132,000 in place at the start of this year.
       Critics will complain that the House is doing the 
     Pentagon's planning. But the Pentagon and Mr. Bush have 
     clearly failed to protect America's ground forces from the 
     ever more costly effects of extended, accelerated and 
     repeated deployments.
       If Iraq's leaders were truly committed to national 
     reconciliation and reining in their civil war, there would be 
     no need for benchmarks or deadlines. But they are not. If Mr. 
     Bush were willing to grasp Iraq's horrifying reality, he 
     would be the one imposing benchmarks, timetables and 
     readiness rules. He will not, so Congress must. American 
     troops should not be trapped in the middle of a blood bath 
     that neither Mr. Bush nor Iraq's leaders have the vision or 
     the will to halt.

                [From the New York Times, Mar. 21, 2007]

                        The Troika and the Surge

                        (By Thomas L. Friedman)

       President Bush's Iraq surge policy is about a month old 
     now, and there is only one thing you can say about it for 
     certain: no matter what anyone in Congress, the military or 
     the public has to say, it's going ahead. The president has 
     the authority to do it and the veto power to prevent anyone 
     from stopping him. Therefore, there's only one position to 
     have on the surge anymore: hope that it works.
       Does this mean that Democrats in Congress who are trying to 
     shut down the war and force a deadline should take the advice 
     of critics and shut up and let the surge play out?
       No, just the opposite. I would argue that for the first 
     time we have--by accident--the sort of balanced policy trio 
     that had we had it in place four years ago might have spared 
     us the mess of today. It's the Pelosi-Petraeus-Bush troika.
       I hope the Democrats, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, keep 
     pushing to set a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq, because 
     they are providing two patriotic services that the 
     Republicans failed to offer in the previous four years: The 
     first is policy discipline. Had Republicans spent the 
     previous four years regularly questioning Don Rumsfeld's 
     ignorant bromides and demanding that the White House account 
     for failures in Iraq, we might have had the surge in 2003--
     when it was obvious we did not have enough troops on the 
     ground--rather than in 2007, when the chances of success are 
     much diminished.
       Because the Republicans controlled the House and Senate, 
     and because many conservatives sat in mute silence the last 
     four years, the administration could too easily ignore its 
     critics and drag out policies in Iraq that were not working. 
     With the Democrats back in Congressional control, that is no 
     longer possible.
       The other useful function Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues 
     are performing is to give the president and Gen. David 
     Petraeus, our commander in Iraq, the leverage of a deadline 
     without a formal deadline. How so? The surge can't work 
     without political reconciliation among Iraqi factions, which 
     means Sunni-Shiite negotiations--and such negotiations are 
     unlikely to work without America having the ``leverage'' of 
     telling the parties that if they don't compromise, we will 
     leave. (Deadlines matter. At some point, Iraqis have to 
     figure this out themselves.)
       Since Mr. Bush refuses to set a deadline, Speaker Pelosi is 
     the next best thing. Do not underestimate how useful it is 
     for General Petraeus to be able to say to Iraqi politicians: 
     ``Look guys, Pelosi's mad as hell-- and

[[Page H2968]]

     she has a big following! I don't want to quit, but Americans 
     won't stick with this forever. I only have a few months.''
       Speaker Pelosi: Keep the heat on.
       As for General Petraeus, I have no idea whether his 
     military strategy is right, but at least he has one--and he 
     has stated that by ``late summer'' we should know if it's 
     working. As General Petraeus told the BBC last week, ``I have 
     an obligation to the young men and women in uniform out here, 
     that if I think it's not going to happen, to tell them that 
     it's not going to happen, and there needs to be a change.''
       We need to root for General Petraeus to succeed, and hold 
     him to those words if he doesn't--not only for the sake of 
     the soldiers on the ground, but also so that Mr. Bush is not 
     allowed to drag the war out until the end of his term, and 
     then leave it for his successor to unwind.
       But how will General Petraeus or Congress judge if the 
     surge is working? It may be obvious, but it may not be. It 
     will likely require looking beneath the surface calm of any 
     Iraqi neighborhood--where violence has been smothered by the 
     surge of U.S. troops--and trying to figure out: what will 
     happen here when those U.S. troops leave? Remember, enough 
     U.S. troops can quiet any neighborhood for a while. The real 
     test is whether a self-sustaining Iraqi army and political 
     consensus are being put in place that can hold after we 
       It will also likely require asking: Are the Shiite 
     neighborhoods quieting down as a result of reconciliation or 
     because their forces are just lying low so the U.S. will 
     focus on whacking the Sunnis--in effect, carrying out the 
     civil war on the Shiites' behalf, so that when we leave they 
     can dominate more easily?
       When you're sitting on a volcano, it is never easy to tell 
     exactly what is happening underneath--or what will happen if 
     you move. But those are the judgments we may soon have to 
     make. In the meantime, since Bush is going to be Bush, let 
     Pelosi be Pelosi and Petraeus be Petraeus--and hope for the 
     best. For now, we don't have much choice.

  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/4\ minute to the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Neugebauer).
  (Mr. NEUGEBAUER asked and was given permission to revise and extend 
his remarks.)
  Mr. NEUGEBAUER. Mr. Speaker, I hope today, as we take this vote, that 
people will understand really what is at stake here.
  I have heard a lot of discussion today, and some Members are going to 
go back home and say, well, I voted for this bill and against the 
troops because I brought home some things for the people in my 
  But today this vote is not about bringing home bacon for the people 
in your district. It is about American security.
  My family was in New York on 9/11, and my daughter-in-law and her 
mother were supposed to be at the World Trade Center on 9/11. So when I 
take this vote this afternoon or at noon, whenever we have this, let me 
tell you the reason why Randy Neugebauer is going to be voting ``no.'' 
Because I am looking forward, not at what we are doing today and what 
is going to, who is going to be able to take what projects home, but I 
am looking forward to the security of America. I am looking into the 
eyes of my grandsons Nathan and Noah and saying, Nathan and Noah, I 
didn't leave America safe and secure for you.
  This is about security. 9/11 is a real event. America was attacked. 
We have been attacked before. We know this enemy is going to come back 
and attack us again.
  This bill, this vote, is about keeping America safe. So when Members 
go home and brag about their vote on this, I hope that they go home and 
brag about the fact that they cast a vote that will ensure a safe and 
secure America because, you see, if you take all of these projects 
home, and there is no security in America, there is no America.
  I urge my colleagues not to vote for this bill.
  I rise today in strong support of our troops and their mission in 
  Ten days ago, I returned from my third trip to Iraq. From the 
generals to the privates, the message I heard from our troops in Iraq 
was ``let us do our job so we can win.'' And that is precisely what we 
should be doing here today.
  Today, we should be working to provide our military with the tools 
and resources needed to attain victory . . .
  Today, we should be showing our troops that we are behind them 100 
percent . . . And today, we should be showing the world that America 
has the resolve to stand up to terrorist threats even when the going 
gets tough.
  Instead, this ill-advised legislation does just the opposite. By 
putting restrictions on our military commanders and the President . . . 
and setting a firm timeline and final date for withdrawal, this bill 
undermines the war effort, sends the wrong message to our troops, and 
telegraphs our war strategy to the enemy.
  Our Constitution is clear in that it places the responsibility for 
conducting the war in the hands of a single Commander-in-Chief, not 
Congress. Our Founding Fathers wisely understood that having 535 
politicians in Washington attempt to micromanage a war is a recipe for 
  I am further disappointed that the majority has jeopardized the 
success of the drought relief package for farmers and ranchers.
  I strongly support drought relief and have been calling for federal 
assistance since last summer. However, as much as I know producers in 
my district support disaster assistance, I cannot in good conscience 
support this supplemental because of the flawed military strategy that 
the majority is pursuing in this bill.

                              {time}  1030

  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the distinguished 
gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey), the subcommittee Chair on 
Foreign Operations.
  Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1591 and 
commend Chairman Obey, Chairman Murtha, and our Speaker for putting 
together a bill that protects our troops, responds to the will of the 
American people, and preserves our Nation's interests.
  Our men and women in uniform have served with honor and courage, but 
we are not doing our part. Our Armed Forces are not battle-ready, nor 
is their mission clear and achievable. There is no definition of 
victory. The nature of the battle has changed, and our troops now find 
themselves policing a bloody civil war. It is well past time to set 
clear parameters for this war.
  Since the beginning, this war and reconstruction efforts have been 
ill-managed. Just yesterday the Iraq IG reported yet again on how 
unprepared the administration was for the task of reconstruction. The 
Defense Department had no strategy for restoring government 
institutions, establishing security, or rebuilding infrastructure, and 
the State Department was cut completely out of the work.
  There continues to be a lack of coordination and strategy to achieve 
our objectives. Putting billions of dollars more into this war without 
any parameters and risking the lives of more of our brave men and women 
is not only foolish; it is immoral. As the New York Times editorial 
noted on Thursday, if the President won't step up to the task of 
setting benchmarks and ensuring the safety of our troops, then it falls 
to us, this Congress.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill does just that. We are stepping up to our 
responsibilities. This legislation does not micromanage the war, as 
many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle claim. It is a 
very carefully considered approach to bringing accountability to the 
execution of the war and to the reconstruction efforts. Moreover, it 
sets a date certain for the end of this war so we can bring our troops 
  No amount of American blood or treasure can help Iraq if the Iraqis 
don't help themselves. The Maliki government must exhibit the political 
will to confront extremists on both sides of the Sunni-Shia divide, to 
give all segments of society a stake in Iraq's future, and to put Iraqi 
revenues towards the hard task of reconstruction. Congress didn't pull 
these benchmarks from the air. They were put forth by the Iraqis and by 
President Bush in his January 10 speech.
  Mr. Speaker, we are already into the fifth year of this war. The bill 
provides the funding the President requested, but it does not do so 
unconditionally. This bill sets benchmarks, provides a date certain for 
  The days of open-ended commitment and unilateral check-writing 
privileges are over. This bill deals with Iraq responsibly, and I urge 
my colleagues to support it.

                         Parliamentary Inquiry

  Mr. McHENRY. Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, is a point of order in order against page 
87, the subsection appropriating $35 million to NASA, which I believe 
to be an earmark?

[[Page H2969]]

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time for making a point of order on this 
issue has passed. The Chair does not provide advisory opinions.

                             Point of Order

  Mr. McHENRY. Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his point of order.
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, according to the definition of an earmark 
under rule XXI, clause 9, the section 3103 of this legislation which 
appropriates $35 million to spinach growers, does this not qualify as 
an earmark under rule XXI, clause 9?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman has not stated a point of 

                         Parliamentary Inquiry

  Mr. McHENRY. Further parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, according to the definition of an earmark 
under rule XXI, clause 9, which the Chair recognizes from the House 
rules, how does section 3104, which appropriates $20 million to a 
particular agricultural interest in a particular district, not qualify 
as an earmark?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman has not stated a parliamentary 
inquiry. The gentleman may engage in debate on that subject if yielded 
to, but the Chair will not recognize a Member for debate under the 
guise of a parliamentary inquiry.
  The gentleman is no longer recognized.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished 
gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Cohen).
  Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, on Monday I spoke on this floor about a 
conflict I had in supporting this measure because I want peace in our 
world and I want our troops to come home. I asked for my constituents 
to let me know how they felt.
  Hundreds of people responded with e-mails and phone calls, and I 
appreciate each of them. They want us to support our troops. They want 
to bring our troops home from Iraq, and they want to take care of our 
  The most effective way to accomplish those things is to vote for this 
bill. This will be the first step in ending the war in Iraq, taking 
care of our veterans, but at the same time, supporting our troops.
  I am proud to be a Member of this Congress and to vote ``aye'' today 
on this bill.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished 
chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Skelton.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, first let me compliment my friend from 
Wisconsin (Mr. Obey), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee; and 
the subcommittee chairman, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. 
Murtha), for the excellent work that they have done. And we thank our 
minority for working with us on this bill.
  The purpose of the Members of Congress front and center is to provide 
for the common defense of our country. I must tell you how concerned 
and worried I am about the readiness and state of readiness of the 
United States Army based upon testimony and briefings that we have had 
within the Armed Services Committee.
  Readiness is based upon equipment and based upon people able to do 
their job as defenders in uniform. This is a serious situation in which 
we find ourselves. This bill is a major step toward helping our 
  It is our job not just to appropriate money for today's concerns, 
whether it be in the Middle East or elsewhere. It is our job to make 
sure that those in uniform can protect the interests of America in the 
days and years ahead.
  In the last 30 years, we have had 12 military conflicts in which our 
military associates have been involved. What does the future hold? We 
don't know. But as sure as God made little green apples, there will be 
threats that we need to deter or challenges that we need to fight in 
the days and years ahead. We must have a ready force in all services 
and my deep concern for the United States Army causes that to come into 
question in our capability.
  In this we provide money for the real war in Afghanistan, the 
Strategic Reserve Fund, which supports training, not just operations 
but repair of equipment, purchase of equipment, and expenses to improve 
the readiness of the nondeployed military forces.
  I am deeply concerned about the readiness of our forces in the days 
and years ahead. This bill will help immeasurably in that first step 
toward restoring readiness for our United States Army. And this is no 
small thing. A vote against this is a vote against those uncertainties 
of the future as well as where we are today involved in conflict.
  Military health care is very important, and we look at that in this 
bill solidly. Veterans' health care, military housing allowances. We do 
so many good things in this bill for our military.
  Let us not let the readiness of our United States Army suffer as a 
result of not passing this all-important legislation.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2\1/2\ 
minutes to the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, the 
gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. McCrery).
  Mr. McCRERY. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Lewis for yielding me this 
  In my almost 19 years in the United States House of Representatives, 
I have cast many difficult votes. And I have often spoken to groups of 
constituents over the years, and in the course of their asking me 
questions, inevitably one of the questions will be, What is the most 
difficult vote you have taken as a Member of the House?
  And I am always quick to respond, even though there have been many 
difficult votes, clearly the most difficult vote I have had to make as 
a Member of the House is to vote to send our troops into war.
  And certainly the vote that this House made to authorize the 
President to send our troops to Iraq this most recent time was a very 
difficult vote for all of us. Some of us, it seems, have changed our 
minds and wish we hadn't cast that vote. But the fact is we did cast 
that vote. We voted in the majority to start this war.
  I believe, based on my reading of history, my studies of past 
engagements, military engagements, it would be a tremendous mistake for 
the Congress of the United States to attempt to micromanage this war 
and bring it to a conclusion through artificially constraining 
decisions on the battlefield.
  I have spoken face to face with the President of the United States 
about this war. I know he is trying his best to bring this war to a 
conclusion. He is trying his best to make sure that the interests of 
the United States, as well as the interests of the people of Iraq, are 
served as he plans strategy and works with our military leaders to plot 
the best course for ending this war and preserving and serving the 
interests of the United States.
  He has a new strategy in play. It seems to be working. We are getting 
favorable reports from the commanders in the field.
  Let us give this Commander in Chief and his military leaders a chance 
to serve this country, to serve Iraq, and end this in the best possible 
way for the United States. Let us not try to micromanage from the 
Congress, with 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate, telling our 
leaders how to conduct this war and when to end it. That is the wrong 
course of action for this country.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from California has quite a bit 
more time remaining. I suggest he run some off the clock.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, may we hear what the time left 
is on both sides, please.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from California has 38 
minutes, and the gentleman from Wisconsin has 31\1/2\ minutes.

                              {time}  1045

  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. McHenry).
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from California.
  Mr. Speaker, we have an interesting bill before us here today. It 
appropriates $100 million for shrimp, it appropriates $100 million for 
citrus growers, it appropriates $74 million for a particular type of 
peanut storage and

[[Page H2970]]

$25 million for spinach. It even appropriates $50 million for a Capitol 
Hill power plant. And they do this in the name of funding the troops. I 
think this is, again, Washington hypocrisy at work.
  The most egregious part of this bill, I find, is that there are 
billions of dollars in this bill for livestock, which the American 
people, Mr. Speaker, should know is literally pork for pork.
  And it is all about getting votes together to fund the troops in 
harm's way, but instead of funding the troops in harm's way, they are 
funding pork-barrel projects here in the United States.
  I believe, Mr. Speaker, this is wrong for our troops in battle, but 
it is a great gift for Washington Democrat politicians who are in power 
here in the House today.
  This is a failure to understand what ``emergency'' means, what 
``war'' means and the fight we have going in Iraq.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 5 minutes 
to the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Blunt).
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and for 
his hard work on this and other work that we do here.
  I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the debate on this emergency spending 
bill has provided the service of reminding Americans exactly what is at 
stake in Iraq, the prospects of victory, the consequences of defeat, 
and a better appreciation of how it is we do everything we possibly can 
to secure and support our men and women in harm's way.
  House Republicans, Mr. Speaker, asked the Speaker and her colleagues 
on the Appropriations Committee to produce a clean and straightforward 
supplemental emergency bill, a package worthy of our troops' hard work 
and dedication, with help we could deploy to the front lines as quickly 
as possible.
  What we got instead was a poorly assembled wish-list of nonemergency 
spending requests wrapped in a date-certain declaration of defeat, a 
confirmation to our enemies that if they hang on just a bit longer, we 
will be out of their way soon.
  I happen to believe the stakes in Iraq are too high and the 
sacrifices made by our military personnel and their families too great 
to be content with anything but success. But the bill brought before us 
today isn't written with victory in mind. Its prevailing tone is one of 
defeat, and its abiding premise is that America's mission in Iraq is 
over and our troops' continued status there is without merit. And just 
to drive the point home, it forces on General Petraeus and his 
commanders on the ground constant status and reporting requirements, 
designed not only to undermine their basic operational authority, but 
to hasten a withdrawal of troop support from the region.
  When the leaders of the majority were offered the opportunity for a 
secure briefing from General Petraeus a few days ago, they said no. 
When the majority was offered a briefing from Secretary Gates, 
Secretary Rice and Secretary Pace in the last few days, they said no 
  Does anyone think that demoting our best generals to administrative 
assistants represents our best chance of achieving our goals in this 
region? Does anyone believe our commanders in the field have been given 
too much authority and too much flexibility to get the job done?
  Ultimate victory in Iraq is a proposition that is far from 
guaranteed, Mr. Speaker, but ultimate failure in Iraq is, if this 
attempt to co-opt the essential command-and-control responsibilities of 
our commanders in the field ever actually becomes law.
  Mr. Speaker, this emergency supplemental includes billions of dollars 
in nonemergency spending, offered as an excuse to vote for a bill that 
guarantees our defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  I urge a ``no'' vote on this bill and ask my colleagues to join me in 
sending a message of strength and resolve to our friends and our 
enemies and, most importantly, to our troops in the field.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Price).
  (Mr. PRICE of North Carolina asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend his remarks.)
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this 
bill as chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, 
advocating for the bill's acceleration of programs critical to the 
integrity of our borders and the safety of the American people. These 
are carefully crafted, legitimate emergency security measures, and 
there is no good reason to wait further to make this country more 
  Today, however, I want to address the broader bill, speaking 
colleague to colleague, mindful and respectful of the struggles with 
conscience so evident among us in recent days.
  I did not support originally giving the authority to the President to 
wage war in Iraq. I have introduced legislation calling for an end to 
that authorization. But I understand there is a wide range of opinion 
on where we should go from here, and there are many who believe that 
this bill, which takes a major step towards changing our course in 
Iraq, either goes too far or not far enough.
  Our discussions on this issue have brought to mind lessons from my 
days in divinity school and as a teacher of ethics, lessons I believe 
are helpful in sorting out what it means and should mean to follow 
one's conscience on a matter such as this.
  On the first day of Ethics 101, we learn that we often face two kinds 
of moral choice in life. One has to do with the morality of an act 
itself, which is what many colleagues are referring to when they say 
they are ``voting their conscience'' on what we know is an imperfect 
  The second kind of moral choice requires us to consider the 
consequences of our acts. That is also an exercise of conscience, 
perhaps an even more demanding one.
  Think about the consequences. What if the consequence of voting 
``no'' is to let slip away the best chance we may have for a long time 
to compel a change of course in Iraq? What if a consequence is the 
further crippling of this House's influence in this country's foreign 
and defense policy? What if the consequence of a ``no'' vote is to 
allow the President to continue on the same failed policy course? Are 
those not matters of conscience?
  Some talk as though we should simply square the contents of this bill 
against an ideal and vote accordingly. No, I am afraid moral choice and 
our obligations as public servants run deeper than that.
  Please, don't sell short a vote in favor of this bill as though it 
were a mere practical or political accommodation. By all means, treat 
this vote as an act of conscience, but an act based on a searching 
consideration of the full range of consequences that may result.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Hobson), a member of the Defense Subcommittee.
  Mr. HOBSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 1591, the 
Fiscal Year 2007 U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq 
Accountability Supplemental Appropriations Act, because, in my opinion, 
it sends the wrong message to our troops, our allies and the Iraqi 
people, who really want to take care of and control of their own 
  In my opinion, this bill will tie the hands of the commanders in the 
field by micromanaging from Washington the military decisions that 
those commanders ought to be making on the ground. Further, by setting 
a date-certain timeline requirement for withdrawing our troops, in my 
opinion it will endanger U.S. personnel and give our enemies a date to 
wait us out.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill not only sends the wrong message to our troops 
about their efforts to bring stability to Iraq, it sends the wrong one 
to our allies throughout the world. In my opinion, it says that if you 
bloody us enough, we are going to walk away.
  If we walk away, our credibility is gone in the world. We will be 
abandoning the thousands of Iraqis who risked their lives and voted for 
freedom, and risk bringing dishonor to the men and women who have 
fought and died in this war.
  One thing that strikes me about the debate of this bill and the 
recent one on H. Res. 63, the Iraqi war resolution, is that there is 
little or no discussion on what the Iraqis are willing to do to bring 
themselves closer to taking control of their own country.

[[Page H2971]]

  Earlier this year I went on a bipartisan congressional delegation 
trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. While we met with U.S. troops 
and commanders, we also had a chance to meet with the leaders of those 
countries, including Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki. He told us if his 
country had the command and control, equipment and our backing, the 
Iraqis could begin to take over their own security in 3 to 6 months and 
that we could be able to redeploy 50,000 U.S. troops at that time.
  Mr. Speaker, we need to make sure that President Maliki has the tools 
and resources to be successful. For those who are looking for a timely 
withdrawal of troops, why shouldn't we be focusing on giving him and 
his plan a chance, rather than setting arbitrary withdrawal deadlines? 
The quicker that the Iraqi people take control of their country, the 
quicker U.S. troops can begin to withdraw with dignity. This bill, I 
don't believe, moves us further in that direction.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to send our own message to the 
leadership of this body that our troops and commanders in the field 
deserve a bill that will support them in their efforts to bring 
stability to Iraq.
  Finally, I am troubled by the way the new majority has restricted the 
debate, for even while we are encouraging the Iraqi people and their 
leaders to become more democratic, the House of Representatives, in my 
opinion, is moving in the opposite direction.
  During the last elections, much was made about maintaining a fair and 
open process in the people's House, and I shared that. Frankly, I don't 
think we did when we were in the majority enough on that. This bill, 
however, is back to even worse than that because it is being considered 
under conditions that are neither fair nor open. Specifically, no 
amendments are allowed, and no alternatives can be considered on this 
most important bill.
  Mr. Speaker, a bill with such historical importance needs to have 
open and fair debate. That is the way this type of bill has always been 
considered, I thought, before. That is what the American people were 
promised last fall. I, frankly, deeply regret that this is not now 
occurring today.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Murtha), the chairman of the 
Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  (Mr. MURTHA asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. MURTHA. Mr. Speaker, I keep hearing people say that we have got 
to give this a chance. For 4 years we have given this a chance. For 4 
years we have had our troops overseas.
  Here is the problem that we face. Every time that we give them a 
chance, they disappear. For instance, they said that the Iraqis are 
going to lead this surge. Let me tell you, 50 percent of the Iraqis in 
the units aren't showing up. So the Americans have to take over. We 
have to pay the bill.
  The Europeans, this is just as important to the Europeans as it is to 
us, and the Europeans benefit from the oil that comes from Iraq, yet 
they are not really participating to any significant amount, versus the 
first war where they participated significantly. George Bush I got a 
coalition together.
  The problem we have with what is going on, this is not General 
Petraeus' war, this is the administration's war. This administration 
has put us in a position where the military has to actually violate 
their own guidelines in order to get troops to Iraq.
  I knew over an a year ago we didn't have the numbers of troops we 
needed to sustain this deployment, and the surge makes it worse. The 
worst thing we can do is send troops, and if you vote against this, you 
are going to vote for sending troops into war without being fully 
mission-capable, without the training and equipment they need, and that 
is absolutely unacceptable.
  I note to the Congress and I note to the people sitting on that side 
who worked so hard to fund the military, we put $70 billion in last 
time that the administration did not even ask for.
  We have 36,000 additional troops in here for the overall picture. So 
if you vote against this, you are voting against those 36,000 troops, 
for the total number of troops that need to be not deployed, but need 
to be available to be deployed.
  Our reserves are in desperate shape. Our Strategic Reserve, when we 
started this war with C-1, they are now in the lowest state of 
readiness. They couldn't be deployed. Only two divisions would be 
deployed. So we have a lot of work to do.
  And I say to the Members, you are voting against supporting the 
troops if you vote against the money that goes to the troops and the 
money that has already been sent or is going to be sent. They are going 
to run out in April, and we need to get this bill through.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge the Members on both sides of the aisle to vote 
for this legislation.

                              {time}  1100

  Mr. LEWIS OF California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Barrett).
  Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I don't know what to say. I will say this, H.R. 1591, when it comes 
up in 1 hour or 45 minutes, I'm going to vote against it. But I want to 
say two things to two groups out there. Number one, to the American 
people, I want to say, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I can't stop runaway 
fiscal spending. I can't stop a House that is out of control. I'm sorry 
for that. But more importantly, I want to say I'm sorry to my soldiers, 
because I cannot do enough to protect you.
  Men and women halfway across this world laying their life on the line 
for me and my family and my children and my country and everything I 
believe in, I can't do enough to help you, and I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
  I will fight today, I will fight tomorrow, I will fight every day I 
am a United States Congressman for my soldiers and my people and my 
country. I will not give up. All I ask is don't give up on them; don't 
give up on me; and don't give up on us.
  Mr. OBEY. I yield 1 minute to the distinguished majority leader, Mr. 
  Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I share the previous speaker's sorrow. I'm sorry that the policies 
pursued by this administration have not done what he wanted to do, 
support our troops. We sent too few, we equipped them too little, and 
we have left them too long and trained them for too short a time. Yes, 
I'm sorry.
  The American public expects us, the Congress of the United States, to 
do something, not simply to say yes to failed policies, but to, on 
their behalf, speak out and try to take us in a new direction.
  Mr. Speaker, there is not a Member of this body on either side of the 
aisle who does not pray for our success in Iraq and who does not pray 
for the safe return of our brave service men and women. However, after 
the loss of more than 3,200 American soldiers and more than 24,000 
injured and after the expenditure of more than $400 billion on a war 
now entering its fifth year that Secretary Rumsfeld told us would take 
just a few months. With open arms and cheering in the streets, this war 
would be over and the mission would have been accomplished almost 4 
years ago, said the President of the United States, who now asks us to 
rubber-stamp, no strings attached. Do it, as Mr. Putnam said, before 
supper. That is not what the American public expects of us. They expect 
better. They expect a new direction. They expect us to think, not 
simply say, amen, Mr. President.
  The Defense Department says: ``Some elements of the situation in Iraq 
are properly described as a civil war.'' None of us who voted for the 
original authorization voted to put our troops in the middle of a civil 
war, not one of us.
  The Iraq Government has failed to meet political goals. It is our 
responsibility to ask them to do so because we want to support our 
troops. And if the Iraqis do not meet their responsibilities, our 
troops will not be supported. A National Intelligence Estimate 
concludes that this war is increasing, this is the National 
Intelligence Estimate, increasing the global war on terror. The Army 
Chief of Staff has issued strong warnings about the effect of the war 
on America's overall military readiness. Mr. Murtha has talked about 
that for at least the last 2 years.
  My friend, the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, with 
whom I served for a quarter of a century on that committee, he must 

[[Page H2972]]

the concern about military readiness that all of us share and know that 
we are eroding our military readiness every day. Thus, the question 
before the Members today is this: Will we change direction in Iraq, or 
will we continue to stay the course with a failing policy?
  Mr. Speaker, I believe the answer is clear. It is long past time that 
this Congress assert itself and assist on accountability and a new 
direction in Iraq. More blank checks from this Congress would 
constitute an abdication of our responsibility and our duty. Four years 
of abdication is enough. It is time, my fellow Members, for Congress to 
assert its support of our troops by adopting policies that will keep 
them safe and enhance their success.
  This legislation, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and 
Iraq Accountability Act, will protect our troops, requiring deployments 
to adhere to existing Defense Department standards, not our standards, 
Defense Department standards, standards for training, equipment and 
armor, while allowing the President to waive these standards, which are 
his own, the administration's standards, if he believes it necessary. 
That is the right thing for us to do.
  The bill also holds the Iraqi Government accountable, measuring its 
performance by the standards President Bush outlined in his January 10 
speech, not our standards for Iraq, but the benchmarks that the 
President of the United States has set. But if they are only rhetorical 
benchmarks with nothing behind them to require that action, then we are 
wasting our time in supporting our troops because that will not do it.
  The bill provides a responsible strategy for a phased redeployment of 
U.S. forces and refocusing our efforts on fighting al Qaeda. That is 
who attacked us, not the Sunni or Shia, but al Qaeda.
  Some claim that this legislation will micromanage the war. That 
assertion is absolutely false and without ground. Our Commander in 
Chief, General Petraeus and our military commanders on the ground will 
retain all the flexibility they need to succeed. This legislation in no 
way undercuts their discretion on the ground. The only strings attached 
concerning troop readiness and the Iraq Government's progress have been 
endorsed by President Bush. Others assert that inclusion of a timeline 
for responsible redeployment is tantamount to capitulation. Mr. Hobson 
spoke on this floor just a few minutes ago. He voted to set a time line 
in Bosnia. Mr. Lewis sits as the ranking member of this committee; he 
voted on June 24, 1997, to set a timeline. Mr. Hastert, Speaker of the 
House, set a timeline. Mr. Delay voted for a timeline. Mr. Blunt voted 
for a timeline. Mr. Boehner voted for a timeline.
  Every one of them voted for a timeline, and what were the 
circumstances? We hadn't lost a single troop, not one. We had spent $7 
billion, not $379 billion. We had brought genocide to a stop, ethnic 
cleansing to a stop, and we were not losing people and we had a stable 
environment, yet they voted for a timeline.
  Here, Secretary Gates says in testimony at his confirmation hearing: 
``We are not winning.'' If that is the case, it is time for us to have 
a new strategy, a new direction, a new paradigm, if you will. That is 
what this bill does.
  Mr. Boehner said just a few weeks ago, in terms of timelines, he 
said, ``I think it will be rather clear in the next 60 to 90 days as to 
whether this plan, the current escalation, is going to work.'' ``We 
need to know,'' Mr. Boehner said, ``as we are moving through these 
benchmarks that the Iraqis are doing what they have to do.'' Nothing in 
this bill will undermine that 60- or 90-day expectation that the 
minority leader, the Republican leader, has articulated. Under this 
legislation, if the Iraqis meet their benchmarks for progress, the 
redeployment of American forces will not begin until a year from now. 
This is not any precipitous withdrawal. And, indeed, if there is total 
success, it will be more than a year from now.

  Finally, let me point out, as I have said earlier, that timelines 
were supported in July of 1997, 220-2. Only two Republicans voted 
against setting a timeline. I voted against that timeline. And I said 
``at this time.'' Why did I say that? Because we were succeeding. We 
were not losing troops. We had stopped genocide. We had stopped ethnic 
cleansing. We had a stable government in Serbia. We were winning and 
our strategy was succeeding. And under those circumstances, I thought 
timelines were not appropriate. But there is not a military general I 
have talked to who has said that we are succeeding. Today, this very 
day, the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq lies deeply wounded, life at 
risk. If a Member of Congress goes to Baghdad, they will not drive you 
from the airport to the Green Zone. Why? Because they do not believe it 
is safe, almost 50 months after we started this operation.
  My friends, it is time for a new direction. I urge my colleagues on 
both sides of the aisle support the troops, represent America, 
represent your people who want to win but do not want to leave our 
troops in the middle of a civil war. Support this well-thought-out 
crafted piece of legislation, which in no way undermines the ability of 
our troops to manage this war, but says to them, we will expect the 
Iraqis to perform and we will give you a time frame in which the world 
will know that they must themselves take responsibility.
  Mr. LEWIS OF California. Mr. Speaker, I recognize my colleague from 
California (Mr. Royce) for 2 minutes.
  Mr. ROYCE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, as The Washington Post says today: ``Altogether, the 
House Democratic leadership has come up with more than $20 billion of 
new spending, much of it wasted subsidies. And it makes us wonder how 
$74 million to extend peanut storage payments or $250 million for MILC 
subsidies will aid our troops.''
  Perhaps my colleagues believe that these agricultural subsidies are 
necessary, but I don't see how they are going to help us defeat 
Islamist terrorists. Is this really what General Petraeus needs? Is 
this what he asked for? No, it is not. And it is bad policy to start, 
and it is worse by mixing it without backing of our forces in the 
  It is not just the language that gives us pause here. If it is our 
mission to win in Iraq, then we should not be making it more difficult 
for our troops to succeed. Cutting off funding and micromanaging a war 
does that, according to our commanders in the field. And as The Post 
adds: ``The bill excludes the judgment of General Petraeus, excludes 
the judgment of the U.S. commanders who would have to execute the 
retreat that the bill mandates.''
  And as The Post goes on to say: ``Democrats should not seek to use 
pork to buy a majority for an unconditional retreat that the majority 
does not support.''

                              {time}  1115

  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from the Virgin 
Islands (Mrs. Christensen) for a unanimous consent request.
  (Mrs. CHRISTENSEN asked and was given permission to revise and extend 
her remarks.)
  Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1591. 
It will bring our troops home, take care of our veterans, and begin to 
address critical needs here at home.
  I applaud the leadership of the House--our Democratic leadership 
team--for bringing this important and far reaching bill before us 
  I, like many of my colleagues, would have preferred to have a bill 
before us that would get our troops out of Iraq tomorrow, or even in 3 
months. I most certainly would like not to have to send the 100 members 
of the V.I. National Guard out to Iraq next month. But that is not 
doable, it is not realistic.
  What is realistic is setting some benchmarks--actually the 
president's benchmarks as goals and legally holding him to them, while 
planning for the complete re-deployment by summer of next year!
  More than that though, it provides what the soldiers and their 
families have been crying for, for the past 5 years. Equipment, 
training, protective gear and armor and all that adds up to troop 
readiness. It is negligent to send our men and women into the middle of 
a civil war where they become targets without the proper preparation 
and equipment.
  H.R. 1591 sets guidelines for length of deployment, and it does 
something that I think will go a long way to reducing the violence 
against our troops, and that is it establishes that there will be no 
permanent bases in Iraq. It further restores our values and principles 
in combat by prohibiting torture.

[[Page H2973]]

  More funding is also channeled to Afghanistan where the war needs to 
be brought back on track and we need to make up lost ground in the real 
war on terrorism.
  But this bill goes further. For all these 5 long years we have also 
complained that funds needed here at home were not only being spent but 
wasted in Iraq--there is still over 9 billion that is unaccounted for 
and we are losing.
  Well what we do in H.R. 1591 is begin to take better care of our 
soldiers when they return home. The stories about conditions at Walter 
Reed, and of persons in need of mental health care being turned away 
are not only heartbreaking, they border on criminal.
  And we also begin to take care of some long overdue issues here at 
  Agriculture disaster assistance, State Children's Health insurance 
payments for rural schools, better homeland security preparedness, 
improving oversight and accountability and finally doing what we ought 
to have done 2 years ago for the victims we left behind in Katrina, 
Rita and Wilma.
  And we help some countries with whom we have close ties and who need 
our help--Jordan, Afghanistan, Liberia and several other African 
  This bill sends funding to our defense needs on the two major fronts 
at which our troops need us, takes care of critical needs at home, and 
begins to rebuild our reputation for leadership and our moral authority 
in the world.
  I support it, the people of the Virgin Islands support it, and I urge 
my colleagues to support and pass H.R. 1591.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Georgia 
(Mr. Scott).
  Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, so much has been said, and I think 
we are very clear on the purpose of this bill and the importance of it 
as far as the war in Iraq is concerned.
  But there is another aspect to this bill. There are literally 2 
million children who are without health care. I want to at this point 
recognize and give due thanks and appreciation to Congressman John 
Murtha. No State has suffered because of the CHIP program as the 
children of Georgia's 273,000 children who would be without their 
health insurance if it were not for this war supplemental.
  When the issue was taken to the White House, he said no. All hope was 
gone. I went to John Murtha, and John Murtha said, we will help you, 
and we will attach it to the Iraqi war supplemental. And he took it to 
Mr. Obey and to the Speaker.
  Ladies and gentlemen, I make this plea to you, as the Scripture says 
clearly, suffer not the little children. This is the only hope for 
getting our insurance for our children in the SCHIP program. I urge you 
to not let the children of the United States of America go down the 
drain. Vote for the children of this Nation and for this bill.
  Thank you, Mr. Murtha.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Franks).
  Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Speaker, before we vote on this bill, we 
need to remind ourselves one more time, the jihadist terrorism is what 
this debate is all about.
  Brink Lindsey put it in such succinct terms when he said, ``Here is 
the grim truth: We are only one act of madness away from a social 
cataclysm unlike anything our country has ever known. After a handful 
of such acts, who knows what kind of civilization breakdown might be in 
  Mr. Speaker, as we anticipate future actions of jihadists and our 
place in Iraq, we would do well to consider their words very carefully. 
Al Qaeda's al-Zawahiri said this: ``The jihad movement is growing and 
rising. It reached its peak with the two blessed raids on New York and 
Washington. And now it is waging a great heroic battle in Iraq, 
Afghanistan, Palestine, and even within the crusaders' own homes.''
  Osama bin Laden himself said: ``The most important and serious issue 
today for the whole world is this third world war. It is raging in the 
land of the two rivers,'' Iraq. ``The world's millstone and pillar is 
in Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate.''
  Mr. Speaker, if Democrats are correct that the struggle in Iraq is 
not crucial to winning the war against jihadism, then for God's sake, I 
wish they would explain that to the terrorists. Instead, we hear the 
most senior Democrat in this House quoted as saying, ``I don't take 
sides for or against Hezbollah, or for or against Israel.''
  Mr. Speaker, a blind relativism that deliberatively ignores all truth 
and equates merciless terrorism with free nations defending themselves 
and their innocent citizens is more dangerous to humanity than 
terrorism itself, and it is proof that liberals completely 
misunderstand the enemy that we face.
  Because of this kind of relativist neutrality, jihadists now believe 
they have a crucial advantage over the free world and its people. They 
believe their will is far stronger than ours, and that they need only 
to persevere to prevail.
  Mr. Speaker, the passage of this bill will only encourage them in 
that belief. And if liberals in this body are willing to see freedom 
defeated in Iraq, they must also be willing to take responsibility for 
almost certainly what will follow.
  Mr. Speaker, finally, we can have peace with jihadists tomorrow if we 
are willing to surrender today. And that kind of surrender will be on 
their terms, and it will ultimately bring a nuclear jihad to our 
children. Future American generations will despise this one.
  Mr. Speaker, there is still time to defeat this bill. Let us not take 
this ominous step in this direction.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 4 minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, I understand that at the end of the debate the closing 
speech on the Republican side will be given by our good friend from 
Texas Mr. Johnson. I think everyone in this place respects him and 
loves him.
  I must say that having gone through this for the last 3 weeks trying 
to talk to each and every person who I could reach about this measure 
has given me a profound respect for a good many Members of this 
institution whom I had not known before, especially the newcomers.
  The caucus that we had this morning was one of the most moving 
experiences that I have ever felt in my 38 years in the Congress. I 
heard Member after Member stand up and discuss this issue as a matter 
of high principle; but they also discussed it in terms of what the 
impact of their votes would be, not on themselves, but on the people of 
this country, on the soldiers who are fighting in the field, on the 
people in Iraq, and on our country's ability to influence the world.
  This is a very tough issue. There are many considerations that each 
of us brings to this judgment, but in the end, I think we have a 
choice. As I said earlier today, we have a choice in determining what 
kind of Congress this is going to be. We can continue the practices of 
the past which rubberstamped virtually everything the President wanted 
on Iraqi policy. We can continue to do what he wants and only what he 
wants and only when he wants to do it and only in the way he wants to 
do it; or we can do what our Founding Fathers envisioned when they 
created the Congress. We can exercise checks and balances in order to 
try to move policy into a more constructive direction for this country.
  If you oppose this bill today, and if you take the position that all 
it should contain is what the President sent down, then you would be 
saying that you wanted to finance BRAC, the base-closing program, by 
gutting key education programs as the President recommends. You would 
be opposed to additional border security, additional port security and 
additional cargo security.
  You would be opposed to finally, after all of the horrendous pictures 
and all of the horrendous human suffering, you would be opposed to 
finally meeting our total obligations to the victims of Katrina.
  You would be opposed to asking for the money which the President 
himself asked that we provide in 2005 on an emergency basis to prepare 
this country to meet the pandemic flu epidemic which will surely at 
some time come.
  You would be opposing the additional $3.5 million that we have 
provided in this bill for veterans' health care and defense health 
care, and you would be opposing the timelines and the benchmarks which 
we place in this legislation, not because they are so perfect, but 
because they are the instrument by which we communicate to the Iraqi 
politicians that they must begin to resolve their differences, they 
must step up, because we are not going to run our baby-sitting service 
  It is imperative that we finally send that signal. The President 
cannot send

[[Page H2974]]

that signal, but we can help General Petraeus. We can help our own 
government by sending the signal that this Congress is going to play 
bad cop until the Iraqis get the message.
  That is what Mr. Murtha's efforts have been about, that is what mine 
have been about, that's what the Speaker's efforts have been about, and 
that's what the efforts have been about by virtually every person in 
this caucus and this House who has had a say in what this bill was 
going to contain.
  I strongly urge an ``aye'' vote.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I recognize the chief deputy 
whip, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Cantor) for 2 minutes.
  Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, some 6,000 miles from here a new plan is underway to 
secure Baghdad and stabilize an Iraq that 2 months ago was sliding into 
chaos. Indeed, we should be encouraged by declining levels of violence 
in Baghdad as well as the beginning of a restoration of trust between 
ordinary Iraqis and coalition and Iraqi forces.
  Unlike the gentleman before me, I disagree that this sends the right 
message. This supplemental undermines General Petraeus' plan before our 
troops have an opportunity to achieve success.
  Instead of reaffirming our commitment to victory, this bill concedes 
defeat while piling on billions in unrelated pork. So while tropical 
fish get $5 million, our troops get a steady Democratic diet of 
limitations and pull-out deadlines. We should have few doubts that, if 
passed, this bill will be a rallying cry for terrorists recently 
dismayed by our resolve.
  Our troops march to the order of one Commander in Chief, not 535. 
While the current Commander in Chief has a plan for victory, it is 
apparent that the majority party in this House has already thrown in 
the towel.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds.
  The gentleman is entitled to his own opinions; he is not entitled to 
his own facts.
  There is nothing in this bill whatsoever that has anything to do with 
tropical fish, unless he thinks that Lake Erie is in the Tropics.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 10 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania 
(Mr. Murtha), the chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
  Mr. MURTHA. Let me tell you what is in this bill and what you are 
voting against. There is $1.7 billion of this bill request for military 
health care. If you vote against this bill, you are denying our troops 
$1.7 billion.
  There is $450 million for post-traumatic stress. There is $450 
million for brain injury care. It is insufficient, but that is the 
money we put in the bill; $62 million for amputee care at Walter Reed, 
$20 million to fix up Walter Reed. That is what is in this bill for 
health care.
  If you vote against this bill, the military families will be denied 
$17 million to help prevent child-spouse abuse.
  The bill increases accountability over contractors. When I was in 
Iraq a month and a half ago, the contractors were falling all over each 
other. GAO and the inspector general of Iraq said to us, help us get 
this under control. I asked or one of the Members in the subcommittee 
asked the GAO what we could do to help. And I asked the Under Secretary 
of Defense: How many contractors do you have in Iraq? He couldn't tell 
me. He said, we will tell you within a week. We still haven't heard, 
and that has been over a month ago. We have had 11 hearings, and we are 
going to have 35 more hearings before this year is over. We are going 
to hold the Department of Defense accountable for the money that they 
are spending and the strategy that they are using.
  This bill bans permanent bases in Iraq. This bill bans torture in 
Iraq. We have sent troops to Iraq that were not trained in their 
specific MOSs, and that is exactly why Abu Ghraib happened. We had 
people that were untrained, National Guard members who were untrained 
who went into that prison, didn't know how to handle it, and it caused 
a natural disaster, a public relations disaster.
  The way the military is doing the job, and there is nobody that 
regards the military higher than I do. Nobody is more inspired by the 
troops that I have talked to and I have seen. But let me tell you 
something. With the type of tactics that they have to use, by knocking 
down doors and by using overwhelming force, it makes enemies. That is 
the problem we have, and we are not winning the hearts and minds of the 
people when we do that.

                              {time}  1130

  Let me talk about the readiness of our troops. Every unit in the 
United States, except two National Guard units, went into this war with 
the highest state of readiness. Now, there are only two units in the 
United States that are at the highest state of readiness.
  This provides money to take care of that. If you vote against that, 
you are voting against money to take care of readiness for our 
strategic reserve.
  Let me tell you what General Craddock says. General Craddock is the 
European commander, the NATO commander, American commander. Listen to 
what I am saying. This is what General Craddock says: ``We have very 
little capacity left after we source the global force pool, if you 
will, for these ongoing European Command missions. Our ability to do 
that now is limited because we don't have the forces available since 
they are in the rotation to the other missions.''
  He is saying what I have been saying for a year and a half. This is a 
failed policy wrapped in illusion. We do not have the troops. We do not 
have a strategic reserve to be able to react to a future national 
threat to this great country. The troops can only do so much.
  This bill includes $1.4 billion for new armored vehicles. If you vote 
against this, you are voting against the new armored vehicles which we 
need so badly. We put an extra $313 million above what the Defense 
Department requested for those vehicles. That is the V-shaped vehicles 
which resist the IEDs. If you vote against this bill, you will be 
denying the troops better protection and better equipment.
  The bill also includes billions to reset the forces. What I have been 
saying is the equipment, somebody said the other day, well, they train 
on old equipment. Well, why does that mean anything? Those of you who 
have been in the military knows what it means. It means when you go 
into combat, you do not have the type of equipment you need. You are 
risking the lives of these people by training on inadequate equipment. 
We have two units that will not go to the desert because they have to 
rush them out over to Iraq.
  It is not the military's fault. The administration has forced the 
military to break their own guidelines in order to send troops over to 
supply this surge and to sustain this deployment.
  Finally, we are saying in this bill, you cannot send troops back into 
battle unless they have the appropriate training, they are fully 
trained, mission capable. Is there anybody that is going to vote 
against that? If you vote against this bill, you vote against that. If 
you vote against this bill, you vote against sending troops back in 
less than a year at home. That is unacceptable.
  You can sit here and say we are fighting this war, oh, yes, you can 
sit here in Washington and say you are fighting this war. But let me 
tell you something, those young people sometimes went back three and 
four times; their families are suffering. These are not 140,000 people. 
These are each individuals with families and relatives that are bearing 
the brunt of this fighting that are sent back.
  This bill forces the administration to live up to the guidelines they 
have set for their military and not to extend them. A psychologist told 
us in a hearing that if you spend 3 months in combat that there is a 
good chance you will start to develop PTSD three months in this 
intensive combat in Baghdad.
  Now, you can sit here and talk about us fighting this war on 
terrorism. We put an extra billion dollars for Afghanistan in this bill 
so we could fight terrorism where it started in Afghanistan. That is 
where it started.
  Let me tell you something. We set benchmarks. We set benchmarks 
because it has not worked. Every time something happens over there, 
what he says is, well, we will send American troops; we will send 
American troops

[[Page H2975]]

back before they have their time at home. We will extend American 
troops. The Iraqis have to start to bear this responsibility for 
themselves, and that is why we are putting it in the bill.
  The American people in the last election sent a message. They said we 
want the Iraqis to solve their own problems in Iraq. The Americans have 
borne the brunt. We are spending $8.4 billion a month, $2 billion to 
get people and equipment and supplies over to Iraq, $2 billion a month, 
8,000 miles away.
  I will tell you what hurts the troops; I will tell you what hurts 
them. It hurts them when they extend it beyond 13 months or the 
marines, beyond 7 months. What hurts the troops, if you send the troops 
back before they have a year at home. That is what hurts the morale of 
the troops. I am the person that found the 44,000 shortage of body 
armor in the initial invasion of Iraq. We had troops in danger because 
they did not have the equipment they needed. We cannot send troops back 
into combat without equipment and fully being trained.
  Let me just say this in the end. My grandfather's Civil War hat is in 
my office. He lost his arm in the Civil War fighting for the North, 
some of you Southerners here. My great-grandmother lived to be 96. I 
was 6-years-old when she died. She said you are on this Earth to make a 
difference. We are going to make a difference with this bill. We are 
going to bring those troops home. We are going to start changing the 
direction of this great country.
  Mr. Speaker and distinguished Members of this body, the United States 
currently has 145,000 troops on the ground in Iraq and over half a 
trillion dollars has been expended in the war. More than 3,200 of our 
sons and daughters have lost their lives and close to 25,000 have been 
wounded; hundreds with amputated limbs and thousands with traumatic 
brain injuries.
  The Pentagon reports that the Iraqi Security Forces have grown in 
number, reaching their goal of 325,000 trained and equipped. The Iraqis 
have a Constitution and have held national elections. These milestones 
have been met, yet lack of security and stability continues. The war in 
Iraq has been plagued by mischaracterization based on unrealistic 
optimism instead of realism. Reality dictates that conditions on the 
ground are simply moving in the wrong direction.
  There are limits to military power. There is no U.S. military 
solution to Iraq's civil war. It is up to the Iraqis.
  Beginning in May 2005, after two years of mischaracterizations and 
misrepresentations by this Administration, the Defense Appropriations 
subcommittee required the Department of Defense to submit quarterly 
reports to Congress on the facts necessary to measure stability and 
security in Iraq. Since July 2005, we have received these reports. They 
are dismal and demonstrate a clear lack of progress in vital areas of 
concern. Electricity, oil production, employment and potable water 
remain at woeful levels.
  The average weekly attacks have grown from 430 in July 2005 to well 
over 1000 today. In fact, attacks throughout the country have increased 
10 percent over the last 4 months. Iraqi casualties have increased from 
63 per day in October 2005 to over 125 per day.
  Recent polls show that more than six in 10 Iraqis now say their lives 
are going badly, double the percentage who said so in late 2005. Sixty-
nine percent of the Iraqis surveyed said the presence of U.S. forces in 
the country makes the overall security situation worse. In January 
2006, 47 percent of Iraqis approved of attacks on U.S.-led forces. When 
the same polling question was asked just 8 months later, 61 percent of 
Iraqis approved of attacks on U.S-led forces.
  The support of the American public continues to erode and there is 
little confidence in the current strategy. Today less than 30 percent 
of Americans approve of the way the President is handling the war, and 
only 11 percent support the President's plan to increase troop levels 
in Iraq. A February 2006 poll showed that 72 percent of American troops 
serving in Iraq believed the U.S. should exit Iraq within the year and 
42 percent said their mission was unclear.
  Wars cannot be won with slogans. There must be a clear and reachable 
plan and a defined way to measure the success of that plan. The 
President says he has a new plan for a way forward in Iraq. General 
Peter Schoomaker, Chief of the United States Army, said in a recent 
hearing that in order for a plan to be effective we ``have to be able 
to measure the purpose.'' But the President sets forth a plan with no 
defined matrices for measuring progress and no consequences if progress 
is not made. This new plan is simply more of the same open ended 
commitment in Iraq that has not worked.
  A new strategy that is based on redeployment rather than further U.S. 
military engagement, and one that is centered on handing Iraq back to 
the Iraqis, is what is needed. I do not believe that Iraq will make the 
political progress necessary for its security and stability until U.S. 
forces redeploy.
  In order to achieve stability in Iraq and the Region, I recommend:
  (1) The redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq
  (2) The execution of a robust diplomatic effort and the restoration 
of our international credibility
  (3) The repairing of our military readiness and the rebuilding of our 
strategic reserve to face future threats.

                 Redeployment of U.S. Forces from Iraq

  To achieve stability and security in Iraq, I believe we first must 
have a responsible phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. 
General William Odom (U.S. Army, Retired) recently testified, ``We are 
pursuing the wrong war.''
  Stability and security in the Region should be our overarching 
strategy, not a ``victory in Iraq.'' I agree with General Odom and 
believe that Regional Stability can only be accomplished through the 
redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq.
  Who wants us to stay in Iraq? In my opinion, Iran and Al Qaeda, 
because we intensify the very radical extremism we claim to be fighting 
against, while at the same time depleting our financial and human 
  As long as the U.S. military continues to occupy Iraq, there will be 
no real security. Maintaining U.S. troop strength in Iraq or adding to 
the strength in specified areas, has not proven effective in the past 
nor do I believe it will work in the future. The Iraq war cannot be won 
by the U.S. military, predominantly because of the way our military 
operates. They use overwhelming force, which I advocate to save 
American lives, but it is counter to winning the hearts and minds of 
the people.

                            How to Re-deploy

  I recommend the phased redeployment of U.S. forces, first from 
Saddam's palaces, then from the green zone. Next, from the prime real 
estate of Iraq's major cities, out of the factories and universities, 
and finally out of the country all together. We need to give 
communities back to the Iraqis so they can begin to self govern, begin 
economic recovery and return to some type of normality. I recommend the 
adoption of a U.S. policy that encourages and rewards reconstruction 
and regional investment and one that is dictated and administered not 
by the United States, but by the Iraqis themselves.

                Restoration of International Credibility

  I believe that a responsible redeployment from Iraq is the first step 
necessary in restoring our tarnished international credibility. Since 
the U.S. invasion of Iraq, our international credibility, even among 
allies, has plummeted. Stability in Iraq is important not only to the 
United States, but it is important to the Region and to the entire 
world. The BBC recently released a poll showing that nearly three-
quarters of those polled in 25 countries disapprove of U.S. policies 
toward Iraq. More than two-thirds said the U.S. military presence in 
the Middle East does more harm than good. Just 29 percent of 
respondents said the United States has a general positive influence in 
the world, down from 40 percent two years ago.

            How do we Restore our International Credibility

  In order to restore international credibility, I believe it is 
necessary for the U.S. to completely denounce any aspirations of 
building permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq; I believe we should 
shut down the Guantanamo detention facility; and we must bulldoze the 
Abu Ghraib prison. We must clearly articulate and demonstrate a policy 
of ``no torture, no exceptions'' and directly engage countries in the 
region with dialogue instead of directives. This includes allies as 
well as our perceived adversaries.

   Repairing of our Military Readiness and Rebuilding our Strategic 
                     Reserve to Face Future Threats

  Our annual Defense spending budget is currently in excess of $450 
billion. Above this amount, we are spending $8.4 billion dollars a 
month in the war in Iraq and yet our strategic reserve is in desperate 
shape. While we are fighting an asymmetric threat in the short term, we 
have weakened our ability to respond to what I believe is a grave long 
term conventional and nuclear threat.
  At the beginning of the Iraq war, 80 percent of ALL Army units and 
almost 100 percent of active combat units were rated at the highest 
state of readiness. Today, virtually all of our active-duty combat 
units at home and ALL of our guard units are at the lowest state of 
readiness, primarily due to equipment shortages resulting from repeated 
and extended deployments to Iraq. In recent testimony given by a high 
ranking Pentagon official it was reported that our country is 
threatened because we lack readiness at home.
  Our Army has no strategic reserve, and while it is true that the U.S. 
Navy and the U.S.

[[Page H2976]]

Air Force can be used to project power, there is a limit to what they 
can achieve. Overall, our military remains capable of projecting power, 
but we must also be able to sustain that projection, and in this regard 
there is no replacement for boots on the ground.

      How do we Repair Readiness and Rebuild our Strategic Reserve

  We must make it a national priority to re-strengthen our military and 
to repair readiness. I advocate an increase in overall troop strength. 
The current authorized level is below what I believe is needed to 
maintain an optimal military. In recent testimony to the Defense 
Subcommittee that I chair, the Army and Marine Corps Commanders 
testified that they could not continue to sustain the current 
deployment practices without an adverse effect on the health and well-
being of service members and their families.
  For decades, the Army operated on a deployment policy that for every 
one year of deployment, two years were spent at home. This was 
considered optimal for re-training, re-equipping and re-constituting. 
Without relief, the Army will be forced to extend deployments to Iraq 
to over one year in country and will be forced to send troops back with 
less than one year at home. The Army reported that a 9-month deployment 
was preferable. Medical experts testified that in intensive combat, 
deployments of over 3 months increased the likelihood for service 
members to develop post traumatic stress disorders. A recent report by 
the Harvard University School of Government put the total cost of 
providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans of Iraq and 
Afghanistan at $350 to $700 billion.
  We must invest in the health and well being of our service members by 
providing for the right amount of troops and for appropriate deployment 
and rotation cycles. Our military equipment inventories are 
unacceptably low. The Services report that at least $100 billion more 
is needed to get them back to ready state. In doing so, we must not 
neglect investment in military technologies of the future. While we 
remain bogged down in Iraq, the size and sophistication of other 
militaries are growing. We must not lose our capability to deter future 
  Let me conclude by saying historically, whether it was India, Algeria 
or Afghanistan, foreign occupations do not work, and in fact incite 
civil unrest. Our military remains the greatest military in the world, 
but there are limits to its ability to control a population that 
considers them occupiers.
  I have said this before and I continue to say that there are 
essentially only two plans. One is to continue an occupation that has 
not worked and that has shown no progress toward stabilization. The 
other, which I advocate, is to end the occupation of Iraq, redeploy and 
re-strengthen our military and turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.

                      The Waters-Boehner Coalition

     (By Scott Lilly, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress)

       The U.S. House of Representatives is an unusual place and 
     politics makes strange bedfellows. But the coalition to block 
     funding for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and improve 
     the deplorable state of medical care for our returning 
     veterans is one for the record books.
       Led by House Minority Leader John Boehner on the right and 
     Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters on the left, the 
     coalition is striving to put together enough votes to block 
     passage of the $124 billion spending package expected to go 
     to the House Floor on Friday. Boehner, hoping to get nearly 
     all House Republicans to vote against the measure, contends:

       . . . there is only one way to do the right thing: fully-
     fund the troops without strings attached . . . Setting 
     timelines is no different than handing the enemy our war plan 
     itself. It serves as a road map for the terrorists to plot 
     maneuvers against American men and women in uniform. 
     Micromanaging the war from Capitol is, by any standard or 
     definition, a recipe for disaster.

       Boehner also opposes ``incomprehensible spending'' on 
     ``unrelated, non-emergency'' items not requested by the White 
     House. This includes among other things, $2.8 billion to 
     address the health care problems confronting returning 
     veterans--funds to address the problems at Walter Reed; 
     improve treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and 
     Traumatic Brain Injury; speed the processing of veteran 
     requests for entry into the VA medical system and clean up 
     the $550 million maintenance backlog at VA health facilities. 
     Boehner also objects to more than $3 billion in unrequested 
     funds to cope with other military needs, primarily correcting 
     the shortfall in the readiness of military units being sent 
     into combat.
       Waters reaches the same conclusion as Boehner based on an 
     entirely different assessment of the facts:

       Not only did the American public speak loudly and clearly 
     last Nov. 7, but poll after poll reinforces the message that 
     Americans want their troops home now. The president's 
     supplemental request is just what the word ``supplemental'' 
     implies--additional funds to expand and continue this war. I 
     believe that there is enough money available in the pipeline 
     to fund a planned exit. I will vote against the supplemental 
     unless the additional funds are used to fully fund the safe, 
     secure and timely withdrawal of our troops by Dec. 31

       Boehner wants no strings attached and Waters not only wants 
     strings, but shorter and stronger strings. Boehner does not 
     like the pressure that the bill places on the President to 
     bring an end to the U.S. military presence in Iraq and Waters 
     does not want to end U.S. presence through pressure but 
     rather mandate it by law. As a result both want to defeat 
     money needed for fuel, ammunition, spare parts and medical 
     care for those presently in harms way.
       Both also in my judgment misread the mood of the American 
     people and are wrong on the best course for the country. The 
     American people overwhelmingly oppose the war but they even 
     more overwhelmingly oppose anything that would put the brave 
     men and women we have called into service at greater risk. No 
     war in American history has ended as the result of a 
     legislative fiat. Even Vietnam, which is the closest 
     parallel, was ended because of political pressure rather than 
     legislative direction. The right way to end our presence in 
     Iraq is for the Executive and Legislative branches of our 
     government to reach an accommodation on Iraq policy.
       The Bush Administration needs Congress to support its 
     military and foreign policy objectives and the language in 
     the Supplemental now pending sends a clear message that such 
     support will be contingent upon a plan for an ordered 
     withdrawal--a withdrawal that protects our troops and 
     American interests in the region.
       But what Waters and her supporters seem to fail to 
     recognize is that the Congress needs the White House. That 
     may be hard for some to accept but extracting U.S. forces 
     from the violence now besieging much of Iraq will be a 
     complex and hazardous process. It will take the best planners 
     that the Defense Department can find; it will take strong 
     leadership on the part of commanders and hard choices in 
     terms of both military and political priorities. Equally 
     important it will take extensive diplomatic consultation on 
     both a regional and global basis. None of those things can be 
     accomplished by the Congress. It is not the way our 
     government was designed and it is not the way it works. If 
     the two branches cannot reach accommodation there will be 
     hell to pay and those who have already been asked to pay the 
     most will be forced to pay again.
       The language contained in the supplemental demands that the 
     Iraqi government meet certain bench marks and provided those 
     benchmarks are achieved, begins redeployment of American 
     forces in March of next year. It also requires that if the 
     White House believes that it must violate long standing 
     Pentagon policies on the readiness of military units sent 
     into combat, the length of deployments into combat zones and 
     the length of time between deployments the President must 
     fully explain why he is ordering a violation of those 
       This is very strong pressure on a President that is very 
     strong willed. It is the beginning of a process which will 
     either bring the two powerful branches of our government 
     together in mutual accommodation or push the country closer 
     to a Constitutional crisis. It is the first step in a process 
     that will either fortunately or unfortunately continue all 
       Following the Friday House vote on the Supplemental, that 
     legislation will come before the Senate and the final version 
     will be crafted in a conference committee in April and 
     presented to both houses for final approval by the end of 
     that month. Within weeks the House will begin deliberation on 
     the Fiscal 2008 Defense Appropriation which will remain under 
     various stages of consideration until September. There will 
     be numerous opportunities for Congress to strengthen its 
     demands with respect to Iraq and for the Administration to 
     respond. What opponents of the War cannot do at this juncture 
     is overplay their hand and slow the growth of public 
     sentiment and political pressure against the current Iraq 
     policy and its supporters.
       Boehner is also playing a high risk game. He is putting the 
     Congressional wing of his party on record as opposing 
     measures to require that the troops are well trained and well 
     equipped before they are sent into deadly conflict. He is 
     opposing funds his own President says the troops need now and 
     he is opposing medical care for the troops once they return. 
     Simultaneously, he is saying that the Congress should not 
     apply pressure to the White House for a new strategy to pull 
     us out of Iraq. That is a position that is not only opposed 
     by nearly all Democrats but by an overwhelming majority of 
     independents and a substantial share of Republicans. It is 
     not a particularly smart way to redefine the Republican Party 
     in the wake of the drubbing his part took in last fall's 
       The supplemental is not perfect. There is probably no one 
     who supports every provision. But there is much that is good 
     in the bill and begins the process by which the Congress and 
     the White House can come together on a solution that is best 
     for the country. It is not as simple or straight forward as 
     many would like but it is the process that our founding 
     fathers bestowed on us and it is the only approach that can 
     bring an ordered end to this catastrophic engagement.

  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
might consume.
  Mr. Speaker, you all know that I have worked over the years very, 

[[Page H2977]]

closely with Mr. Murtha and our chairman Mr. Obey. I think most would 
agree that some of us make a significant effort to reach out on both 
sides of the aisle to solve problems where that is possible.
  In this case, we have a major, major disagreement. I do not presume 
others to be insincere in their disagreement, but I feel very strongly 
that we must make absolutely certain that we do nothing to undermine 
the mission of our troops by way of this debate.
  There is absolutely no doubt that the message that we will be sending 
as this bill passes today, in part, will say to the terrorists of the 
world, including Iraq, that America is not willing to stay and complete 
the mission.
  I rarely refer to newspaper items in addressing the House, but I 
cannot help but note that the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Atlanta 
Journal, et cetera, those newspapers all have expressed grave concerns 
about combining this supplemental funding for a war with huge amounts 
of pork.
  As a result of that, I am going to use an item several times 
mentioned today as a part of my own close. The item is entitled: 
``Retreat and Butter. Are Democrats in the House Voting for Farm 
Subsidies or Withdrawal from Iraq?''
  ``Today, the House of Representatives is due to vote on a bill that 
would grant $25 million to spinach farmers in California. The 
legislation would also appropriate $75 million for peanut storage in 
Georgia and $15 million to protect Louisiana rice fields from 
saltwater. More substantially, there is $120 million for shrimp and 
menhaden fishermen, $250 million for milk subsidies, $500 million for 
wildfire suppression and $1.3 billion to build levees in New Orleans.
  ``Altogether the House Democratic leadership has come up with more 
than $20 billion in new spending, much of it wasteful subsidies to 
agriculture or pork barrel projects aimed at individual Members of 
Congress. At the tail of all this log rolling,'' and by the way I would 
not use this next phrase so that Mr. Obey knows that, ``log rolling and 
political bribery lies this stinger: Representatives who support the 
bill, for whatever reason, will be voting to require that all U.S. 
combat troops leave Iraq by August 2008, regardless of what happens 
during the next 17 months or whether U.S. commanders believe a pullout 
at that moment protects or endangers U.S. national security, not to 
mention the thousands of American trainers and Special Forces troops 
who would remain behind.
  ``The Democrats claim to have a mandate from voters to reverse the 
Bush administration's policy in Iraq. Yet the leadership is ready to 
piece together the votes necessary to force a fateful turn in the war 
by using tactics usually dedicated to highway bills or the Army Corps 
of Engineers budget. The legislation pays more heed to a handful of 
peanut farmers than to the 24 million Iraqis who are living through a 
maelstrom initiated by the United States, the outcome of which could 
shape the future of the Middle East for decades.
  ``Congress can and should play a major role in determining how and 
when the war ends. Political benchmarks for the Iraqi Government are 
important, provided they are not unrealistic or inflexible. Even dates 
for troop withdrawals might be helpful, if they are cast as goals 
rather than requirements, and if the timing derives from the needs of 
Iraq, not the U.S. election cycle. The Senate's version of the 
supplemental spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan contains nonbinding 
benchmarks and a withdrawal date that is a goal; that approach is more 
likely to win broad support and avoid a White House veto.
  ``As it is, House Democrats are pressing a bill that has the 
endorsement of MoveOn.org but excludes the judgment of the U.S. 
commanders who would have to execute the retreat the bill mandates. It 
would heap money on unneedy dairy farmers while provoking a 
constitutional fight with the White House that could block the funding 
to equip troops in the field. Democrats who want to force a withdrawal 
should vote against war appropriations. They should not seek to use 
pork to buy a majority for an unconditional retreat that the majority 
does not support.''
  At this point, I include for the Record the Statement of 
Administration Policy.

 Statement of Administration Policy, H.R. 1591--U.S. Troop Readiness, 
             Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act

                     (Sponsor: Obey (D), Wisconsin)

       The Administration strongly opposes the ``U.S. Troop 
     Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act.'' 
     The Administration seeks prompt enactment of the President's 
     request to support our armed forces and diplomatic corps as 
     they implement the new strategy to achieve America's 
     strategic objective of a democratic Iraq that can govern, 
     defend, and sustain itself and be an ally in the war on 
       This legislation would substitute the mandates of Congress 
     for the considered judgment of our military commanders. This 
     bill assumes and forces the failure of the new strategy even 
     before American commanders in the field are able to fully 
     implement their plans. Regardless of the success our troops 
     are achieving in the field, this bill would require their 
     withdrawal. In addition, the bill could withhold resources 
     needed to enable Iraqi Security Forces to take over missions 
     currently conducted by American troops. Many policy makers 
     agree that the Iraqi Security Forces must assume 
     responsibility in defending Iraqi democracy, and it is 
     unconscionable that funds for the Iraqi Security Forces be 
     subject to conditions that may threaten our full support. 
     These Congressional mandates would place freedom and 
     democracy in Iraq at grave risk, embolden our enemies, and 
     undercut the Administration's plan to develop the Iraqi 
     Security Forces and the Iraqi economy. This bill would impose 
     inappropriate, operationally unsound, and arbitrary 
     constraints on how the Department of Defense should prepare 
     units to deploy. Prohibiting the deployment of units to 
     combat unless a Chief of Service certifies the units as fully 
     mission-capable 15 days prior to deployment is unnecessary, 
     since the Department of Defense will not send into battle 
     troops that are not fully capable of performing their 
     assigned missions. It is unwise to codify in law specific 
     deployment and dwell times, since this would artificially 
     limit the flexibility of our commanders to conduct operations 
     in the field and infringe on the President's constitutional 
     authority as Commander in Chief to manage the readiness and 
     availability of the Armed Forces. If this legislation were 
     presented to the President, he would veto the bill.
       The war supplemental should remain focused on the needs of 
     the troops and should not be used as a vehicle for added non-
     emergency spending and policy proposals, especially domestic 
     proposals, that should be fully vetted and considered on 
     their own merits, such as minimum wage, various tax 
     proposals, and changes in contracting policy. This bill adds 
     billions in unrequested spending that is largely unjustified 
     and non-emergency. Because of the excessive and extraneous 
     non-emergency spending it contains, if this legislation were 
     presented to the President, he would veto the bill.
       Congress should reject this legislation, and promptly send 
     the President a responsible bill that provides the funding 
     and flexibility our troops need, without holding funding for 
     the troops hostage to unrelated spending.
       The Administration would like to take this opportunity to 
     share additional views regarding the Committee's version of 
     the bill.

                     Title I--Global war on terror

       Base Realignment and Closure. The Administration submitted 
     a budget amendment on March 9, 2007, that would fully offset 
     the $3.1 billion shortfall needed to implement the 
     recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure 
     Commission. Including this funding as an emergency request 
     without offsets is inappropriate and unnecessary. The 
     Administration urges passage of its request instead.
       Additionally, the Administration opposes any amendment to 
     the bill that would alter the approved recommendations of the 
     2005 BRAC Commission. The BRAC process, as authorized by 
     Congress, requires that both the President and Congress 
     approve or disapprove the Commission's recommendations in 
     their entirety to allow the process to remain apolitical. 
     Legislating a specific change to a BRAC Commission 
     recommendation would adversely affect the integrity of the 
     BRAC 2005 process.
       Operation and Maintenance (O&M). The Administration objects 
     to cuts of almost $1.9 billion for priority O&M activities 
     while increasing areas less critical to the war effort. Such 
     reductions (including reductions for contracting) could 
     damage the military's ability to execute wartime operations 
     and the readiness of U.S. forces as they prepare to deploy to 
     Afghanistan and Iraq. The Administration urges Congress to 
     support the President's amended request.
       In addition, the bill does not fund the President's $350 
     million request for training, equipping, transporting, and 
     sustaining our partners in the Global War on Terror. Our 
     allies are critical to our success in combating extremists 
     across the globe and providing this support reduces the 
     burden on U.S. forces. We strongly urge the House to restore 
     these funds.
       General Transfer Authority (GTA). The Administration 
     appreciates the Committee's approval of the requested $3.5 
     billion in GTA for this bill, but urges that GTA for the FY 
     2007 DOD Appropriations Act be increased from $4.5 billion to 
     $8.0 billion, as included in the March 9 revised request. 
     This increase is essential for the Department of Defense to

[[Page H2978]]

     reallocate funds to sustain critical operations and to 
     address the needs of our field commanders.
       International Affairs Programs. The Administration commends 
     the Committee for providing the President's request for 
     important international affairs funding for avian influenza, 
     assistance to Afghanistan and Lebanon, peacekeeping in 
     Somalia, Chad, and East Timor, and unanticipated needs to 
     help relieve human suffering, including in Sudan and other 
     parts of Africa.
       While the Administration appreciates the House's support of 
     the request for Iraq-related funding, it objects to the 
     reductions to Iraq assistance programs and Provincial 
     Reconstruction Team (PRT) expansion. The bill reduces funding 
     for democracy programs, building national capacity, 
     strengthening local governing capacity and delivery of 
     essential services, creating jobs to help stabilize the 
     country, and supporting Iraqi rule of law programs--the 
     very things that must be done for Iraq to become self-
     reliant and assume responsibilities from the United 
     States. The reduction in funding for PRT expansion will 
     also impede our ability to get civilians into PRTs to 
     support Iraqis at the local level. The Administration also 
     opposes the reductions to the request for Kosovo which 
     could inhibit our effort to support economic growth, 
     security, and political stability during and after the 
     resolution of its status. Given the reductions to Iraq and 
     Kosovo, the Administration is especially concerned that 
     the House bill provides over $600 million in unrequested 
     international programs. The House is urged to redirect 
     funds from unrequested programs to fully fund the Iraq and 
     Kosovo requests.
       The Administration also does not support section 1905 of 
     the bill, which establishes a Presidentially appointed, 
     Senate-confirmed position to oversee Iraq assistance 
     programs. This position is not necessary since the Secretary 
     of State has already appointed a coordinator for 
       The Administration also opposes the $2.5 billion in 
     unrequested emergency funding provided to the Department of 
     Homeland Security (DHS). This funding does not meet the 
     standard for emergency funding and should be considered 
     within the regular annual appropriations process.

                      Title II--Hurricane recovery

       Department of Homeland Security. The bill provides the 
     States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Texas with a 
     100-percent Federal match for FEMA public and individual 
     assistance related to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and 
     Dennis and would eliminate the prohibition on forgiving 
     Community Disaster Loans. The bill also extends utility 
     assistance for an additional 12 months. The Administration 
     opposes a waiver of the State match requirement. The 
     Administration also notes that the Administration is funding, 
     at the President's direction, 90 percent of Gulf Coast 
     rebuilding costs for public infrastructure and that the 
     Federal Government has provided--following negotiations with 
     the State governments of Louisiana and Mississippi--
     sufficient Community Development Block Grant funding to meet 
     the Federal match requirements for Louisiana and Mississippi, 
     in essence federally funding 100 percent of such costs.
       Corps of Engineers. The Administration opposes the $1.3 
     billion in unrequested funding the bill provides to address 
     increased costs for certain ongoing levee restoration 
     projects that were provided supplemental funding in P.L. 109-
     234. These funds are unnecessary because the Administration 
     proposed FY 2007 supplemental language to allow the Corps to 
     reallocate $1.3 billion of previously appropriated emergency 
     funding to address these needs. The Administration plans to 
     consider the need for additional funding once the Corps 
     completes its revised cost estimates for all planned work 
     this summer.

                        Constitutional concerns

       The Administration urges the House of Representatives to 
     strike provisions of the bill that infringe upon the 
     President's constitutional authorities, interfere with the 
     President's ability to conduct diplomatic, military, and 
     intelligence activities or supervise the unitary executive 
     branch effectively, or violate the constitutional principle 
     of separation of powers, such as sections 1311, 1314(c)(1), 
     1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 4403(c), and 5004(b) and language in 
     title I relating to committee approval under the headings in 
     chapter 7 for ``Military Construction, Army'' and ``Military 
     Construction, Navy and Marine Corps'' and in chapter 8 under 
     the heading ``Diplomatic and Consular Programs.'' The 
     Administration notes that, while the legislation includes 
     authority to waive restrictions relating to readiness and 
     deployment periods (sections 1901, 1902, and 1903), it does 
     not include authority to waive the all-or-nothing 
     restrictions relating to benchmarks for performance of the 
     Iraqi government. Moreover, several provisions of the bill 
     purport to require approval of the Committees prior to the 
     obligation of funds. These provisions should be changed to 
     require only notification of Congress, since any other 
     interpretation would contradict the Supreme Court's ruling in 
     INS v. Chadha.

  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, how much time is remaining on both sides?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey) has 
11\1/2\ minutes remaining. The gentleman from California (Mr. Lewis) 
has 17 minutes remaining.
  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Boehner), the Republican leader.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I think the moment is here, a moment that 
we have been debating over the last 2\1/2\ months and an issue that I 
think the American people care deeply about.
  It is an historic moment, and I thought to myself this morning how 
will history judge what it is that we are doing on the floor of the 
House today. What will they write 50 years from now about the decisions 
that we are making here today?
  When I handed Ms. Pelosi, our new Speaker, the gavel back in January, 
I said that the battle of ideas should be fought on the floor of the 
House, but as we do it, we should respect each other's opinion. We can 
disagree without being disagreeable.
  I have great respect for Mr. Murtha and Mr. Obey, those that have 
brought this bill to the floor today, along with Mr. Young and Mr. 
Lewis, and we should respect all of our opinions and each other's 
opinions when we get into this difficult decision.
  All of us wish that Iraq had gone better. We all wish that the 
mistakes had not been made and that the terrorists would not have shown 
up and made this a central front in our war with them.

                              {time}  1145

  The fact is, we are in Iraq. We are in the midst of a fight with an 
enemy that is just not in Iraq, that is all over the world, and we are 
there. You begin to think about the bill that we have before us to pay 
for the war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq. Somehow we have room 
for $10 billion worth of nonmilitary spending.
  I don't need to go through all the details for the money for spinach, 
the money for the Capitol Hill power plant. That is a real emergency, 
things that don't belong in this bill.
  But I think all of us know what the greater issue is here, and the 
bigger issue. That is that the ideas of our friend from Pennsylvania, 
to put his benchmarks in there, which are very different than the 
benchmarks that I proposed. The benchmarks I proposed were to measure 
progress, for trying to help ensure that we win. The benchmarks I see 
in this bill are intended to bring about failure, to bring about 
  If you look at all of the handcuffs, all of the hoops and hurdles 
that are in here, I believe there is only one outcome, only one outcome 
if we support all this brings and the handcuffs, and that outcome is 
failure. I don't believe that failure in Iraq is an option. There is a 
lot riding on this.
  Just think for a moment what signal, what signal this sends to our 
enemies. What does it say to them, we are not willing to stand behind 
our troops, that there is a hard deadline out there, that we are going 
to withdraw our troops; what signal does it send to them?
  Our enemies understand what happened in Vietnam. When this Congress 
voted to cut off funding, we left Vietnam. We left chaos and genocide 
in the streets of Vietnam because we pulled the troops out and didn't 
have the will to win.
  Our enemies know what happened in 1983 after the Marine barracks were 
bombed in Lebanon, and we pulled out. What did we see? Chaos and 
genocide all through Lebanon, and continuing to this day. Then in 1993, 
we decided to pull out of Somalia; left chaos and genocide in our wake 
that continues to this day.
  Who doesn't believe, who doesn't believe that if we go down this 
path, we are going to leave chaos and genocide in Iraq, and we are 
going to tell our enemies all around the world that you can take on the 
United States, you can push them to the edge? At the end of the day, 
they will just go home.
  The spread of radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to our Nation and 
is a threat to the free world, not just in the Middle East. They are in 
Asia, they are in Europe, they are in Africa. Cells are growing right 
here in America, people dedicated to killing Americans, killing our 
allies, and ending freedom and wanting to impose some radical Islamic 
law on the entire world.
  I ask you, what are we to do, just walk away from the fight? What 
message does this action that we take

[[Page H2979]]

today, what does it send, what kind of message does it send to our 
allies, to people who have worked with us over the course of the last 
50 years, 100 years, to bring freedom around the world, to end tyranny 
around the world? What message do we send to them, that we are there as 
long as it doesn't get too tough?
  Think about what Franklin Roosevelt must have felt like in the midst 
of World War II when things weren't going so well either in Europe or 
over in the South Pacific. I am sure there was a big debate here in 
Congress, the same way, same time. But Franklin Roosevelt knew that the 
world had no choice but to stop Imperial Japan and to stop Hitler's 
Germany, because he knew that the consequences of failure in World War 
II were going to lead to more tyranny and less freedom all around the 
world. He didn't shrink from that challenge.
  But more importantly, think about what this message sends to our 
troops. Our troops are on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan doing 
their duty to protect freedom and to end tyranny. They are there 
watching this debate that we are having in the House today and 
wondering, will Congress do its duty? Will Congress stand up and 
support the mission that I am in?
  Think about the soldiers right this moment who are on a mission 
somewhere in Baghdad trying to bring safety and security to those 
people while this debate goes on and this vote is about to occur as to 
whether we are going to support what they are doing. This is an 
important moment.
  Our forefathers, our forefathers had this moment many times before. 
Whether it was George Washington or Abraham Lincoln in the middle of 
the Civil War, when it wasn't going very well, they had a decision to 
make. Was failure an option for any of them? No, it wasn't.
  I know this is difficult, and I know there are deeply held opinions 
on both sides of the aisle and amongst both sides of the aisle, but I 
would ask all of my colleagues, is failure an option? Do we want to 
give victory a chance?
  We sent General Petraeus over there, 84-0, was confirmed by the 
Senate. The plan is under way. What this bill will do will be to 
undercut his opportunity at success.
  Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to say to you that we have no choice 
but to win, because if we fail in Iraq, you will see the rise even 
further and faster of radical Islamic terrorism all around the world. 
We will see chaos in Baghdad. We will see genocide there. We will 
provide safe haven for our enemies. We will destabilize the moderate 
Arab countries in the Middle East. If anybody doesn't believe that this 
won't end Israel as I know it, you are kidding yourself. If you don't 
believe that these terrorists won't come here and fight us on the 
streets of America instead of the streets of Baghdad, I think you are 
kidding yourself.
  So we have our moment of truth. We have our opportunity to do what 
our forefathers have done, and that is to stand up, support our troops 
and to win, because the outcome of failure is actually too ominous to 
even think about.
  So I ask my colleagues today, let's not vote for spinach, let's not 
vote for more money for the power plant and all the other silly things 
in here. We all know what this bill is about, and it is about whether 
we have got the courage to give victory a chance, or whether we are 
just going to bring our troops home and give up.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.
  Mr. Speaker, I regret that the minority leader has chosen to 
trivialize one item in this bill, which represents our direct 
responsibility to people who work in the most outrageous conditions on 
Capitol Hill. Roll Call itself, in describing the funding that we have 
in this bill on the Capitol heating plant, which the majority leader 
just trivialized, wrote that ``what we have on our hands is a `horrific 
scandal'. The working environment for the 10-member Capitol tunnel shop 
team resembles that of hell.''
  One of our own Republican colleagues in this House is mentioned in 
the editorial as describing the conditions in that heating plant as, 
quote, ``inhumane and unprofessional,'' and said of the tunnel workers, 
that they are ``probably going to end up dying because of their 
exposure to asbestos.''
  The money in this bill is for cleaning up the asbestos problem, which 
people in that tunnel have to work in every day. I make no apology 
whatsoever for providing that funds. The minority leader ought to be 
standing side by side with us to meet our obligations to clean up that 
mess. I am surprised he doesn't recognize that.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania 
(Mr. Patrick J. Murphy).
  Mr. PATRICK J. MURPHY of Pennsylvania. Thank you to the gentleman 
from Wisconsin.
  Mr. Speaker, there are 435 Members of Congress, and I know there are 
many people on the other side of the aisle who don't know who I am. I 
am Patrick Murphy, and I am from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Back home, 
my wife and my daughter Maggie are watching, probably on C-SPAN right 
  Over 13 years ago, I wore the United States Army uniform for the 
first time. I was able to live the American dream. I was able to rise 
through the ranks and become a captain and a paratrooper in the 82nd 
Airborne Division. We had a saying in the Army: Lead, follow or get out 
of the way.
  Well, in the past 4 years, the Republican-led Congress followed. They 
had their chance, and they followed lockstep as this President led our 
country into an open-ended commitment refereeing a religious civil war.
  For the last 4 years, this Republican Congress followed lockstep as 
my fellow soldiers continued to die in Iraq without a clear mission, 
without benchmarks to determine success, without a clear timeline for 
coming home. In the last 4 years, the Republican Congress followed this 
President as thousands of brave American soldiers returned home in 
coffins with our American flag. Nineteen of those coffins had soldiers 
that I served with in Iraq, 19 paratroopers.
  Mr. Speaker, with this bill, with this vote, we mark the end of that 
  Many of the 49 new freshmen, both Democrats and Republicans, were 
elected a few months ago on the promise of new leadership, and that is 
what this bill does. It leads our way out of Iraq. It leads the way to 
rebuild our overextended Army, and leads the way to win the war on 
  To those on the other side of the aisle who are opposed, I want to 
ask you the same questions that my gunner asked me when I was leading a 
convoy up and down Ambush Alley one day. He said, ``Sir, what are we 
doing over here? What's our mission? When are these Iraqis going to 
come off the sidelines and stand up for their own country?''
  So to my colleagues across the aisle, your taunts about supporting 
our troops ring hollow if you are still unable to answer those 
questions now 4 years later.
  Mr. Speaker, to vote ``no'' on this bill is to stand idly by, to let 
our commitment to Iraq remain open-ended and to let countless more 
American soldiers be killed in the sands of al-Anbar and the streets of 
  Short-term political peril may sidestep those who cast their vote for 
the status quo, but our children's history books will not treat them 
kindly, nor should they.
  Mr. Speaker, the 110th Congress will be judged whether we have the 
political courage to put forth a plan to restore accountability and 
oversight, to bring our troops home from Iraq and, most importantly, to 
win the war on terror.
  This is our opportunity. This is our chance to lead. For too long, 
the American people have been craving leadership, craving 
accountability and craving a new direction in Iraq. Let's give that to 
them today.

                              {time}  1200

  Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, it is my honor to yield the 
balance of my time to my hero of the United States Congress, Sam 
Johnson of Texas.
  Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. Thank you, Members. Nancy, John, David, I 
appreciate you all.
  I rise today in support of a clean emergency spending bill for our 
troops, but this one is all smoke and mirrors. We must give our men and 
women in uniform everything they need to thwart the insurgency in Iraq 
and come home safely and soon.

[[Page H2980]]

  You know, we can't tie the hands of the guys on the ground with time 
lines or benchmarks. And, worse, we shouldn't be using the emergency 
troop spending bill as the way to finance the political gimmickry of 
special interest projects. It is just exasperating that the Democrat 
leaders have turned the emergency troop spending bill into a pork 
barrel project giveaway.
  This bill gives piles of money to shrimpers, spinach farmers, and 
peanut storage. You know, what does throwing money at Bubba Gump, 
Popeye the Sailorman, and Mr. Peanut have to do with winning a war? 
  The special interest projects added to increase the likelihood of 
this bill passing are really an insult to the troops who want, need, 
and deserve our full support. The Democrats are trying to buy the 
majority vote today one pork project at a time, perhaps because the 
majority does not support their slow bleed surrender strategy.
  Since the President announced his new plan for Iraq in January, there 
has been measured, steady progress. He changed the rules of engagement 
and removed political protections. Coalition forces nabbed more than 50 
suspects and dismantled a bomb factory in Iraq over the past few days. 
Coalition forces in Iraq detained seven suspects with reported ties to 
foreign fighter groups. In Ramadi, troops nabbed four other suspects 
with alleged ties to al Qaeda. In Mosul, coalition forces captured a 
former paramilitary leader who allegedly is responsible for setting up 
al Qaeda terrorist training camps in Iraq and Syria. During another 
operation, troops captured a suspected terrorist with alleged ties to 
al Qaeda car bomb and assassination cells.
  We must seize this opportunity to move forward and not stifle future 
success and harm troop morale.
  More importantly, I want to know, how many of you have ever asked 
your constituents, Do you want to lose in Iraq? I think if you ask that 
question, do you want to lose in Iraq, Americans will wholeheartedly 
say no.
  We have smart, strong men and women serving in Iraq, and they need 
our help, and they need the full support of their country and their 
  Our troops don't need 435 generals in Washington declaring, we will 
send you money for bullets, but we won't send you bulletproof vests. 
Our troops don't need folks in suits sitting in wood paneled rooms on 
Capitol Hill saying, we will send you armored tanks, but we won't send 
you gas.
  Literally, this bill forces our guys on the ground to fight a war 
with one arm tied behind their backs. That just smacks of defeat.
  Most of you in the Chamber know that I spent nearly 7 years as a 
prisoner in Vietnam, more than half of that time in solitary. Well, 
that was during my second tour in Vietnam. During my first tour, I 
worked for General Westmoreland at MAC-V Headquarters, that is the 
Military Assistance Command Vietnam.
  While working late at night, we had a bunch of men involved in the 
first real hand-to-hand combat using bayonets. You may remember that, 
John. That was war. It turns out someone sent back footage to 
Washington that would match the opening scene of ``Saving Private 
Ryan.'' In the middle of the night, the red phone rang and I answered 
it. I heard an earful that is not fit for this House Chamber, something 
like, This is the White House. What the heck is going on over there? I 
replied, I'll wake up General Westmoreland. They slammed the phone down 
and hung up. That was the control they had over our guys.
  Starting in 1965, we had folks in Washington trying to tell the 
generals how to run things on the ground in Vietnam. A generation ago, 
we saw what happens when you stop the funding and America stiffs its 
friends. As a matter of fact, we all know just this morning Iran 
captured 15 British sailors. This bill prevents us from responding from 
Kuwait to help our strong allies of British in an emergency. We show 
weakness, and the world knows it.
  Just think back to the dark day in history when we saw visions of 
American marines airlifting Vietnamese out of the U.S. embassy. You 
remember that. That is what happens when America makes a commitment; 
Congress cuts the funding, and we go home with our tails between our 
  The brave marines who died on that day in 1975 while innocent people 
desperately clung to life on a rope tied to a helicopter are a 
testimony to what happens when Congress cuts the funding and we leave 
without finishing the job.
  We can't let that happen again. And I don't think any of you on 
either side in this Chamber wants that to happen. Frankly, we all want 
our troops to come home, when the job is done. We want to win. 
Internationally announcing our timelines for withdrawal literally hands 
the enemy our war plan and gives them hope that they will win if they 
just wait it out. What world superpower would do such a thing?
  We are the United States of America. We are the premier military 
force on the globe. We are the land of the free and the home of the 
brave. Surely we do not go around announcing to the world how we will 
conduct and win a war. Surrendering is not an option, and neither do I 
think abandoning our troops is an option.
  Look around you. We are all America. Do you want to lose in Iraq? 
Voting to set a hard exit date for U.S. troops in Iraq and imposing 
strict standards for deploying forces gives hope to the enemy, and it 
is a prescription for failure. Worse, forcing Members of Congress to 
decide on this issue when the bill is cluttered with excess money for 
spinach and peanuts is abhorrent, infuriating, and ill-advised.
  My dear colleagues, if you really want to debate the merits of a time 
withdrawal, give each Member in Congress an up or down vote so we can 
vote our conscience. The sweeteners in this bill are political bribery, 
and our troops deserve more than this.
  Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot abandon our men and women in uniform 
for politically charged benchmarks wrapped up in fat-cat constituent 
projects. If we learned anything from the brave Marines who died trying 
to save innocent people that day at the embassy in Vietnam, and John, 
you know this, it is that the marines never quit. Neither should we.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, to close the debate I yield the remainder of 
our time to the distinguished Speaker of the House.
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary 
leadership of Mr. David Obey, who understands that the strength of our 
country is indeed measured in our military might but also in the health 
and well-being of the American people.
  Thank you for bringing this important legislation to the floor.
  Mr. Speaker, today is indeed an historic day. Today, this new 
Congress will take the first step: it will vote to end the war in Iraq.
  Any statement on the war in Iraq must begin with a tribute to our 
troops. Today and every day we thank our troops for their courage, for 
their patriotism, for the sacrifice that they and their families are 
willing to make.
  For 4 years and under the most demanding and dangerous conditions 
imaginable, they have worked together to do everything that was asked 
of them. As Members of Congress, our first responsibility under the 
Constitution, the preamble to the Constitution to which we take an oath 
of office, is to provide for the common defense. We here in this body 
have an obligation to work together to do that for the American people.
  Mr. Johnson, our colleague, you, Patrick Murphy, and everyone in 
between who has served our country have helped make it the home of the 
brave and the land of the free. I salute you both.
  I would like to also acknowledge two people who have been the 
champions of our troops and experts on our national security in this 
body. The two of them are the leading proponents on the legislation 
that is on the floor today: the Chair of the Armed Services Committee, 
Ike Skelton; and the Chair of the Defense Appropriations Committee, 
Jack Murtha. The two of them care deeply about the well-being of our 
troops, the readiness of our troops and its importance to our national 
security, and they are proposing that we pass this legislation today.
  I have said from the beginning of this war, this war is a grotesque 
mistake. Last year's bipartisan Iraq Study Group said: ``The situation 
in Iraq is grave and deteriorating.'' They called for action.
  The facts on the ground are these: after 4 years, Iraq is in chaos 
and the

[[Page H2981]]

government is not being held accountable. The administration is sending 
troops into the battle who are not mission-ready.

                              {time}  1215

  And when they come home, our veterans are not being honored as the 
heroes they are. The revelation of appalling conditions at Walter Reed 
Hospital and VA facilities across the Nation remind us, once again, 
that our troops are being sent into a war without the right preparation 
to welcome them home when they return. What kind of message does that 
send to our troops?
  In terms of the chaos in Iraq, our Commander in Iraq, General 
Petraeus, recently said, ``There is no military solution to a problem 
like that in Iraq.'' General Petraeus. Yet, the President's response to 
escalating levels of violence is to deploy more troops, a strategy that 
has been tried and failed, tried and without success three times 
  In the short time since the escalation began, disturbing facts have 
come to light.
  The admission by General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff, that he is, ``not comfortable'' with the readiness of Army 
units in the United States.
  The declaration whereby the Department of Defense has finally 
admitted that elements of a civil war do exist in Iraq; in fact, it is 
even worse than that.
  Yesterday, in terms of reconstruction, the conclusion of the Special 
Inspector General that the failure of the reconstruction effort in Iraq 
was caused by a lack of planning, coordination and oversight. In fact, 
more than $10 billion has disappeared, with no accountability. Waste, 
fraud and abuse are rampant in the reconstruction in Iraq.
  How are we going to win the hearts and minds if the money is 
disappearing in thin air? We must address those and other facts about 
the war in Iraq.
  The bill we debate today, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health 
and Iraq Accountability Act, does that by rebuilding our military, 
honoring our promises to our veterans, holding the Iraqi Government 
accountable, and enabling us to bring our troops home.
  Rather than sending more troops into the chaos that is the Iraqi 
civil war, we must be focused on bringing the war to an end. We can do 
that by passing this bill that transforms the performance benchmarks 
that have already been endorsed by President Bush and the Iraqi 
Government into requirements.
  When those benchmarks are met, or when it becomes clear, after a 
reasonable amount of time, that they will not be met, the bill requires 
that our troops leave Iraq on a schedule that our former colleague, Lee 
Hamilton, a cochair of the Iraq Study Group, called responsible, not 
  Benchmarks without deadlines are just words. And after 4 years of 
this war, words are not enough.
  As Former National Security Advisor Brzezinski wrote in a letter 
endorsing this bill, ``It is clear that a different approach is needed 
if the Iraqis are to be encouraged to make the political accommodations 
necessary to promote stability and national reconciliation.'' That 
should have been happening a long, long time ago.
  Bring the troops home too soon? It is too late for that, 4 years into 
a war, a war in which we have been engaged longer than we were in World 
War II.
  This bill, in its wisdom, calls upon the Defense Department to adhere 
to its own readiness standards. The benchmarks were endorsed by the 
President and the Iraqi Government. The guidelines for the readiness 
standards are the Defense Department's own. Those standards are 
intended to assure that before our troops are sent into harm's way, 
they have the training and the equipment they need to enable them to 
perform their missions successfully. That simply is not happening.
  The war in Iraq has produced a national security crisis, well 
described by Mr. Murtha and Mr. Skelton and others in the course of the 
day. Our readiness is at its lowest level since the Vietnam war. By 
addressing that crisis, the bill supports the troops, supports the 
troops, and protects the American people.
  How do we support the troops by sending them into harm's way without 
the proper training and equipment, without the proper dwell time at 
home, and taking them there and overextending their stays and 
redeploying them over and over again? This bill says, adhere to your 
own guidelines.
  Over and over again, Senator Reid, the Democratic leader in the 
Senate, and I have appealed to the President to have a new direction in 
Iraq, change the mission from combat to training, enabling us to 
redeploy our troops for limited purpose in Iraq. Engage in diplomacy, 
encourage the Iraqis to engage in the regional diplomacy so necessary 
to bring stability to the region. Have real reconstruction. Real 
reconstruction, reform it; reconstruction, not corruption. And have the 
political change that is necessary, amend the Constitution to relieve 
the civil unrest and strife that has produced so much violence.
  When we do that, we can bring our troops home. We can redeploy them 
out of Iraq, and we can turn our attention to the real war on terror in 
  A matter of weeks ago I was in Afghanistan with some of our 
colleagues, and the commander of the coalition forces there told us, 
flat out, that if we had not taken our attention away from Afghanistan, 
if we had stayed focused there, the al Qaeda and the Taliban would not 
have the opportunity that they have there now to make a comeback. That 
is where the war on terror is. The war in Iraq is a separate war from 
the war on terror. It is a separate war.
  Again, the American people have lost faith in the President's conduct 
of this war. The American people see the reality of this war. The 
President does not.
  Today, the Congress has an historic opportunity to vote to end the 
war in Iraq. Each Member of Congress will make a choice. The world is 
watching for our decision. The choice is clear. Will we renew the 
President's blank check for an open-ended war without end, or will we 
take a giant step to end the war and responsibly redeploy our troops 
out of Iraq?
  The American people want a new direction in Iraq. Today the Congress 
will provide it. The American people do not support a war without end, 
and neither should this Congress. I urge an ``aye'' vote.
  Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, today we have an opportunity to begin the 
end of American military involvement in Iraq.
  I am so troubled by the war that I'm tempted to vote no on the 
supplemental spending bill (H.R. 1591) and claim a moral victory.
  But our actions have consequences. If the war's opponents side with 
its proponents to defeat this bill, we will have won a moral victory at 
an unacceptable cost. It will give the President and our Republican 
colleagues the result they're hoping for. They know if the bill fails, 
the House will pass legislation to give the President a blank check to 
do whatever he wants in Iraq.
  H.R. 1591 contains legally binding language that will force the 
President to begin redeploying troops by March 2008 and to completely 
withdraw them by September 2008. It is the only legislation with a 
realistic chance of passing that will extract us from the war.
  H.R. 1591 makes sure that we give our troops and veterans support 
they desperately need. It includes significant increases in funding for 
healthcare services, troop readiness and protection, and military 
housing. It will fix the scandalous situation at Walter Reed Hospital. 
And, it requires overdue reforms in Iraq contracting.
  The Bush Administration is pursuing a failed, delusional policy. We 
cannot stabilize Iraq alone and we cannot do so militarily. We must 
find a diplomatic solution with Iraq's neighbors and the international 
community. H.R. 1591 puts us on that path, and I urge Members to vote 
for it.
  Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 
1591, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans Health and Iraq Accountability 
Act of 2007.
  There is no doubt that the conflict in Iraq is now a civil war marked 
primarily by sectarian violence, pitting Sunnis against Shias, with our 
troops caught in between. This bill is in fact the most responsible 
means to get our men and women out of this quagmire.
  This legislation does not call for an immediate withdrawal. Instead, 
the legislation gives Iraq's government a timeline to achieve political 
and military progress, a timeline already set by President Bush and 
Iraqi leaders. If Iraq's government fails to meet the benchmarks 
outlined in the legislation, U.S. forces must be redeployed by March 
2008. If the benchmarks are met by the deadlines established in the 
legislation, U.S. forces must be redeployed by September 2008. In doing 

[[Page H2982]]

the legislation creates leverage that the U.S. can use to hold Iraq's 
government accountable and make it ultimately responsible for creating 
a political solution to this conflict that will result in American 
troops coming home.
  I acknowledge that Congress should generally avoid trying to micro-
manage a war. When decisions need to be made, there is no time for 
committee hearings or floor votes; the Commander-in-Chief may need to 
act immediately. However, this Administration, contrary to the facts of 
the situation on the ground, continues to claim that success is around 
the corner. The then-Republican Chairman of the Senate Armed Services 
Committee stated that ``in two or three months if this thing hasn't 
come to fruition and this level of violence is not under control'' then 
we would need to rethink our policy--he made that statement six months 
  Some have suggested that any deadline is problematic. However, the 
Administration's original time estimate for the war was `six days, six 
weeks, no more than six months,' so a firm deadline 18 months from now, 
after four years of this open ended conflict, cannot create any more 
problems than we already have and in fact sets a date that we can begin 
to bring our troops home.
  Mr. Speaker, today's legislation, for the first time in the four year 
history of this conflict, finally puts real pressure on the President 
and Iraq's leaders to bring this war to an end. This bill will begin a 
responsible process to remove our forces from Iraq.

  Foreign Policy Experts Support H.R. 1591. Former National Security 
Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has stated that ``only a political solution 
will end this war,'' and that the plan approved by the House today 
provides ``a means to hold the Iraqi government accountable for its 
performance by conditioning U.S. support to the meeting of benchmarks 
already endorsed by President Bush and Iraqi leaders.''
  Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright recently stated, ``the 
bottom line is that there must be a political settlement in Iraq that 
will end the civil war and reduce the level of insecurity to something 
that can be managed. With a settlement, we could withdraw gradually, 
with mission accomplished. Without a settlement, our troops can do 
little good and might as well come home sooner rather than later.''
  In a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, 
former Congressman, 9/11 Commissioner and co-chair of the Iraq Study 
Group, Lee Hamilton said that ``a strategy of sustained pressure on the 
Iraqi government to meet benchmarks on national reconciliation, 
security, and improving the lives of the Iraqi people--backed by clear 
conditionality of U.S. support--has the best chance of advancing 
stability in Iraq.'' Congressman Hamilton added under the House 
proposal, ``the President retains his flexibility and authority as 
  High Ranking Military Officials have questioned our current policy in 
  Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.), 
former President of the National Defense University Lt Gen. Robert G. 
Gard, Jr. (Ret.), former Deputy Commander of Multinational Force Iraq 
Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, current Deputy Commander of Multinational 
Force Iraq Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, and First Head of Training of 
Troops in Iraq Maj. Gen Paul Eaton (Ret.), have all pointed out that 
the solution in Iraq is primarily political, diplomatic and economic.
  In an open letter to Congress, several retired generals and other 
high ranking military officials stated that the situation in Iraq is 
``grave and deteriorating'' and that top military officials have 
``consistently acknowledged that the repeated and lengthy deployments 
are straining'' the U.S. military.
  General David Petraeus, the new Commander of Multinational Force 
Iraq, recently declared that ``there is no military solution to a 
problem like that in Iraq.''
  I urge my colleagues to support the bill.
  Mr. MITCHELL. Mr. Speaker, today, I voted for the U.S. Troop 
Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act because it 
provides our Nation's returning troops and veterans with the care they 
need and deserve, and makes our country more secure by setting forth a 
new, responsible course in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  The people of my District have told me that after four years and 
thousands of lives lost, they are looking to Congress to ensure that 
our commitment in Iraq is not open-ended, that there is not a blank 
check on American lives, and that the Iraqi government will be held 
  While I have serious concerns about some aspects of this legislation, 
and, in general, do not support an absolute, Congressionally-mandated 
timetable in Iraq, I believe that, on balance, this legislation does 
more good than harm. Ideally, I would have preferred a more bipartisan 
approach, especially on an issue of this magnitude.
  I am deeply disappointed in my Party's leadership for insisting on a 
timetable instead of working with our colleagues on the other side of 
the aisle. I am also disappointed that leadership saw fit to include 
millions of dollars for unrelated spending projects for shrimp farmers 
and peanut storage facilities. I will be working with my colleagues to 
remove these provisions as this bill goes to conference.
  Our sons and daughters are in harm's way, however, and I cannot in 
good conscience withhold the resources they need while we continue what 
is likely to be a lengthy debate in Washington.
  I also believe that as the Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs 
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, I have a unique 
responsibility to our veterans.
  I am working hard to make caring for our veterans a national 
priority, and this legislation is a good start. It secures a much-
needed $1.7 billion for veterans' health care, including $550 million 
to get rid of the maintenance backlog that will help ensure veterans' 
facilities are clean and well-maintained.
  This bill provides $20 million to clean up the mess at the Walter 
Reed Army Medical Center. These funds, combined with the Dignity for 
Wounded Warriors Act of 2007--which I introduced last month--are an 
important first step.
  By voting this emergency supplemental down, Congress would send a 
distressing and insulting message to our injured soldiers, veterans and 
their loved ones that its years of neglectful under-funding and failed 
oversight of Walter Reed would go on and on.
  This bill also makes our country more secure. It provides our troops 
with the resources they need to fight al Qaeda and other terrorists in 
an increasingly hostile situation in Afghanistan. For too long, the 
situation in Afghanistan has gone under the radar while al Qaeda and 
elements of the Taliban have grown stronger.
  In Iraq, we are setting forth a new, responsible course that demands 
that the Iraqis take responsibility for their own security and 
stability. That requires the Iraqi government to meet its own 
  This is precisely the type of plan the bipartisan Iraq Study Group 
outlined just a few months ago. The distinguished members of that 
panel, including James Baker, Lee Hamilton and Arizona's own Sandra Day 
O'Connor, believed, as I do, that benchmarks are an appropriate way to 
chart the Iraqi government's progress, or lack thereof.
  Among these benchmarks are quelling sectarian violence, disarming 
sectarian militias and developing a plan to share oil revenues 
equitably among all Iraqis. Holding the Iraqi government accountable is 
imperative because they have not always lived up to their promises.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, this week we lost another four soldiers from 
Fort Bliss to an IED attack in Iraq. That makes a total of 35 troops 
from El Paso who went to Iraq and didn't come home.
  Remember, 35 is not just a number. It's not an abstract concept. 
Thirty-five is the number of families suffering--aunts and uncles, 
grandparents, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, children. 
There are friends, classmates, teachers, coaches, fellow soldiers, 
colleagues, and so many others who are connected to the lives of our 
lost heroes.
  The cost of this war has been too high not just in terms of lives 
lost and warriors wounded. We have poured taxpayers' money into Iraq. 
We have spent 500 billion--half a trillion!--dollars to that country. 
And as we have increased our investment in Iraq, we have less and less 
to show for it. Rather than progress, our billions of dollars have 
produced civil war.
  Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the Iraq War, my colleagues know two 
things about me. One, I opposed this war from the beginning. It was a 
mistake. Two, since the Iraq War began, I have been committed to our 
troops and to supporting the best possible outcome.
  As a Vietnam veteran I know what combat is about. I have visited Iraq 
seven times. I have been to Afghanistan many times. I know what our 
troops require. I have worked out of the spotlight behind the closed 
doors of the Intelligence Committee and in the Armed Services 
Committee. My focus has been providing our soldiers with the tools they 
need to complete their mission and return home safely--body and vehicle 
armor, IED jammers, and timely, accurate intelligence.
  And I'm proud of that work. I'm saddened that our troops didn't have 
the protection they needed right off the bat, and I'm ashamed we went 
to war with bad intelligence, but I'm proud of the work we've done in 
committee to set things right when we could.
  But today we send a strong message, that it is long overdue for the 
Iraqis to stand up for their country, for the Iraqis to assume 
responsibility for their security and for their political decisions.
  If Iraq is to become a democracy--and we're willing to stay and help 
them with training, other support functions--but after four years it's 
time that they accept responsibility for their own future. And that's 
what this legislation is about.
  More importantly, this bill takes care of our troops. It brings them 
home. And once our troops are home, this bill commits our government to 
caring for our troops and veterans in

[[Page H2983]]

a fashion that reflects the sacrifices they have made for our country.
  Mr. Speaker, I've been listening to the arguments of my colleagues on 
the other side. One thing I'm struck by is how similar the arguments 
I'm hearing today are to what they've been saying for the past four 
years. Every step of the way, my colleagues on the other side have been 
wrong on our policy in Iraq. Yet they pony up the same rhetoric, the 
same rationale for the same policies that have gotten us nowhere but 
into the middle of a civil war.
  For four long years, our troops have made immeasurable sacrifices in 
Iraq, and now it is time for the Iraqis to step up and take 
responsibility for their own security.
  Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I would like to submit this 
letter from Connecticut Governor Rell for the Record. This letter to 
Chairman Skelton echoes the sentiment that has been debated in this 
Chamber and reaffirms why the bill before us today is so important. As 
we move forward with a new direction in Iraq, we must address the 
readiness of our military; we must provide the necessary support and 
equipment to our troops--this includes the National Guard in 
Connecticut and across the country.

                                             State of Connecticut,

                                        Hartford, Connecticut,

                                                   March 21, 2007.
     Hon. Ike Skelton,
     Chairman, House Armed Services Committee,
     Washington, DC,
     Hon. Duncan Hunter,
     Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee, Washington, 
       Dear Chairman Skelton and Ranking Member Hunter: I am 
     writing to express my concern regarding the consequences of 
     continued, long-term equipment shortages facing the 
     Connecticut Army National Guard. This issue impacts 
     Connecticut's ability to respond to domestic emergencies as 
     well as meet the requirements of the Global War on Terrorism.
       At this time the Connecticut Army National Guard only has 
     48 percent of its authorized equipment, with 10 percent of 
     that in the possession of Soldiers deployed overseas to 
     Afghanistan and Iraq. Connecticut's shortfall is 
     unfortunately representative of the equipment shortages 
     facing Governors and their Guard units across this Nation. 
     Currently the national average stands at 40 percent of 
     authorized National Guard equipment on-hand within the 54 
     states and territories.
       The equipment shortages in the Connecticut Army National 
     Guard exceed $200 million. The specific shortages include the 
       Over 200 High-Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles 
       One CH-47D Chinook cargo helicopter.
       21 Large Support Vehicles (wreckers, tankers, heavy cargo 
       Over 600 Weapons (rifles, pistols, and crew-served 
       Over 1,500 Night Vision Goggles.
       The Secretary of Defense's new mobilization policy now 
     requires that units of the Army National Guard meet training 
     requirements and certification prior to mobilization. The 
     certification of these units is now the responsibility of the 
     State Adjutant General. To fully implement this policy, the 
     Army National Guard needs a reasonable density of equipment 
     in order to adequately train and certify Soldiers and their 
     units for war. With the current lack of equipment making this 
     task nearly impossible, this long-awaited policy change is 
     sure to fail.
       It is foreseeable that units with less than 40% of their 
     authorized equipment will experience significant difficulties 
     and delays in certification and validation for deployment. 
     This delay could extend the length of mobilization of units 
     and the redeployment of units in theater, thus disrupting the 
     deployment cycle. The shortage of equipment on-hand not only 
     impacts the Army National Guard's ability to train for 
     deployment, but also directly impacts its ability to respond 
     to state emergencies and disasters.
       The Army National Guard is a proven, cost-effective, 
     capable combat force in the Global War on Terrorism and an 
     essential state force provider when called to respond at 
     times of domestic disaster and emergency. It is for these 
     reasons, I respectfully request that you consider the urgent 
     need to fully fund and equip our Army National Guard. When 
     the next natural disaster or terrorist act hits, the Nation 
     will be counting on us all to get the response and recovery 
     right. We could make no better investment toward delivering 
     against that expectation than to ensure our National Guard's 
     capabilities are appropriately resourced and robust.
                                                     M. Jodi Rell,

  Mr. CASTLE. Mr. Speaker, regrettably, I rise in opposition to the 
Fiscal Year 2007 Emergency Supplemental Spending bill.
  Earlier this year, our military submitted a request to Congress for 
emergency funding to protect our brave soldiers, and it is our duty to 
respond to this important request in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, 
the legislation before us today includes billions of dollars in non-
emergency spending and numerous provisions relating to troop withdrawal 
not requested by the Administration, which have the potential to delay 
passage of this vital emergency funding.
  Much of the extra spending included in this bill will go to wasteful 
pork barrel projects and non-emergency subsidy programs, including 
millions of dollars for spinach farmers in California and peanut 
storage in Georgia. While I have strongly supported some of the policy 
provisions added to this bill, such as the minimum wage increase and 
expanded funding for homeland security, I am concerned that the 
Democratic leadership is attempting to hold critical resources for our 
soldiers in limbo in order to force political votes.
  Our military leaders on the ground in Iraq have warned that 
disruptive changes in day-to-day operations will occur without 
immediate supplemental funding. In fact, the acting Secretary of the 
Army recently stated that if it does not receive additional funding by 
the end of April, the military will be forced to start making difficult 
decisions, such as postponing repairs on equipment. Sadly, rather than 
providing our military with the tools it has requested, the Democratic 
leadership is forcing a political agenda, which is certain to lead to 
an impasse with the Administration and further delay this important 
  I have disagreed with many aspects of our strategy in Iraq, and I 
have worked hard to convince our government to change its course in the 
region and begin pursuing robust diplomacy to end the conflict. Indeed, 
I am hopeful that my efforts, and those of my colleagues, have prompted 
the Administration to begin engaging in an intense diplomatic 
initiative to establish peace and stability, so that our troops may 
return home to their families. However, when it comes to funding for 
our soldiers who are serving in harm's way, it is not appropriate for 
Congress to set arbitrary timelines for withdrawal or condition 
military resources based on partisan objectives. It is important that 
our strategy in Iraq include goals for bringing the troops home, but 
excluding the judgment of U.S. commanders and mandating an exact 
deadline for withdrawal--regardless of the situation on the ground--
would endanger our brave soldiers.
  Mr. Speaker, the President has pledged to veto this legislation due 
to the inclusion of non-emergency spending and policy provisions. We 
can not afford to waste precious time arguing over disingenuous 
political proposals and extraneous pork barrel spending projects. I 
intend to vote against this bill and I will adamantly oppose any 
attempts to play politics with funding for our soldiers.
  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. Speaker, the matter before us today, the Iraq 
Supplemental, is before us for the first time. However, this is not the 
last time that we will vote on this bill. This bill will go to the 
Senate and from the Senate to a Conference Committee and from there 
back to the floor of this house. If the President exercises his veto 
power, we may ultimately vote on this matter as many as three or four 
  Today, I make no commitments about what I will do or how I will vote 
when this matter comes back to this house. How could I? I don't know 
what this bill will look like when it comes back . . . I don't know 
what it will say. Rather, I rise to explain how I will vote today, as 
this bill comes before this house for the first time.
  It is clear to me that today, we have only two options. We can send 
to the Senate the bill before us, with binding language to end the war 
or, should this bill fail, we will send a bill that gives the President 
unchecked power to continue his misguided, mismanaged war without end.
  That is the choice today. And my vote will be ``yes'' to advance the 
bill which begins to end the war. Reaching this decision has been 
difficult. My deliberation has been long and thoughtful. The difficulty 
of the decision may seem somewhat surprising given the rather stark 
description I just provided of the choice before us. However, there are 
several reasons why this decision has been hard.
  First, the bill before us, despite its binding language to end the 
war, is far from perfect. It does not end the war soon enough. It 
mishandles the issue of Iraqi oil. It fails to address necessary 
safeguards to prevent this President from taking military action in 
Iran without Congressional authorization. The bill's shortcomings are 
reason enough for a no vote.
  Second, until today . . . until this vote . . . I have played a 
different role. My job yesterday, and the day before (like so many war 
opponents) was to fight to make the language in this bill stronger and 
to make this legislation better. And having failed to accomplish all I 
sought to achieve provides me with another reason to vote no.
  Third, until this day I have voted against all of the Iraqi war 
spending bills. I strongly favor using the power of the purse to end 
the war. That this binding language to end the war is attached to a war 
funding bill provided me with yet another reason to vote no.
  Many on the left have invoked the words of Saul Alinsky in describing 
today's vote: ``. . . I start from where the world is, as it is, not as 
I would like it to be,'' he says in his book Rules for Radicals. ``That 
we accept the world

[[Page H2984]]

as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what 
we believe it should be--it is necessary to begin where the world is if 
we are going to change it to what we think it should be,'' Alinsky 
continues. So today we start where this congressional world is, with 
this imperfect bill as the vehicle to begin to end the war.
  The choice is clear, today we can begin to end the war, or we can 
stand in the way of doing so. I will vote to end the war.
  Mr. STARK. Mr. Speaker, today's vote is very difficult for me.
  I support the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
  The U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability 
Act is a significant improvement over the President's failed Iraq 
policies. For years, Bush has sent our troops into harms way without 
the proper equipment. Today's legislation aims to hold the 
Administration accountable for its own readiness standards--and for the 
benchmarks President Bush himself proposed for Iraqi government 
performance. This bill also goes farther toward providing an actual end 
date for this war than any other legislation that has reached the House 
  I applaud Speaker Pelosi, Jack Murtha, and Dave Obey for this 
significant achievement. I wish I could support my Speaker today and 
vote with the overwhelming majority of my Democratic colleagues. But, I 
can't vote ``yes.''
  I ran for Congress because of my strong opposition to our 
government's unyielding commitment to the Vietnam War. I didn't think 
it made sense for American men and women to die for the half-truths of 
the Johnson and Nixon Administrations. Today, I don't think it makes 
any more sense for lives to be lost for the outright lies of the Bush 
  I voted against the original resolution authorizing the President to 
take military action against Iraq. At the time, I said I didn't trust 
this president and his advisors.
  During the war's four long years, nothing has happened to convince me 
otherwise. On the contrary, the Bush Administration has repeatedly 
misled the American people about Iraq. They lied to Congress about 
Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, about the cost and length of the 
war, and about meeting arbitrary benchmarks.
  Their goalposts keep moving. The amount of money they requested for 
this supplemental alone is nearly twice the amount they initially 
projected the war would cost in its entirety.
  Throughout my career in Congress, I've voted against defense spending 
and against war. Building new weapons systems and waging war doesn't 
solve problems. If the last four years are any indication, it actually 
makes them worse.
  The longer we stay in Iraq, the higher the cost of this senseless 
war. Unless we withdraw immediately, the Shiite-Sunni civil war will 
continue taking the lives of additional American troops and Iraqi 
civilians. Education, health care, and other domestic needs will go 
under-funded in America while additional billions are spent in Iraq. 
And our international allies will further doubt our actions and 
intentions around the world.
  Despite my utmost respect for my colleagues who crafted this bill, I 
can't in good conscience vote to continue this war. Nor, however, can I 
vote ``no'' and join those who think today's legislation goes too far 
toward withdrawal.
  That's why I'm making the difficult decision to vote ``present.'' My 
vote should be interpreted as opposing the war's continuation while 
permitting this Congress--under Speaker Pelosi's leadership--to deliver 
a strong message to President Bush that his blank check to wage war has 
been canceled.
  I urge my colleagues to vote their consciences and help end the war 
in Iraq.
  Mr. BAIRD. Mr. Speaker, no votes in Congress are more wrenching or 
difficult than those involving war; whether that vote involves 
initiating combat, or in this instance, steps to bring about the end. 
The consequences are profound, uncertainty about the right course is 
great, and there are strong feelings on all sides.
  Every member of Congress is committed to the security of this Nation 
and to supporting our troops and their families. There are legitimate 
differences about how best to achieve those goals, but the core 
commitment to security and to support of our troops should not be 
doubted or questioned, regardless of where one stands on this matter.
  Before the first vote authorizing force in Iraq in 2002, I asked 
fundamental questions of the President: `What will the cost be in human 
casualties on all sides? What are the international and potential 
regional scenarios that might be developed? What is our long term 
strategy for the region?' I also asked about the economic costs to our 
Nation and the world, and about the likelihood of religious conflicts 
leaving our soldiers caught between warring religious factions with 
grievances that are centuries old. I asked what provisions had been 
made to care for the wounded and their families when they return? I 
called for greater commitment to resolving the Israeli/Palestinian 
issues and for reducing our Nation's dependence on petroleum. Finally, 
knowing well the history of the region, I asked how long our commitment 
was expected to last if hostilities were initiated.
  Not one of these questions was answered by President Bush, Secretary 
Rumsfeld or any member of the administration. That is why I voted 
``no'' on that initial resolution. Sadly, the same questions remain 
today and they have still not been answered by the President, which is 
why I will vote ``yes'' on the bill before the House today.
  For the sake of our Nation's security, for the safety or our troops, 
for the sake of our economy at home, for the sake of our international 
standing, we must say to the Iraqi leaders and to the world, `We have 
removed a dictator from power, we have disarmed a tyrant, elections 
have been held, and a constitution is in place. We have shed the blood 
of our finest, we have indebted our children, we have tried to help 
rebuild infrastructure and put in place the basis of a democratic 
republic. Now, it is up to the Iraqi people themselves to find a 
political solution that is in everyone's interest and will lead to an 
end to the bloodshed.' Our Nation cannot and should not attempt to 
impose that solution indefinitely; it must come from the Iraqis 
  Today's bill says just that. It provides the necessary funds to 
continue to support our soldiers in the field. It adds much needed 
resources to ensure they receive care when they come home. It addresses 
needed priorities within our own Nation. And, most importantly, it says 
affirmatively, there will be an end to our role in combat in Iraq and 
it is time for our Nation, for the Iraqis, and for the world, to begin 
to prepare for that time. This cannot go on forever.
  Those who talk about staying the course without end, as well as those 
who would call for opposing this bill because they want the war to end 
tomorrow, must all recognize that in the process of this conflict, our 
overall military readiness has been profoundly impaired and our Nation 
is now vulnerable should other, more severe, threats emerge elsewhere 
in the world. At the same time, our local preparedness of the National 
Guard is in tatters. Our Guard lacks key resources, equipment, and 
manpower to respond to fires, floods, or other disasters or to join in 
serious conflicts elsewhere if called upon to do so. This bill, quite 
rightly, seeks to correct these deficits.
  The reality before us today is that we cannot immediately stop 
funding for our forces or neglect the readiness deficits that now 
endanger our Nation. That would be irresponsible and would leave our 
soldiers on the ground and our citizens at home and abroad in greater 
danger. It would also endanger the lives and hopes of the Iraqi people 
themselves and leave them vulnerable to extremists and chaos.
  At the same time, however, it would be equally irresponsible to allow 
this hemorrhaging of blood and money, this neglect of our own Nation's 
needs here at home, to continue unchecked. This legislation changes the 
direction for our Nation and says the Iraqi's must change the direction 
of their Nation. They must take responsibility for their own security, 
share their oil wealth equitably with their own citizens, arid 
establish fundamental constitutional reforms. This bill requires that 
our President must certify that such things are being done.
  Far from `tying the hands' of the President, this legislation gives 
him much needed direction. If it becomes law, President Bush must at 
long last say that his own people, the American people, in the 
constitutional democratic republic that is our Nation, and that he is 
sworn to defend, have spoken through their representatives and have 
said it is time for change. It will soon be up to the Iraqi's 
themselves to determine the fate of their own Nation so that we can, at 
long last, may again determine the fate of ours.
  If you care about the security of this Nation, vote ``yes'' to 
restore our military readiness. If you care about our soldiers, vote 
``yes'' to give them the equipment they need while deployed and the 
care they need when they return home. If you want to see an end to this 
conflict, vote ``yes'' to begin the process that will at last bring 
that about.
  Mr. BACA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1591, the U.S. 
Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act.
  I voted against this war 5 years ago and believe we should never have 
gone into Iraq.
  But as a veteran, I stand by our troops and have always committed to 
providing for them regardless of politics.
  And H.R. 1591 supports our troops before, during, and after service. 
It mandates proper training and equipment, it requires that our troops 
get the rest they need between deployments to stay sharp, and provides 
for our wounded as they return from battle.
  This bill also sets deadlines for the Iraqi government so that we can 
start shifting responsibility to the Iraqi people and bring our troops 
home by 2008 at the very latest.

[[Page H2985]]

  Mr. Speaker, we have 160,000 American troops on the ground in Iraq 
right now, many of which lack proper equipment and training.
  We also have 32,000 wounded soldiers from the Iraq conflict who need 
medical attention and assistance to get back on their feet.
  Unfortunately, we have a veteran healthcare system that is failing. 
Report after report indicates under funding, neglect, improper conduct, 
and almost no accountability.
  If the tragedies at Walter Reed Army Medical Center have taught us 
anything, it is that wartime spending shouldn't just stop with tanks 
and guns.
  It needs to extend to taking care of our wounded heroes and their 
families after they return from the battlefield.
  Mr. Speaker, I recently visited our returning veterans at Walter Reed 
Medical Center. And what I saw there just broke my heart.
  Some of our wounded told me their doctors weren't giving them the 
attention they needed and that they even had to prove to the medical 
staff that they were injured!
  One man in particular really touched my heart. I met a wounded 
soldier from my home State of California who told me about his father 
who had dropped everything, closed his business, and flew to Washington 
so that he could take care of his son full time.
  This young man's family not only had to risk their son for this war, 
they're now sacrificing their livelihood to help him recuperate.
  And yet sadly, he's one of the lucky ones.
  What about the majority of military families who simply can't afford 
to quit their jobs, move cross-country and take care of their husbands, 
wives, and children?
  The fact is, Mr. Speaker, the American people shouldn't have to put 
up with these hardships.
  They shouldn't have to worry that their family members in uniform are 
getting the best care possible.
  How poorly does it reflect on us as a Nation when we don't adequately 
take care of our veterans when they come back home?
  Veterans healthcare is one of the most neglected and underfunded 
programs in this country.
  This isn't just embarrassing, it is unconscionable.
  We have a duty to minimize the risk to our troops and their families 
by making sure they have the very best training, the finest equipment, 
and stay deployed only as long as absolutely necessary.
  Furthermore, we have a moral obligation to take care of each and 
every soldier who has been injured in the line of duty in defense of 
our great Nation.
  H.R. 1591 addresses these responsibilities and that's why I will vote 
in favor of this bill today.
  The American people have already paid too high a price for this war.
  3,233 soldiers have died in Iraq, including 10 men from my own 
  We owe it to these heroes to set a deadline for withdrawal and let 
our soldiers move on with their lives.
  We owe it to our families who are praying for the safety of their 
loved ones to take care of our troops every step of the way.
  That's why I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1591.
  Mr. MURPHY of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, 9 years ago on this floor, 
Congressman Floyd Spence, the Republican Chairman of the Armed Services 
Committee, had this to say about the bill withdrawing American forces 
from Bosnia: ``The time is long overdue for Congress to express its 
will on behalf of the American people.''
  I couldn't say it better myself. In this place, the People's House, 
the will of the people must mean something. Elections must mean 
something. And if the 2006 election represented anything, it was that 
the American people were tired of the lack of oversight and 
accountability from this Congress, and they were tired of a war with 
growing numbers of casualties, and mounting costs with no end in sight. 
They asked for a new direction from this Congress, and The U.S. Troop 
Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, is the answer 
to their call.
  There are many of us who feel uncomfortable giving this President 
another dime to spend to perpetuate this misguided and shortsighted 
strategy in Iraq. But I come here to support this legislation because 
for the first time since the start of this disastrous engagement, 
Congress is making sure that any further spending on this war comes 
with unprecedented support for our troops and veterans, and a real plan 
to redeploy our forces and resources to fights that we can still win.
  This Administration has been wrong on just about everything about 
Iraq--there were no weapons of mass destruction, we were not welcome as 
liberators, the country has plunged into a civil war, and we have no 
exit strategy.
  The days of issuing a blank check to this Administration with no 
questions asked are over. As we enter the fifth year of this war, 
people in Connecticut and across the country demand a change in our 
policy in Iraq. This bill is the change that they asked for.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1591, the 
U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act.
  This legislation will support our troops and veterans, hold the Bush 
Administration and Iraqi government accountable and bring our soldiers 
home by August 2008 or sooner. It will also provide emergency funding 
for critical programs that have suffered from years of neglect.
  This supplemental appropriations bill provides emergency funding for 
critical programs that have long been underfunded by the Republicans. 
It includes $750 million to correct the funding shortfall in the State 
Children's Health Insurance program so that hundreds of thousands of 
children will not lose their health care. It provides $2.9 billion for 
Katrina relief and recovery. The bill also includes $2.6 billion for 
homeland security needs left unaddressed by Congressional Republicans, 
as well as $1.7 billion to remedy the unconscionable state of our 
military and veterans' health care systems. All of these issues are 
emergencies in their own right and rise to the level of inclusion in 
this emergency supplemental spending bill.
  The U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability 
Act requires the Iraqi government to meet the security, political and 
economic benchmarks established by the President in his address of 
January 10th, including improvements in the performance of the Iraqi 
security forces, a greater commitment by the Iraqi government to 
national reconciliation, and reductions in the levels of sectarian 
violence in Iraq.
  If the Iraqi government is unable to meet these benchmarks by July 7 
of this year, redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq would begin 
immediately and must be completed by January of 2008. If the benchmarks 
are met, the latest possible starting date for redeployment would be 
March 1 of next year, with complete withdrawal by August 31.
  The bill ensures that our troops have the tools and resources they 
need to do the job they have been asked to do. It prohibits the 
deployment of troops who are not fully trained, equipped and protected 
according to current Department of Defense standards. The President can 
only deploy unprepared troops if he certifies, in writing, to Congress, 
that deploying those troops in the national interest. The bill also 
provides funding so the Veterans Administration can meet the 
obligations of a new generation of veterans, particularly by ensuring 
that they will have the medical care they need.
  I have been an outspoken opponent of military action against Iraq 
since the day the administration started beating the war drums. My 
preference would have been to vote for a stronger bill that would bring 
our troops home even sooner than this one. I am disappointed that the 
bill includes waivers to allow the President to send less than fully-
equipped troops into battle. I am also unhappy that the provision 
requiring the president to get Congressional approval for an attack on 
Iran was removed from the bill. I have additional concerns about the 
section of the bill that allows an unspecified number of U.S. troops to 
remain in Iraq after the August 2008 deadline to train Iraqis and fight 
  However, I support this legislation in spite of these deficiencies 
because I believe it is an affirmative step towards our ultimate goal 
of ending the war. This bill is not everything that I would have liked, 
but it represents a critical turning point. No longer will this body 
uncritically hand over billions of dollars for the President to wage 
endless war. For the first time, Congress is considering binding 
legislation that sets a date certain for the end of the Iraq war. I 
will not help the Republicans defeat it.
  The President and most Congressional Republicans ask that we continue 
to fund this war with ``no strings attached.'' But the United States 
cannot afford an open-ended commitment to a war without end. It is the 
responsibility of this Congress to devise a means to end the U.S. 
combat role in Iraq so that we can reclaim our position of leadership 
in the world and direct our resources back towards urgent needs here at 
home. I believe that this bill moves us towards these goals in an 
effective and responsible way.
  Mr. RUSH. Mr. Speaker, today marks an historic vote, one that will go 
down in history and signal a turning pointing in the war in Iraq. Much 
like the vote authorizing the President to go to war in 2002, this vote 
will be a defining moment, and one that will be discussed and debated 
for years to come.
  While I do not believe this is a perfect bill, I personally would 
vote to bring our troops home today if that was an option, in fact this 
bill is the best compromise that could be adopted. Finally, there is an 
end in sight to this ill-conceived war, and Congress is sending a 
message to the Iraqis, that our sons and

[[Page H2986]]

daughters will not continue to shed blood to defend their country 
  We are sending the Iraqi government a message, that the time to step 
up their own efforts to bring peace and stability to their own land is 
fast approaching.
  Mr. Speaker, this vote is one of conscience and the decision to vote 
for or against it is deeply personal. But let us make no mistake, the 
consequences of our actions here today will be widely felt and the 
impact will be broad and far-ranging. The American people are watching 
closely, and the eyes of the world are on us as well.
  Today's vote is an example of what makes America great and what makes 
our democracy so strong. The fact that we, as elected Members of 
Congress, can express the will of the American people and compel the 
Administration to alter its misguided policies of war, demonstrates the 
essence of American society.
  After years of having a free reign, with no accountability, 
consultation, or oversight from Congress, the President will now be 
compelled to listen to the will of Congress, and therefore the will of 
the American people.
  Winning the war in Iraq will require a political and diplomatic 
offensive, not sending more of our men and women into harm's way to 
facilitate a civil war. With a clear conscience, but a heavy heart I 
cast my vote for the Iraq supplemental. My only solace is that we 
finally can see an end to this ill-fated war.
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1591, 
legislation that would chart a new course for the United States in 
Iraq. I commend the gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr. Obey, and the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Murtha, for their leadership and for 
drafting a measure that answers Americans' calls for real change.
  Four years after our nation initiated military operations in Iraq, 
America demands a new approach to this open-ended conflict that has 
resulted in the deaths of more than 3,200 service members, including at 
least 25 with strong ties to Rhode Island. Our operations in Iraq have 
endangered the ability of our armed forces to respond to other crises, 
distracted from efforts to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban, and damaged 
our international reputation. Our military now finds itself in the 
middle of a civil war, and it is time to bring our troops home.
  Despite calls by the Iraq Study Group for a new approach to the 
``grave and deteriorating'' situation in Iraq, President Bush has 
proposed escalating military operations, sending more troops to 
prosecute a war mismanaged from the start by the civilian leadership. 
Fortunately, we have another choice. The House of Representatives will 
vote today on an emergency spending bill that would, for the first 
time, set a clear deadline to end U.S. combat operations in Iraq. As 
one who originally voted against giving the President authority to 
invade Iraq, I will proudly support this Democratic measure as the 
first real step to end the war.
  Last November, an American public dissatisfied with President Bush's 
Iraq policy elected a Democratic Congress that promised a new 
direction. Having heard frustration from so many Rhode Islanders, I 
have worked with the Democratic leadership to develop a better 
strategy. I spoke of my conversations with military families and 
advocacy groups to underscore the sincerity and passion of Rhode 
Islanders' call for change. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders consulted 
with an array of current and former military commanders, foreign policy 
experts and advocates, with committees holding more than 100 hearings 
on operations in Iraq.
  The bill before us is the direct result of those efforts and reflects 
the will of the American people. Not only does it demand accountability 
by establishing clear benchmarks for Iraqis to take control of their 
own security, but it also sets a deadline to bring our troops home--no 
later than August 2008. This measure sends a clear signal to the 
President and the world that we do not intend to remain an occupying 
force in Iraq.
  The bill also addresses other serious problems facing our military 
andf their families. President Bush has recommended sending more troops 
into harm's way, but has not provided the resources they need upon 
their return home, as demonstrated by reports of substandard care at 
facilities such as Walter Reed Medical Center. With nearly 25,000 
American troops--among them 93 Rhode Islanders--injured in Iraq thus 
far, the House spending bill provides an additional $2.8 billion for 
military health care and $1.7 billion for veterans' health care to 
ensure that those who have sacrificed for our nation get the support 
and treatment they deserve.
  Furthermore, the bill adds critical funds to restore our military 
readiness and re-equip National Guard and Reserve forces, which face 
major shortages as a result of operations in Iraq. Lt. General H. 
Steven Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, has stated that 88 
percent of Army Guard units and 45 percent of Air Guard units are 
unprepared for deployment as a result of equipment shortages. We depend 
on our National Guard to protect us in the event of catastrophes or 
natural disasters, and we must ensure they are fully prepared to defend 
the Nation they serve.
  In Congress, I have constantly strived to protect our national 
security and to support our military, which has served valiantly in 
some incredibly challenging missions. At this point, though, the 
Iraqis' problems no longer require a U.S. military solution. The 
underlying causes of violence are primarily political and must be 
addressed as such. Unlike the President's plan, which promises more of 
the same failed policy, the Democratic approach will support the 
political process to end sectarian divisions in Iraq, help rebuild the 
economy and infrastructure, and promote maximum diplomatic efforts to 
bring an end to the violence.
  Some have argued that the bill does not go far enough. Like them, I 
support an even earlier exit for our troops and have co-sponsored 
legislation to redeploy them out of Iraq by December 31, 2007. However, 
there is no question that the Democratic measure being offered marks a 
major turning point and answers Rhode Islanders' pleas by setting a 
firm deadline for withdrawal. This is a tremendous step--one which 
serves our troops, our constituents, and our conscience--and I will 
wholeheartedly support it.
  Mr. ISRAEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution.
  Is this the perfect solution? No. But how can there be a perfect 
solution to a war so imperfectly devised, so catastrophically planned, 
so horribly managed by the Bush administration?
  This resolution turns in a better direction. It provides health care 
to our veterans.
  It provides support to our warfighters.
  It demands accountability from our President.
  And it creates the process to redeploy our troops.
  I voted for the use of force in Iraq, Mr. Speaker. I believed then, 
as I believe now, that the Middle East is an exceedingly dangerous 
region on the brink of an eruption that threatens global security.
  But the war in Iraq did not stabilize the Middle East. It has 
destabilized it.
  Before the war in Iraq, Iran was concerned about Israel. Today, 
Israel is concerned about Iran.
  Before the war in Iraq, there was no such thing as ``Al Queda in 
Iraq''. Today, there is.
  Before the war in Iraq, our military was capable of swiftly and 
decisively responding to multiple threats, foreign and domestic. Just 
yesterday, the New York National Guard reported to my office that it 
has only 37 percent of the mission critical transportation it needs to 
respond to a homeland security emergency in my state: whether it's a 
terrorist attack or a severe hurricane.
  This resolution reinvests in the priorities we need. And it says to 
both the Iraqi government and the Bush Administration:
  ``No more blank checks. No more endless commitments.''
  Many are troubled with the inclusion of a strategic withdrawal of our 
troops between December of this year and August of next. Mr. Speaker.
  And I must be honest. I have struggled with this as well. The 
decision should be hard. It should be contentious. It should torment us 
all. Because no matter what we do, the stakes are high. The 
consequences are great.
  If you lean to the right, an August 2008 redeployment is way too 
  If you lean to the left, an August 2008 redeployment is way too long.
  I reached my own judgment a few months ago. Based not on polls, not 
on politics, not on the convenience of sound-bytes on either side of 
the aisle and not on righteous absolutism that can only be formulated 
in a vacuum. I formed it after listening to the Commanding General of 
CENTCOM testify to the Armed Services Committee that we had until the 
middle of this year before Baghdad spins out of control. Shortly after 
that, the Iraq Study Group, after months of non-partisan work and 
study, reached the judgment that: ``By the first quarter of 2008, 
subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the 
ground, all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be 
out of Iraq.''
  The middle of this year to the middle of next year.
  Those are the benchmarks, Mr. Speaker. Those are the nonpartisan, 
nonpolitical, balanced and reasoned benchmarks.
  And those benchmarks are contained in this resolution.
  Finally, Mr. Speaker, let me say this: Today Republicans and 
Democrats will disagree. Fair enough. But it's time to stop thinking 
about our disagreements and begin working together on our agreements.
  Last week, several members of the House Center Aisle Caucus, which I 
have the privilege of co-chairing, met to discuss cooperating on 
several Iraq initiatives. This week. I introduced the first of these 
bipartisan measures with the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Davis), the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Carney), the gentleman from Louisiana 

[[Page H2987]]

Boustany). Our resolution requires the President to submit a Status Of 
Forces Agreement to the Iraq government, just as we have with other 
governments where we have a military presence. This will send the 
message that we are not occupiers of Iraq. And we follow the rule of 
  I mention this now, Mr. Speaker, in the hopes that my colleagues who 
wish to join us in constructive ways forward will join us. That the 
debate will turn from left and right to forward.
  That is what our troops want. That is what our constituents want. 
That is our obligation.
  Mr. TERRY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 1591, a 
pork-laden $124.3 billion war supplemental that would force U.S. troops 
to withdraw from Iraq.
  I strongly support benchmarks and high accountability for military 
and political progress in Iraq, but not in a manner that hurts our 
chances of accomplishing those goals. Under this legislation, U.S. 
troops would be withdrawn from Iraq unless the President's benchmarks 
for progress are met by July. This unreasonable requirement would not 
give General Petraeus enough time to show if the new ``troop surge'' is 
  In addition, this bill would force U.S. troops to withdraw by August 
2008 regardless of whether the benchmarks are met. Members of Congress 
should not be dictating strategy to our generals in the field.
  The authors of this bill are talking out of both sides of their 
mouths. In attempting to reach a compromise, they would fund the troop 
surge while dooming it to failure by not allowing enough time to see if 
it works. It is clear that a forthright and honest vote on withdrawing 
U.S. troops would fail. The Majority Party's Leadership has instead 
chosen to entice Members of Congress with pork-barrel spending in 
exchange for their vote on this bill.
  The Washington Post reported: ``House Democratic leaders are offering 
billions in federal funds for lawmakers'' pet projects large and small 
to secure enough votes this week to pass an Iraq funding bill that 
would end the war next year.''
  This so-called ``emergency'' war supplemental includes non-defense 
spending such as $283 million in milk subsidies, $474 million in peanut 
subsidies, and $25 million in spinach subsidies.
  This legislation abandons the Majority Party's supposed leadership on 
fiscal discipline. It is a hypocritical and blatant attempt to gain 
votes from Members of Congress through special interest spending. The 
bill includes non-military items such as an increase in the minimum 
wage, tax relief for small businesses, drought aid, hurricane relief, 
agricultural subsidies and funds for child health insurance. Each of 
these items should be debated under regular order in the House.
  I strongly support the defense-related spending items in this 
legislation, including critical equipment for our troops and health 
care improvements for our veterans such as funding for Walter Reed Army 
Medical Center. I was also proud to sign the discharge petition to vote 
on Congressman Sam Johnson's legislation to ensure full funding of our 
  We must demand meaningful progress in Iraq to curb sectarian 
violence, disarm militias, train security forces and strengthen the arm 
of the new Iraqi government until Iraq can govern itself. However, H.R. 
1591 is clearly not the answer. Immediately withdrawing U.S. troops 
would be an irresponsible display of politics that would endanger 
future generations of Americans.
  I urge all of my colleagues to join me in voting against this 
legislation, and to demand a ``clean'' war supplemental that meets the 
needs of our troops without pork-barrel politics.
  Mr. ETHERIDGE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this important 
  This supplemental appropriations bill contains vitally important 
funding for critical priorities and unmet needs. For example, this bill 
includes $1.7 billion more than the President requested for military 
health care, including funds to correct the scandalous conditions at 
Walter Reed and other military hospitals. It includes another $1.7 
billion for veterans' health care, $2.5 billion for improving the 
readiness of our stateside troops and $1.4 billion for military housing 
allowances. A nation at war simply must provide necessary funds to 
support our troops.
  In addition, this legislation includes $3.1 billion for military 
construction to implement the BRAC mandates that impact Fort Bragg in 
my Congressional District and military communities all across the 
country. It is important to note that the former Republican 
Congressional Majority failed to pass the military construction 
appropriations and imperiled these priority projects. This legislation 
corrects that failure.
  Mr. Speaker, the standards and benchmarks in this legislation will 
assert some measure of oversight and accountability to a war policy 
that has been tragically mismanaged by this administration for too 
long. I have resisted supporting date certain language for troop 
redeployment because it is preferable that the executive branch have 
the lead in foreign policy in partnership with the legislature. 
Unfortunately, this Administration has mistakenly interpreted that 
deference as a blank check for its go-it-alone approach. No more.
  The President's speech this week calling for ``courage and resolve'' 
demonstrated a continued state of denial. The American people do not 
need more lectures from this President about resolve. Our troops do not 
need more lectures about courage. What we need is a new direction to 
rebuild our military and refocus on the true threat to America from al 
Qaeda and the Islamic jihadists who attacked us on 9/11. We must deploy 
our military might to Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere to eliminate 
Osama bin Laden and the true ``grave and gathering threat'' to America.
  We must pass this legislation to send a wake-up call to the President 
that ``Stay The Course'' is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an 
acceptable policy. I urge my colleagues to support a new direction and 
vote for this bill.
  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, I will vote for this Defense 
Supplemental appropriations bill.
  Whatever some may say, I think it would be grossly irresponsible to 
vote against it. That would be to vote against providing America's men 
and women in uniform with the equipment and resources they need and 
against providing them the best health care they may require when they 
come home.
  I understand why some are urging a vote against the bill. Many 
Americans are frustrated and angry because we are four years into a war 
the Bush Administration assured us would be short and decisive. The 
Administration's misjudgments, lack of planning and poor leadership 
have made a bad situation worse. So there are many who do not trust the 
Bush Administration to find a way to end this war, and who believe 
Congress should simply act to cut off additional funds.
  But whatever may be said about the wisdom of invading Iraq four years 
ago--and I am one who believed it was a mistake to do so--the fact is 
that we are still deeply engaged in Iraq. We also must finish the job 
of securing Afghanistan and defeating the Taliban and al-Qaeda. So long 
as our troops are in the field, we must provide them what they need 
even as we move to change the mistaken policies of the Administration 
in Iraq.
  This bill begins that change. It includes important language to hold 
the president accountable to the benchmarks set by his own 
administration and the Iraqi government.
  Those benchmarks were outlined in January, when President Bush 
announced that the Iraqi government had agreed to pursue all 
extremists, Shiite and Sunni alike; to deliver Iraqi Security Forces to 
Baghdad to join in the ``surge''; and to establish a strong militia 
disarmament program. President Bush also announced that Prime Minister 
Maliki and his government agreed to pursue reconciliation initiatives, 
including enactment of a hydro-carbon law; conducting of provincial and 
local elections; reform of current laws governing the de-Baathification 
process; amendment of the Constitution of Iraq; and allocation of Iraqi 
revenues for reconstruction projects.
  By holding the president and the Iraqi government accountable for 
achieving these benchmarks, this bill will provide General Petraeus and 
the Administration with the leverage necessary to help the Iraqi 
government forge a political solution. And we all know that it will 
take a political solution--not a military one--to end this war.
  The bill is an important step toward what I think must be our goal--a 
responsible end to the war in Iraq, based on a strategy of phased 
withdrawal of troops, accelerated diplomacy and redeployment that is 
based on Iraqi stability and not arbitrary deadlines.
  It is true that this legislation includes a date certain for 
withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq. I do not believe this 
language is wise and were it up to me, this provision would not be 
included in the bill. As a matter of national security policy, we 
should steer clear of arbitrary public deadlines and focus instead on 
realistic goals. Our military needs flexibility to be able to link 
movements of U.S. troops to the realities of the situation on the 
  The deadline established in this bill--August of 2008--is far enough 
away that I believe we may be able to revisit it if need be, and while 
I find its inclusion troubling, I do not believe in letting the perfect 
be the enemy of the good. And the bill's language does give the 
president flexibility to protect U.S. interests, since it allows 
sufficient troops to remain to protect U.S. military and civilians in 
Iraq, conduct counterterrorism operations, and train Iraqi Security 
  The bill also protects our troops by limiting deployment schedules 
and setting minimum readiness standards--based on current Defense 
Department standards--for U.S. troops deploying to the region. The 
president could

[[Page H2988]]

waive these requirements but only by certifying in writing to Congress 
that waiving them would be in the interest of national security.
  The bill also includes many provisions important to our troops, such 
as funds for military personnel for imminent danger pay, family 
separation allowances, and basic allowances for housing; funds for 
recruiting and retention in the Army Reserve and National Guard; and 
funds to develop countermeasures to prevent attacks from improvised 
explosive devices. The bill recommends the creation of a new Strategic 
Readiness Reserve fund, and provides $2.5 billion for the program, 
which is intended to improve readiness, training and equipping of U.S. 
forces not already deployed.
  Given the recent revelations about problems with the defense health 
system at Walter Reed and other facilities across the system, I am very 
pleased that the bill provides $2.8 billion for military health care 
costs and $1.7 billion for initiatives to address the health care needs 
of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, particularly those suffering from 
traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. Funding is 
also included to address facility deficiencies so the Department of 
Veterans Affairs does not have to defer facility maintenance and upkeep 
in order to provide quality health care services.
  The bill also provides $52.5 billion for military operations in Iraq 
and Afghanistan and funds the $5.9 billion request for the Afghan 
Security Forces and the $3.8 billion request for Iraq Security Forces.
  And the bill includes $3.1 billion to fully fund the Pentagon's FY07 
request for the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission's 
recommendations, which is vitally important for Ft. Carson as it 
prepares to expand and for other military installations in Colorado.
  On the non-military side, the bill includes critically important 
funding for farmers and ranchers in southeastern Colorado who were 
recently hit hard by winter storms. Thousands of cattle were killed in 
storms worse than the October 1997 storm that killed approximately 
30,000 cattle and cost farmers and ranchers an estimated $28 million. 
The struggles that family agriculture producers and small counties face 
are significant and are having a negative impact on the livelihood of 
hundreds of farmers and ranchers and their communities. So I am pleased 
that the Colorado delegation was successful in persuading the House 
leadership to include financial assistance for farmers and ranchers, 
including for those affected by Colorado's recent blizzards, and I am 
hopeful that the funding will be included in the final conference 

  Mr. Speaker, we have entered the 5th year of the war in Iraq. 
Already, more than 3,200 of our men and women in uniform have made the 
ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duty. More than 24,000 
others have been wounded. The Iraqi death toll is at least 60,000, with 
more than 650,000 other Iraqis displaced and at least one million who 
have fled to Syria and Jordan and other countries.
  Even these heavy costs are not the whole story, because nation-
building in Iraq has degraded our ability to counter other threats to 
our national security around the globe. As a member of the Armed 
Services Committee, I am all too aware of the pressures on our active 
duty and National Guard and reserve soldiers, including a lack of 
equipment and training, multiple or extended deployments, and limited 
time at home between deployments. To be successful, U.S. forces must be 
trained, equipped, and ready to quickly deploy worldwide. Shortfalls in 
personnel, equipment, or training increase the risk to our troops and 
to their mission.
  Mr. Speaker, many of us who voted against authorizing the President 
to rush to war in Iraq were worried that while it would be easy to 
eliminate the Saddam Hussein regime, the aftermath would be neither 
easy nor quick. Sadly, our fears have proven to be justified. And now, 
as the Pentagon has finally admitted in its most recent quarterly 
report, the situation in Iraq is ``properly descriptive of a civil 
  Insisting on keeping our troops in the middle of that kind of 
internecine war is not a recipe for victory; it is only a prescription 
for quagmire. And as a new Foreign Relations Council report notes, we 
bear responsibility for developments within Iraq, but are increasingly 
without the ability to shape those developments in a positive 
  We need to be scaling back our military mission in Iraq. We need to 
make the U.S. military footprint lighter--not in order to hasten defeat 
or failure in Iraq, but to salvage a critical measure of security and 
stability in a region of the world that we can ill afford to abandon.
  But as we do so, we must work to avoid a collapse in the region--not 
only because we have a moral obligation to the people of Iraq, but also 
because our national security has been so badly compromised by the Bush 
administration's failures there. The President's decision to take the 
nation to war has made our country less safe. We need to change course 
and chart a path that enhances our national security and sets the right 
priorities for the war on terrorism and struggle against extremists.
  This bill begins to chart this path, and I will support it.
  Mr. DONNELLY. Mr. Speaker, I support our men and women serving in 
harm's way, I support America's veterans, and I support of establishing 
clear benchmarks for progress in Iraq.
  Our men and women in Iraq are in the middle of what is becoming an 
increasingly dangerous civil war. Despite their best efforts to provide 
security, train Iraqi forces, and pursue terrorists, the violence in 
Iraq ultimately must be ended by the Iraqi people. The Iraqis must step 
up, once and for all, and take responsibility for their future.
  The Iraq war funding bill is the only proposal on the table that sets 
enforceable benchmarks for the Iraqi government and makes clear to the 
Iraqi government that we will not have our soldiers in the middle of a 
religious civil war indefinitely. Distinguished Hoosier and co-chairman 
of the Iraq Study Group, Lee Hamilton, has said that tying continued 
U.S. support, including the presence of our troops, to benchmarks is 
the strongest leverage we have to force the Iraqis to act. He, too, has 
said that this supplemental--despite its imperfections--should move 
  In an ideal situation, the President, and not the Congress, would 
hold the Iraqi government accountable for improving the political and 
security conditions in its country. However, the Bush Administration 
has not held the Iraqi government accountable even while the security 
situation has steadily deteriorated to the point of open civil war 
between rival religious sects.
  In early January, I wrote the President. I asked him what the 
consequences would be if the Iraqi government failed to meet the 
benchmarks the President articulated, benchmarks the Iraqi government 
has agreed to meet, in a nationally televised speech. To this day, I 
have received no response from the Bush Administration.
  In addition to forcing Iraqi accountability, the Iraq war funding 
bill provides desperately needed funds to ensure that current and 
future veterans and wounded military personnel receive the care and 
attention their service and sacrifice deserve. H.R. 1591 includes $1.3 
billion in new funding for veterans' health care. This bill also 
improves our ability to care for our wounded warriors, with an 
additional $2.8 billion for post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic-
brain injuries, and burns and amputee rehabilitation. Finally, the Iraq 
war funding bill provides $20 million to fix Walter Reed Army Medical 
Center so that the embarrassingly substandard living conditions can be 
quickly remedied.
  This legislation also reaffirms our commitment to fighting terrorism 
in Iraq and around the globe. Even if the Iraqis fail to meet our 
benchmarks for progress in Iraq, American forces can still fight and 
pursue terror groups operating in Iraq while continuing to help train 
Iraqi security and counter-terrorism forces. The Iraq war funding bill 
also provides crucial funds to fight a resurgent Taliban and Al Qaeda 
in Afghanistan, and it provides much-needed money for FBI counter-
terrorism initiatives, secures at-risk nuclear materials in other 
countries and provides money to install radiation detection equipment 
at overseas ports that are shipping to the United States.

  Mr. Speaker, I said numerous times during the campaign that Congress 
must continue providing full funding for our troops in the field--this 
bill does that by investing $95.5 billion in our military, including 
almost $900 million for new Humvees and $2.4 billion to improve 
protections against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Though I do 
not like the idea of setting a timeline for the redeployment of our 
troops, I will not vote against our troops on the field, period. This 
bill moves us in the right direction by sending a message to the 
President--and to the Iraqi government--that the situation in Iraq is 
unacceptable and must change.
  The President has previously stated that he hoped Iraqi troops would 
be serving on the front line and that U.S. troops would primarily be in 
a training role before the end of this year. This funding bill extends 
our offensive mission almost one year past the President's own date. We 
are essentially asking the Iraqis to take ownership of their own 
country again. That is critical for both Iraq and the United States.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, as a proud member of the 
Progressive and the Out of Iraq Caucuses, I rise in support of H.R. 
1591, the ``U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq 
Accountability Act.'' I commend the leadership of the Speaker and her 
team and Chairman Obey and Defense Subcommittee Chairman Murtha for 
their patient and careful crafting of the bill.
  I stand in strong support of our troops who have performed 
magnificently in battle with a grace under pressure that is 
distinctively American. I stand with the American people, who have 
placed their trust in the President,

[[Page H2989]]

the Vice-President, and the former Secretary of Defense, each of whom 
abused the public trust and patience.
  I stand with the American taxpayers who have paid nearly $400 billion 
to finance the misadventure in Iraq. I stand with the 3,222 fallen 
heroes who stand even taller in death because they gave the last full 
measure of devotion to their country.
  For these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I stand fully, strongly, and 
unabashedly in support of H.R. 1591, which for the first time puts the 
Congress on record against an open-ended war whose goal line is always 
  Mr. Speaker, I voted against the 2002 Iraq War Resolution. I am proud 
of that vote. I have consistently voted against the Administration's 
practice of submitting a request for war funding through an emergency 
supplemental rather than the regular appropriations process which would 
subject the funding request to more rigorous scrutiny and require it to 
be balanced against other pressing national priorities.

  The vote today will put the House on record squarely against the Bush 
Administration's policy of looking the other way while the Iraqi 
government fails to govern a country worthy of a free people with as 
much commitment and dedication to the security and happiness of its 
citizens as has been shown by the heroic American servicemen and women 
who risked their lives and, in the case of over 3,000 fallen heroes, 
lost their lives to win for the Iraqi people the chance to draft their 
own constitution, hold their own free elections, establish their own 
government, and build a future of peace and prosperity for themselves 
and their posterity.
  Mr. Speaker, there is no more important issue facing the Congress, 
the President, and the American people than the war in Iraq. It is a 
subject upon which no one is indifferent, least of all members of 
Congress. Many good ideas have been advanced by members of Congress to 
bring to a successful conclusion the American military engagement in 
  Mr. Speaker, nearly every decision reached by a legislative body is a 
product of compromise. The bill before us is no different. If it was 
left solely to us, any of us could no doubt add or subtract provisions 
which we think would improve the bill. Indeed, more than fifty 
amendments were offered to H.R. 1591, including four submitted by me. 
In fact, the only amendments voted on by the Rules Committee were two 
of the amendments I offered, although neither was made in order this 
  The first of these amendments, Jackson Lee Amendment No. 1, would 
terminate the authority granted by Congress to the President in the 
2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq because the 
objectives for which the authorization was granted have all been 
achieved. Specifically, Congress authorized the President to use 
military force against Iraq to achieve the following objectives:
  1. To disarm Iraq of any weapons of mass destruction that could 
threaten the security of the United States and international peace in 
the Persian Gulf region;
  2. To change the Iraqi regime so that Saddam Hussein and his Baathist 
party no longer posed a threat to the people of Iraq or its neighbors;
  3. To bring to justice any members of al Qaeda known or found to be 
in Iraq bearing responsibility for the attacks on the United States, 
its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on 
September 11, 2001;
  4. To ensure that the regime of Saddam Hussein would not provide 
weapons of mass destruction to international terrorists, including al 
Qaeda; and
  5. To enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council 
resolutions regarding Iraq.
  Thanks to the skill and valor of the Armed Forces of the United 
States we now know for certain that Iraq does not possess weapons of 
mass destruction. Thanks to the tenacity and heroism of American 
troops, Saddam Hussein was deposed, captured, and dealt with by the 
Iraqi people in such a way that neither he nor his Baathist Party will 
ever again pose a threat to the people of Iraq or its neighbors in the 
region. Nor will the regime ever acquire and provide weapons of mass 
destruction to international terrorists. Also, the American military 
has caught or killed virtually every member of al Qaeda in Iraq 
remotely responsible for the 9/11 attack on our country. Last, all 
relevant U.N. resolutions relating to Iraq have been enforced.
  In other words, every objective for which the use of force in Iraq 
was authorized by the 2002 resolution has been achieved, most with 
spectacular success thanks to the professionalism and superior skill of 
our service men and women. The point of my amendment was to recognize, 
acknowledge, and honor this fact.
  My second amendment, Jackson Lee Amendment No. 4, would change the 
troop reference date for redeployment set forth in section 1904 from 
March 1, 2008, to December 31, 2007. What this means is that the 
Government of Iraq will have had more than 3 years since the United 
States turned over sovereignty to establish a sustainable government 
with secure borders that can protect its people. I believe that if the 
Allied Forces could win World War III in less than 4 years, certainly 
that is enough time for the Government of Iraq to provide for the 
security of its people, with the substantial assistance of the United 
  While there are many good proposals that have been advanced which are 
not included in the bill, we ought not to let the perfect become the 
enemy of the good. This emergency supplemental may not be perfect but 
it is better--far better--than any legislation relating to the war in 
Iraq that has ever been brought to the floor far a vote. Let me count 
the ways.
  First, H.R. 1591 ensures that U.S. forces in the field have all of 
the resources they require. Second, the bill directs more resources to 
the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Third it 
improves healthcare for returning service members and veterans. Fourth, 
it establishes a timeline for ending the United States participation in 
Iraq's civil war. Last, it demands accountability by conditioning 
continued American military involvement in Iraq upon certification by 
the President that the Iraq Government is making meaningful and 
substantial progress in meeting political and military benchmarks, 
including a militia disarmament program and a plan that equitably 
shares oil revenues among all Iraqis.

  Mr. Speaker, I want to take a few minutes to discuss why the American 
people believe so strongly that the time has come to an end the policy 
of not placing any demands or conditions on American military 
assistance to the Government of Iraq.
  As Kenneth M. Pollack of the Brookings Institution, and a former 
senior member of the NSC, brilliantly describes in his essay, ``The 
Seven Deadly Sins Of Failure In Iraq: A Retrospective Analysis Of The 
Reconstruction,'' in Middle East Review of International Affairs 
(December 2006), our trust and patience has been repaid by a record of 
incompetence unmatched in the annals of American foreign policy.
  The Bush administration disregarded the advice of experts on Iraq, on 
nation-building, and on military operations. It staged both the 
invasion and the reconstruction on the cheap. It did not learn from its 
mistakes and did not commit the resources necessary to accomplish its 
original lofty goals or later pedestrian objectives. It ignored 
intelligence that contradicted its own views.
  It is clear now that the Administration simply never believed in the 
necessity of a major reconstruction in Iraq. To exacerbate matters the 
Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the White House Office of 
the Vice President (OVP) worked together to ensure that the State 
Department was excluded from any meaningful involvement in the 
reconstruction of Iraq.
  The Administration's chief Iraq hawks shared a deeply naive view that 
the fall of Saddam and his top henchmen would have relatively little 
impact on the overall Iraqi governmental structure. They assumed that 
Iraq's bureaucracy would remain intact and would therefore be capable 
of running the country and providing Iraqis with basic services. They 
likewise assumed that the Iraqi armed forces would largely remain 
cohesive and would surrender whole to U.S. forces. The result of all 
this was a fundamental lack of attention to realistic planning for the 
postwar environment.
  As it was assumed that the Iraqis would be delighted to be liberated 
little thought was given to security requirements after Saddam's fall. 
The dearth of planning for the provision of security and basic services 
stemmed from the mistaken belief that Iraqi political institutions 
would remain largely intact and therefore able to handle those 

  But there were too few Coalition troops, which meant that long supply 
lines were vulnerable to attack by Iraqi irregulars, and the need to 
mask entire cities at times took so much combat power that it brought 
the entire offensive to a halt.
  It was not long before these naive assumptions and inadequate 
planning conjoined to sow the seeds of the chaos we have witnessed in 
  The lack of sufficient troops to secure the country led to the 
immediate outbreak of lawlessness resulting in massive looting and 
destruction dealt a stunning psychological blow to Iraqi confidence in 
the United States, from which the country has yet to recover. We 
removed Saddam Hussein's regime but we did not move to fill the 
military, political, and economic vacuum. The unintended consequence 
was the birth of a failing state, which provided the opportunity for 
the insurgency to flourish and prevented the development of 
governmental institutions capable of providing Iraqis with the most 
basic services such as clean water, sanitation, electricity, and a 
minimally functioning economy capable of generating basic employment.
  Making matters worse, the Administration arrogantly denied the United 
Nations overall

[[Page H2990]]

authority for the reconstruction even though the U.N. had far more 
expertise and experience in nation building.
  The looting and anarchy, the persistent insurgent attacks, the lack 
of real progress in restoring basic services, and the failure to find 
the promised weapons of mass destruction undercut the Administration's 
claim that things were going well in Iraq and led it to make the next 
set of serious blunders, which was the disbanding of the Iraqi military 
and security services.
  Mr. Speaker, counterinsurgency experts will tell you that to pacify 
an occupied country it is essential to disarm, demobilize, and retrain 
(DDR) the local army. The idea behind a DDR program is to entice, 
cajole, or even coerce soldiers back to their own barracks or to other 
facilities where they can be fed, clothed, watched, retrained, and 
prevented from joining an insurgency movement, organized crime, or an 
outlaw militia.
  By disbanding the military and security services without a DDR 
program, as many as one million Iraqi men were set at large with no 
money, no means to support their families, and no skills other than how 
to use a gun. Not surprisingly, many of these humiliated Sunni officers 
went home and joined the burgeoning Sunni insurgency.
  The next major mistake made in the summer of 2003 was the decision to 
create an Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), which laid the foundation for 
many of Iraq's current political woes. Many of the IGC leaders were 
horribly corrupt, and they stole from the public treasury and 
encouraged their subordinates to do the same. The IGC set the tone for 
later Iraqi governments, particularly the transitional governments of 
Ayad Allawi and Ibrahim Jaafari that followed.
  Finally, by insisting that all of the problems of the country were 
caused by the insurgency rather than recognizing the problems of the 
country were helping to fuel the insurgency, the Bush administration 
set about concentrating its efforts in all the wrong places and on the 
wrong problems.
  This explains why for nearly all of 2004 and 2005, our troops were 
disproportionately deployed in the Sunni triangle trying to catch and 
kill insurgents. Although our troops caught and killed insurgents by 
the hundreds and thousands, these missions were not significantly 
advancing our strategic objectives. Indeed, they had little long-term 
impact because insurgents are always willing to flee temporarily rather 
than fight a leviathan. Second, because so many coalition forces were 
playing ``whack-a-mole'' with insurgents in the sparsely populated 
areas of western Iraq, the rest of the country was left vulnerable to 
take-over by militias.
  Finally, Mr. Speaker, a cruel irony is that because the Iraqi 
Government brought exiles and militia leaders into the government and 
gave them positions of power, it is now virtually impossible to get 
them out, and even more difficult to convince them to make compromises 
because the militia leaders have learned they can use their government 
positions to maintain and expand their personal power, at the expense 
both of their rivals who are not in the government and of the central 
government itself.
  All of this was avoidable and the blame for the lack of foresight 
falls squarely on the White House and the Office of the Secretary of 
  Mr. Speaker, the American people spoke loudly and clearly last 
November when they tossed out the Rubber-Stamp Republican Congress. 
They voted for a New Direction in Iraq and for change in America. They 
voted to disentangle American troops from the carnage, chaos, and civil 
war in Iraq. They voted for accountability and oversight, which we 
Democrats have begun to deliver on; already the new majority has held 
more than 100 congressional hearings related to the Iraq War, 
investigating everything from the rampant waste, fraud, and abuse of 
Iraq reconstruction funding to troop readiness to the Iraq Study Group 
Report to the shameful mistreatment of wounded soldiers recuperating at 
Walter Reed Medical Center.

  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 1591, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health 
and Iraq Accountability Act provides real benchmarks and consequences 
if the Iraqi Government fails to live up to its commitments. First, it 
requires the President to certify and report to Congress on July 1, 
2007 that real progress is underway on key benchmarks for the Iraqi 
government. If the President cannot so certify, redeployment of U.S. 
troops must begin immediately and be completed within 180 days. If the 
President fails to certify that Iraq has met the benchmarks on October 
1, 2007, a redeployment of U.S. troops would begin immediately at that 
time and must be completed within 180 days. In any case, at the latest, 
a redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq must begin by March 1, 2008, 
and must be completed by August 31, 2008.
  Since the benchmarks the Iraqi Government must meet are those 
established pursuant to President Bush's policies, it is passing 
strange indeed that he would threaten to veto the bill since it 
necessarily means he would veto his own benchmarks for the performance 
of the Iraqi government. He would veto his own readiness standards for 
U.S. troops. The President demands this Congress send him an Iraq war 
bill with ``no strings.'' But the only ``strings'' attached, Mr. 
Speaker, are the benchmarks and standards imposed by the President 
  Mr. Speaker, in addition to the enormous financial cost, the human 
cost to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces has also 
been high but they have willingly paid it. Operation Iraqi Freedom has 
exacerbated the Veterans' Administration health care facility 
maintenance backlog; placed an undue strain on the delivery of medical 
treatment and rehabilitative services for current and new veterans; and 
exacted a heavy toll on the equipment, training and readiness 
requirements, and the families of the men and women of the United 
States Armed Forces.

  The emergency supplemental acknowledges the sacrifices made by, and 
the debt of gratitude, we and the Iraqi people owe to Armed Forces of 
the United States. But more than that, it makes a substantial down 
payment on that debt by providing substantial increases in funding for 
our troops.
  The supplemental includes a total appropriation of $2.8 billion for 
Defense Health Care, which is $1.7 billion above the President's 
request. The additional funding supports new initiatives to enhance 
medical services for active duty forces and mobilized personnel, and 
their family members. Included in this new funding is $450 million for 
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/Counseling; $450 million for Traumatic 
Brain Injury care and research; $730 million to prevent health care fee 
increases for our troops; $20 million to address the problems at Walter 
Reed; and $14.8 million for burn care.
  Unlike the Republican leadership of the 109th Congress and the Bush 
administration, the new Democratic majority is committed to America's 
veterans. What's more, we back up that commitment by investing in their 
well-being. For example, the bill includes $1.7 billion above the 
President's request for initiatives to address the health care needs of 
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and the backlog in maintaining VA health 
care facilities, including $550 million to address the backlog in 
maintaining VA health care facilities so as to prevent the VA from 
experiencing a situation similar to that found at Walter Reed Medical 
  The bill includes an additional $250 million for medical 
administration to ensure there are sufficient personnel to support the 
growing number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and to maintain a high 
level of services for all veterans; $229 million for treating the 
growing number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans; $100 million for 
contract mental health care, which will allow the VA to contract with 
private mental health care providers to ensure that Iraq and 
Afghanistan veterans are seen in the most timely and least disruptive 
fashion, including members of the Guard and Reserve; and $62 million to 
speed up the processing of claims of veterans returning from Iraq and 
  Mr. Speaker, when American troops are sent into harm's way, America 
has an obligation to do all it can to minimize the risk of harm to the 
troops. That is why I am pleased the supplemental includes additional 
funding above the President's request to support our troops. We are 
providing $2.5 billion more to address the current readiness crisis of 
our stateside troops, including ensuring that they are better equipped 
and trained. We include $1.4 billion more for military housing 
allowances and $311 million more for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected 
(MRAP) vehicles for troops in Iraq. And there is included in the 
supplemental $222 million more for infrared countermeasures for Air 
Force aircraft to address the growing threat against U.S. air 
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  Equally important, Mr. Speaker, the supplemental contains language 
directing the President to adhere to current military guidelines for 
unit readiness, deployments, and time between deployments.
  The supplemental requires the Defense Department to abide by its 
current Unit Readiness policy, requiring the chief of the military 
department concerned to determine that a unit is ``fully mission 
capable'' before it is deployed to Iraq. The President may waive this 
provision by submitting a report to Congress detailing why the unit's 
deployment is in the interests of national security despite the 
assessment that the unit is not fully mission capable.
  The Defense Department is also required to abide by its current 
policy and avoid extending the deployment of units in Iraq in excess of 
365 days for the Army and 210 days for the Marines. The provision may 
be waived by the President only by submitting a report to Congress 
detailing the particular reason or reasons why the unit's extended 
deployment is in the interests of national security.
  Mr. Speaker, to reduce the incidence of combat fatigue and enhance 
readiness, it is

[[Page H2991]]

important that our troops have sufficient time out of the combat zone 
and training between deployments. The supplemental requires the Defense 
Department to abide by its current policy and avoid sending units back 
into Iraq before troops get the required time away from the war 
theater. The President may waive this provision by submitting a report 
to Congress detailing why the unit's early redeployment to Iraq is in 
the interests of national security.
  Last but not least, Mr. Speaker, it must be noted that the cost of 
the war in Iraq to the United States has also been high regarding the 
new and neglected needs of the American people. Americans have been 
exceedingly tolerant and patient with this Administration's handling of 
the situation in Iraq. We have postponed, foregone, or neglected needed 
investments in education, infrastructure, housing, homeland security.

  That is why I am very pleased that the supplemental includes the 
following $4.3 billion for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 
disaster recovery grants, including $910 million to cover the cost of 
waiving the matching fund requirements in the Robert T. Stafford 
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 5174 
(Public Law 93-288) (Stafford Act) for state and local government 
meaning the Federal government will finance 100 percent of the grants.
  Waiving the Stafford Act's matching fund requirement is critically 
important to the Gulf Coast states devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and 
Rita. Based on my multiple listening trips to New Orleans and the Gulf 
Coast region, and my numerous meetings and discussions with government 
officials at all levels in the affected states and with survivors of 
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many of whom now are relocated to my 
Houston congressional district, the most important lesson I have 
learned is that the Stafford Act is in its present form is simply 
inadequate to address the scale of devastation and human suffering 
wrought by a disaster the magnitude of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I 
thank Mr. Obey and Mr. Murtha for responding to concerns I expressed to 
President Bush about the need to modernize the Stafford Act so that it 
remains relevant to the 21st Century.
  I believe the Stafford Act must be amended to grant the federal 
government explicit authority and flexibility to provide long-term 
recovery assistance to communities devastated by disasters of the 
magnitude of Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Such authority currently does 
not exist and the Stafford Act's emphasis on temporary assistance to 
affected individuals and communities is simply inadequate to address 
the scope of human suffering we witnessed last August and which is 
still with us today. I will continue my efforts to modernize the 
Stafford Act. But I very strongly approve of the nearly $1 billion 
included in the bill to waive the matching fund requirements for hard-
pressed state and local governments coping with emergencies of the 
scale of Hurricane Katrina.
  Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funding has been extended to 
September 30, 2010. SSBG funding provides critically needed social 
services, including programs for mental health, child welfare, and the 
treatment of addictive disorders.
  Also allocated is $1.3 billion for east and west bank levee 
protection and coastal restoration systems in New Orleans and 
surrounding parishes.
  There is included $25 million for Small Business Administration (SBA) 
disaster loans and $80 million for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban 
Development (HUD) tenant-based rental assistance. The supplemental also 
adds $400 million to restore partial cuts to the Low Income Home Energy 
Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This funding will bring much needed relief 
to many States that are running out of LIHEAP funds just as many 
utility shut-off moratoriums are set to expire.
  The supplemental adds $750 million to the State Children's Health 
Insurance Program (SCHIP) to ensure continued healthcare coverage for 
children in 14 States that face a budget shortfall in the program. By 
taking prompt action now, these States will not be forced to stop 
enrolling new beneficiaries or begin curtailing benefits.
  Finally, Mr. Speaker, the supplemental provides $30 million for K-12 
education recruitment assistance; $30 million for higher education 
assistance; and $40 million in security assistance for Liberia. It also 
includes an additional $1 billion to purchase vaccines needed to 
protect Americans from a global pandemic. Development of production 
capacity for a pandemic vaccine must be accelerated so that 
manufacturers can quickly produce enough quantities to protect the 
  In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, let me say that although the bill may not 
be the best I might have hoped for, I have concluded that it is the 
best that can be achieved at this time, this moment in history. I 
support the bill because I believe it represents a change of course and 
a new direction in our policy on Iraq. This bill will place us on the 
road that will reunite our troops with their families and bring them 
home with honor and success.
  Mr. Speaker, the bill before is not asking us to expand or extend the 
war in Iraq. I would not and will not do that. On the contrary, this 
bill offers us the first real chance to vote to end the war. This bill 
puts us on the glide path to the day when our troops come home where we 
can ``care for him who has borne the battle, and for his widow and 
orphan.'' This bill helps to repair the damage to America's 
international reputation and prestige. This bill brings long overdue 
oversight, accountability, and transparency to defense and 
reconstruction contracting and procurement.
  Most important, Mr. Speaker, this bill offers us the first real 
chance to vote to end the war. We should take advantage of this 
opportunity. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1591, the ``U.S. 
Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act.''
  Mr. BECERRA. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1591, the U.S. 
Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act. Today, 
Madam Speaker, we have a chance to take our country in a new direction 
to bring coherence and accountability to America's Iraq war policy.
  As we enter our fifth year in the Iraq war, Americans have paid a 
high price for our involvement. Over 3,200 U.S. troops have died, 
approximately 25,000 U.S. troops have been wounded, and President Bush 
has squandered more than $350 billion of taxpayer dollars with his 
misadventure. Our troops have been fighting and dying in Iraq longer 
than American soldiers did in World War II, World War I, the Korean 
war, or the Civil War. This important legislation imposes long overdue 
accountability on the administration's war policy and will bring an end 
to President Bush's commitment to an open-ended war.
  Specifically, the benchmarks and timelines contained in this 
legislation will hold both the president and the Iraqi Government 
accountable in how they conduct the war and the transition to a self-
sufficient, democratic Iraq. This bill has taken into account both the 
administration's and experts' advice on how to proceed in Iraq. Many of 
the benchmarks are similar to provisions that President Bush has 
publicly supported. The bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommended many of 
the goals and target dates in H.R. 1591.
  Importantly, this bill protects our troops deployed in Iraq and 
Afghanistan and the troops and veterans returning home. H.R. 1591 
provides sufficient funding to ensure that our troops have the 
equipment to protect themselves from harm while they defend many of the 
innocent citizens of Iraq. We should all agree that never again will 
America send its troops into battle without the best equipment to 
accomplish their mission.
  For our troops returning home, this legislation reverses years of 
neglect and moves us toward a comprehensive effort to address their 
needs. There is an extra $1.7 billion for military health care to be 
spent on military hospitals and a provision that prevents the closing 
of Walter Reed hospital--the first stop for so many of our wounded 
troops returning home. The bill also appropriates $1.7 billion 
additional funding for veterans' health care, $2.5 billion for 
improving the readiness of our stateside troops and $1.4 billion more 
for military housing allowances.
  Mr. Speaker, when an Iraqi Shiite soldier is ready to defend an Iraqi 
Sunni civilian and an Iraqi Sunni soldier is ready to defend an Iraqi 
Shiite civilian, then perhaps we will know that the people of Iraq are 
ready to live in peace with security. But until such time, our troops 
have no business sitting in the crosshairs of a bloody civil war. By 
creating benchmarks and timelines for U.S. troop involvement in Iraq, 
this bill sends a message to Iraqis that they need to resolve their 
conflicts at the negotiation table and not through violence. We can 
help, but they must first prove that they are willing and prepared to 
help themselves.
  I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1591 and start the process of 
bringing our troops home. Our men and women in uniform have done all we 
have asked of them. They won the war against Saddam Hussein and fought 
valiantly and timelessly to secure the peace in Iraq. Now, it is time 
for us to do our job: remove our soldiers from the insanity of the Iraq 
civil war and return them home. Only then can we rededicate ourselves 
and refocus our efforts to fight against the threat of terrorism.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the legislation before 
the House, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq 
Accountability Act. This measure supports our troops in the field. It 
provides more resources to ensure that our wounded service members and 
veterans receive the health care and support they need. And it sets a 
responsible timeline for the phased redeployment of our troops.
  Our Nation continues to pay a high price for the administration's 
reckless invasion of Iraq and the President's open-ended commitment of 
U.S. military forces in that country. Our troops are entering their 
fifth year in Iraq, and there is no end in sight. The situation is 
deteriorating. Iraq is descending into a civil war.

[[Page H2992]]

For the last 4 years, the former Republican majority in the Congress 
sat on its hands and followed the President's policy like robots. The 
American people elected a new majority in the House and Senate so that 
Congress would stand up and stop being a rubber stamp for the 
  The President's open-ended policies of committing U.S. troops in Iraq 
for as long as it takes is not working. We need a new way forward. The 
only chance to salvage the situation in Iraq is to put real pressure on 
the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future.
  Last January 10, President Bush addressed the Nation and admitted 
that the situation in Iraq was descending into a vicious cycle of 
sectarian violence. He laid out a series of actions that the Iraqi 
Government would have to take; benchmarks that the Iraqis would have to 
follow through on or lose the support of the American people. The 
President said that Iraq would approve legislation to share oil revenue 
among the Iraq people; that Iraq would spend $10 billion of its own 
money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects; that Iraq would 
reform the laws governing de-Baathification and allow more Iraqis to 
re-enter their nation's political life; that Iraq would establish a 
fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution; and 
that Iraq would set a schedule to conduct provincial and local 
elections. The President said, ``America will hold the Iraqi Government 
to the benchmarks it has announced.''
  Since President Bush made that speech two months ago, 217 American 
soldiers have been killed in Iraq. More than 3,200 American soldiers 
have died since the war began. More than 23,000 have been wounded. 
Until the Iraqis step up to the plate and make the difficult political 
decisions that need to be made, the sectarian violence will continue 
and American military men and women will continue to be killed and 
wounded. Either the factions in Iraq are going to come together and 
make these decisions, or they are not. We should not leave our troops 
in harm's way indefinitely and just hand the President another blank 
check to continue an open-ended policy with no end in sight.
  The legislation before the House supports the troops, both in Iraq 
and Afghanistan. It holds the Iraqi Government to the benchmarks for 
progress that the President outlined in his January 10 speech. Under 
this bill, if the President cannot certify that Iraq has achieved these 
benchmarks by October 1 of this year, a redeployment of U.S. troops 
begins immediately and must be completed within 180 days. Absent this 
pressure, the Iraqi Government will continue to postpone action on 
achieving the benchmarks. If the Iraqi Government does, indeed, meet 
the benchmarks by October 1, redeployment of U.S. forces would begin 
next March and be completed within 180 days.
  After more than 4 years, this legislation would end the open-ended 
commitment to this war. It would set a clear timeline for the phased 
redeployment of U.S. troops. Without this pressure, there is little 
chance that the Iraqi leaders will make the decisions necessary to end 
civil war and build one nation. Our country cannot make these decisions 
for them. I urge passage of this legislation by the House.
  Mr. TANNER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1591, the 
U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act, 
which sends the message to the Iraqis that we will not commit open-
endedly our blood and tax dollars if they are not willing to step up 
and take control of their own country.
  We have lost more than 3,200 of our best men and women over the last 
4 years and 4 days we have been in Iraq, and more than 24,000 others 
have come home wounded. We are spending about $200,000 a minute in 
Iraq. The Iraqi people need to know that we will not continue to do all 
the work if they are unable or unwilling to put aside their religious 
differences and come together to build a civil society.
  Mr. Speaker, I feel that this legislation has been mischaracterized 
as a timeline on our troops. The true intention of this measure, as I 
see it, is to put a timeline on the Iraqi people to meet the benchmarks 
that have already been established by the President. The bill we will 
vote on today will not withhold a single dollar from our men and women 
on the ground in Iraq, and it will not tie our commanders' hands but 
simply holds the Iraqis accountable for taking command of their own 
  As chairman of the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary 
Assembly, I have talked at length with our allies who are helping us 
fight the war on terror in Afghanistan, where we are in a very critical 
year, with the Taliban planning a new series of attacks on U.S. and 
NATO troops there. I fear we are threatening our work on that very 
important effort if we continue to focus most of our resources to a 
deteriorating sectarian conflict that General Petraeus has said cannot 
be won with military might alone if there is not timely political and 
diplomatic progress.
  I served 4 years in the United States Navy and 26 years in the 
Tennessee Army National Guard. During that time, it was my duty to 
carry out the orders handed me by the civilian leadership. Now that you 
and our colleagues and I are part of that civilian leadership, it is 
our responsibility to help shape military policy and hold the civilian 
leadership at the Pentagon and elsewhere accountable for the way they 
have managed--or mismanaged--operations in Iraq.
  To that end, Mr. Speaker, I am not willing to keep asking our 
military families and the American taxpayers to commit their lives and 
tax dollars forever. The only alternative to this bill is an open-ended 
bleeding of our blood and tax dollars with no end in sight and no 
pressure on the Iraqi government to make the changes necessary.
  Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1591, Health, 
and Iraq Accountability Act of 2007.
  It is time for a new direction in Iraq. We cannot continue to ask our 
troops to baby-sit a civil war. With our help, the Iraqis have 
established a coalition government, and we have trained more than 
250,000 Iraqi security forces. We must now send a message to them that 
the patience of the American people is not endless, and that the Iraqi 
people must take control of their future by making the tough political 
compromises essential to living in peace. In short, it is time to take 
the training wheels off.
  The bill before us today achieves the goal of redeployment of U.S. 
forces by setting specific benchmarks of progress using for the Iraqis 
and President's own benchmarks for success. If these benchmarks cannot 
be met, then the bill provides for a systematic approach for withdrawal 
of our troops.
  Although I have had concerns about setting a date certain for 
withdrawal, a responsible timeline will work to hold the Iraqi 
Government accountable for much-needed and overdue progress. 
Essentially, this is a timeline on the Iraqis to come together and take 
control of their country.
  The proposals included in this bill are truly a new direction, rather 
than just more of the same. By calling for a responsible, phased 
redeployment of our troops out of Iraq, this bill allows us to re-focus 
our military efforts in Afghanistan.
  I am increasingly concerned that the main threat against the United 
States, al Qaeda, is still a global threat with global reach, and that 
the person who was directly responsible for 
9/11, Osama Bin Laden, is still at large. The President has taken his 
eye off the ball in Afghanistan and is not doing everything in his 
power to bring those responsible for 9/11 to justice. It sends a 
terrible message to would-be terrorists who may be interested in 
striking us that all they have to do is go in hiding and lie low until 
we get distracted on another adventure. I am hopeful that this 
supplemental appropriations bill sends a signal to the President that 
he needs to reassess his priorities.
  Our men and women in the Armed Forces are to be commended for the 
terrific job they do for us across the globe each and every day, often 
in very difficult and dangerous circumstances. They deserve a clearer 
mission, they deserve to have the training and equipment they need to 
complete that mission, and they deserve the best care when they return 
home with physical and emotional wounds. The supplemental provides for 
all these needs.

  During my three visits to Iraq, I met with our military command, 
troops in the field, and numerous Iraqi leaders and civilians. I can 
honestly say that nothing has made me prouder to be an American than 
seeing the performance of our troops in the field. They are well-
trained, well-motivated and an inspiration to us all. They are, in 
short, the best America has to offer.
  In particular, active military, Guard, and Reserve forces from 
western Wisconsin have answered the call to service. I have been to 
many deployment ceremonies and witnessed the anguish in the hearts and 
faces of family and friends as they say goodbye to their loved ones 
being sent abroad for lengthy stays. I have also been to several 
welcome home ceremonies to honor their service and to thank them for 
their sacrifice.
  Sadly, I have also had 18 military funerals in my congressional 
district alone, most of which I have personally attended. If I don't 
have to attend another military funeral, if I don't have to pick up the 
phone to call another grieving family, I will be one of the happiest 
people in the world. They are a constant reminder of the human toll 
this war is having, not only with our troops but also with their 
families and our communities. There is not a day that goes by when I am 
not concerned about the safety and welfare of our troops.
  A new direction, not an escalation, is what is needed in Iraq. We 
have now been in Iraq longer than the entire Second World War. The 
supplemental provides that new direction--one where the Iraqis assume 
responsibility for their future, and the U.S. starts to redeploy our

[[Page H2993]]

troops and strengthen our military that is stretched too thin and on 
the verge of breaking. ``More of the same,'' or ``staying the course,'' 
is not an option.
  Once again I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks and undying 
admiration for our men and women in uniform for their service to our 
country. May God bless them and their families during this difficult 
time. May God provide his special blessings and care for those who fell 
in the line of duty. And may God continue to bless these United States 
of America.
  Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the 
Democrats' so-called emergency supplemental. This cynical bill uses our 
troops as a political bargaining chip for additional billions in 
unrelated, pork barrel spending, which has nothing to do with winning 
the global war on terrorism. This bill has become a Christmas tree of 
  I ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, what does $25 
million for spinach growers, $74 million for peanut storage, and $50 
for the Capitol Power Plant have to do with winning the wars in Iraq 
and Afghanistan?
  Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the list of unrelated spending goes on 
longer than I have time.
  Spinach producers and peanut farmers may very well need and deserve 
the money. And I am sure the Capitol Power Plant needs improvements, 
but why in this bill? Why is this money not being considered through 
regular order or subjected to normal budgetary rules, like PAYGO? And 
most importantly, why at the expense of our troops?
  This important spending bill is being used as a vehicle to 
micromanage the war and score political points. Our troops deserve 
better. We need to focus on getting the equipment to our troops on the 
front lines and get away from political posturing.
  However, this bill is not about the troops. It is about politics. It 
is about tying the hands of the commander-in-chief because some in this 
body do not agree with his policies.
  People on both sides of the aisle can certainly agree that mistakes 
have been made in Iraq and a change of strategy is long overdue. 
However, what should this change of strategy be? Should the U.S. 
immediately pull out of Iraq, leave the terrorists emboldened and 
potentially put more Americans at risk? Or do we need a new strategy to 
win the war and finish the job?
  While no proposal guarantees success, a precipitous withdrawal of 
U.S. support would guarantee failure. The stakes are too high to fail 
in Iraq. It remains in America's strategic interests to ensure regional 
stability in the Middle East and to deny terrorists a safe haven in 
  I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill. Furthermore, I hope 
that the House leadership will bring up a clean bill that focuses 
solely on supporting our troops and not one filled up with pork and 
unrelated spending.
  Mr. DAVIS of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, I will vote today for a resolution 
that would finally draw the war in Iraq to a close, and that would for 
the first time put conditions of self-determination on the Iraqi 
government that has benefited from our country's generosity. While I 
was not yet in Congress at the time of the original authorization 
debate in 2002, I have concluded that the authorization decision was 
wrong and that too many American lives have been sacrificed for the 
dubious cause of advancing the interests of one side of an Iraqi civil 
war over the other.
  It is also my belief that Congress has the unmistakable authority to 
put time limits on the commitment of American forces and to attach 
strings to the manner in which military funds are spent: Congress has 
used this power before in Lebanon, Vietnam, and Somalia, and most 
recently, during the second term of the Clinton Administration, when 
Republican congressional majorities imposed restrictions on the use of 
ground forces and on the duration of the force commitment made during 
the Balkan conflict.
  Some of my colleagues who share my opposition to the war have 
suggested that this resolution has the defect of not going far enough 
in that it does not require an immediate withdrawal of American forces. 
I disagree: for the sake of regional stability, any withdrawal should 
be more orderly and more measured than the haphazard way American 
forces were deployed in the first place.
  Other anti-war critics argue that a Democratic Congress has a moral 
imperative to take a bolder course, such as repeal of the 2002 
authorization or a pledge to impound funding for additional 
deployments. While I agree that the test of Democratic legislation 
cannot be whether it would attract a Presidential veto (if that is the 
standard, Democrats would be immobilized this next 2 years), it is 
reasonable for the Democratic leadership to pursue a bill that can win 
overwhelming Democratic support, including those members from more 
conservative districts whose opposition to the war comes at some 
political cost.
  Finally, I respect the concern of some Alabamians that any withdrawal 
from Iraq is a loss of prestige that will embolden our enemies. While 
this is not a trivial argument, the reality is that radical Islamic 
fundamentalism has exploded into a civil war in Iraq and that Al Queda 
will be a generation-long threat. These conflicts will rage on 
regardless of whether we are in combat in Iraq because they are rooted 
not in an assessment of our strength but in a permanent disdain for our 
  We need to engage Islamic terrorism on a different ground, such as 
Afghanistan, where Al Queda is resurgent, and we should use the 
leverage from a withdrawal from Iraq to cement international resistance 
to the Iranian nuclear program. Lines should be drawn in the sand 
around Israel's security, and the steady work of cultivating Arab 
moderates and isolating Arab radicals should continue. But it is time 
to end our active engagement in the disaster that is Iraq.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, simply put, I strongly oppose 
this war and have done so since its inception.
  I stand ready to do whatever needs to be done to bring this conflict 
to a responsible end--and I have been working toward that goal since 
the first day I stepped onto this floor.
  As a Progressive, my first inclination was to vote against this 
  I still believe it's important to loudly proclaim that this war 
should end, but I've come to the conclusion that a vote against this 
bill is not the most effective way to make that statement.
  Even though this supplemental does not push for an immediate end, it 
is our best hope in the Progressive struggle to bring our troops home 
and finally allow the Iraqis to determine their own future.
  I am also strongly supportive of the funds provided in this bill to 
fund the S-CHIP shortfall.
  Georgia's PeachCare program needs immediate relief and this bill will 
ensure children in need in my state continue to receive the health 
insurance we promised them, at least for the short term.
  Make no mistake, I do not consider this bill to be the final 
statement on the war in Iraq--or the PeachCare program for that matter. 
But it is a good start and I will support it today.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. Speaker, I want to voice my support for this 
supplemental, not because I agree with everything in it, but because I 
agree with the most important thing in it: a binding deadline to 
redeploy our troops from Iraq.
  We need to redeploy our troops from Iraq, first and foremost, because 
it is in our national security interest.
  As someone who voted for the original resolution, I am particularly 
pained by the suffering of the thousands of our servicemembers killed 
and tens of thousands wounded. I'm glad this bill begins to put the 
appropriate resources into caring for those coming home with traumatic 
brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, and beginning to fix 
the problems at Walter Reed Medical Center and other facilities. It is 
outrageous that this Administration has allowed our uniformed men and 
women to be treated so shabbily.
  I also have enormous sympathy for the families of servicemembers 
killed and injured in Iraq. I agonize about those on the home front who 
worry every day about getting that horrible visit, and who struggle to 
raise children, pay bills, and lead some semblance of normal life with 
family members in a combat zone. I want our troops to come home.
  Yet the hardships they and their families endure are not the reason 
to bring our troops home. I know that the men and women in uniform, and 
the families behind them, are willing to make the sacrifices they do if 
that is what it takes to make America more secure.
  But the truth is, this war is not making us more secure.
  By manipulating the intelligence and rushing to war, ignoring our 
allies, grossly mismanaging the occupation, and basing this entire war 
on ideology and hope rather than expertise and pragmatism, the 
Administration has torn our national security fabric.
  Staying in Iraq, policing their civil war, does not bring us closer 
to defeating the global network of extremists who wish to harm us. To 
the contrary, in order to improve national security and best address 
our other strategic interests around the world and here at home, we 
must dramatically change our current direction in Iraq.
  Redeployment from Iraq will enhance our security by allowing us to 
properly address other potential challenges around the world, from 
Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iran to the Western Pacific, the Horn of 
Africa, and the greater Middle East. In particular, it will allow us to 
put our attention back on Afghanistan and Pakistan and the fight 
against a resurgent al Qaeda and Taliban, the enemies who actually 
engineered 9/11.
  Bringing troops home also allows us to resolve the concerns about the 
readiness of our Armed Forces, which have been strained to the breaking 
point because of this Administration's careless management of the war 
in Iraq.

[[Page H2994]]

  Perhaps most importantly, only by extricating ourselves from the mess 
of Iraq can we begin moving our country back to a common-sense policy 
of strength through leadership. Every day our military is in Iraq our 
standing in the international community erodes further.
  Already we've seen respect for the United States plunge from record 
highs after 9/11 to record lows now. This loss of moral authority 
compromises our ability to lead multinational efforts to fight national 
security threats from terrorism and nuclear proliferation to global 
wanning and drug trafficking.
  We cannot begin rebuilding our international credibility and 
leadership until we have redeployed from Iraq. We cannot restore the 
flexibility to meet the real, potentially existential threats of 
nuclear terrorism that were used to justify the invasion of Iraq until 
we exit Iraq.
  We hear dire warnings about the awful results if we leave Iraq. It is 
true that bad things may happen when our Armed Forces leave if the 
Iraqis cannot or will not choose reconciliation over conflict. But that 
will be true if we leave at the end of this year, the end of next year, 
or in 2015. Delaying redeployment only delays the Iraqis' moment of 
  The sooner we begin redeployment, the sooner we begin unraveling the 
tremendous damage that this war and its mismanagement have wrought on 
our national security. Given the Administration's history of 
manipulation and deceit, the interim deadlines of December 2007 and 
March 2008 may not prove binding, since the President can make 
certifications that waive those deadlines. I will support this 
supplemental, however, because it does set a binding deadline on 
withdrawal no later than August of next year. I would like the deadline 
to be sooner, but most important is that we bring finality to this war.
  Our men and women in uniform have served our country courageously and 
performed brilliantly--just as they always do. But asking them to stand 
between warring factions is not only unfair, it's counterproductive.
  I believe in a strong U.S. engagement around the world, including 
using military force when necessary. I also believe, as did Presidents 
Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Reagan, that America's greatest 
strength comes from its values and its ability to lead. We need to 
restore America's leadership. We need to strengthen America's security. 
We need to pass this supplemental and begin the redeployment from Iraq.
  Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to 
H.R. 1591. This is not an Emergency War Supplemental; it is the 
Partisan Repayment Act. Indeed, this legislation is less about 
supplying the troops than feeding the base.
  There is desperate need for a new Iraq policy, and we should be using 
this opportunity to have a serious discussion. It is unseemly, even 
embarrassing, to use pork to buy support for bad policy on a bill as 
important as this one. It makes us look as trifling and greedy as our 
enemies claim. The well-being of our men and women in uniform is in the 
balance, as is the future of the Middle East. If ever there was a time 
to win on the strength of one's ideas, this is it.
  I share the concerns of my colleagues regarding the progress of the 
war, and I believe there is value in setting benchmarks. Ours should 
not be an open-ended, unquestioning commitment to the Iraqis. They do 
need to assume more responsibility for their own affairs. It is not the 
job of our troops to referee partisan quarrels, nor is it our job to 
baby-sit the Iraqi government.
  It is foolish, however, to make such milestones public. It is even 
more foolish to announce a date for withdrawal. Doing so gives the 
enemy too much information and too many options.
  It is also foolish to codify deadlines. Who's to say the Iraqi 
government won't make a good faith effort to accomplish the tasks 
required of them? It would be wise to allow them flexibility, not give 
them a drop-dead date. We ourselves are working under a continuing 
resolution because we could not pass more than two appropriations bills 
last year. Our 5-day workweeks are often 4 days long--who are we to set 
a deadline in statute?
  There is a pressing need to formulate a new policy for Iraq. I am 
disappointed the Democrats have yet to allow a serious debate on this, 
the most important issue facing the Congress today. Rather, we have 
wasted time with a non-binding resolution regarding tactics--not even 
strategy. Now we send the Iraqis a laundry list of errands and a pre-
determined result.
  Success in Iraq will require a broad based policy shift. The Iraq 
Study Group report includes 79 recommendations covering all facets of 
public policy--military, diplomatic, economic, and social. This report 
should form the basis of a productive discussion. Unfortunately, the 
Democratic leadership has opted for a hodge-podge of sound bites 
masquerading as serious legislation. They have stifled debate rather 
than encouraged it by refusing to allow any amendments.
  Mr. Speaker, this is but the first act in the play. Our own 
servicemen and women do need the funding this bill would provide. I am 
confident once we get beyond this charade we will be able to craft 
responsible legislation to give it to them.
  Mr. YARMUTH. Mr. Speaker, we began this week by solemnly marking the 
fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq, the more than 3,200 brave 
soldiers who have been killed there, and the 378 billion dollars that 
have been appropriated thus far. But we end the week with the historic 
opportunity to bring about an end to this catastrophe.
  Over the last 4 years, the President not only failed to provide a 
plan to win in Iraq, he failed to offer our troops concrete and 
attainable objectives. Where he has let down our forces and the 
American people, Congress has a Constitutional obligation to step in, 
and this, ``The U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq 
Accountability Act,'' is our chance. It is our only real chance, to see 
this war end, to comply with the stated will of the American people, 
and to bring our troops home.
  It is important to remember that this bill does more than set 
benchmarks and a timeline; it also provides much needed funding to 
protect our troops abroad and care for our veterans at home. A vote 
against this bill is a vote for the President but against our soldiers; 
it supports the war but abandons our young men and women in uniform.
  That being said, whether we authorize it or not, the President will 
find the funding to prolong this war, even if it is at the expense of 
our soldiers, our veterans, and other crucial programs. This country 
cannot afford another Walter Reed, nor can it afford to send the 
President another blank check to indefinitely extend this occupation.
  The President has asked for a bill without strings attached. He 
doesn't deserve a bill without strings. In 4 years of acting without 
strings, this war has never had an end in sight. We have before us 
today the opportunity to bring finality into view, and I urge my 
colleagues, members of the Senate, and President Bush not to squander 
this opportunity. I ask that we unite in support of Iraqi independence, 
U.S. troops, and H.R. 1591.
  Mrs. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Speaker, 4 years that have been 
difficult for our country, we have had to watch the administration 
bungle the war in Iraq in just about every way imaginable. As war 
became civil war in Iraq, we watched our colleagues on the other side 
of the aisle act as a rubber stamp for this misguided war while 
refusing to ask the pertinent questions, the questions we were asking, 
the questions the American people were asking. And we watched as 3,200 
of our brave troops lost their lives in another country's civil war, 
while 24,000 came home with permanent injuries and billions upon 
billions of our taxpayers' dollars have been sunk into the quicksand 
Iraq has become.
  This will be the case no more.
  With the scores of oversight hearings our leadership has already 
conducted this year and now with this legislation, we are, for the 
first time, bringing accountability, timelines and end to the 
mismanaged war in Iraq.
  Congress is no longer a rubber stamp.
  The President has asked us time and again for money for this war 
without any strings. This, despite the fact that they let many of our 
troops go to battle without the proper equipment, and that they can't 
even account for $12 billion of taxpayer money for reconstruction.
  With this bill, we will bring accountability as well as money for our 
injured soldiers who have been neglected. We are adding a total of $3.4 
billion for the military health care system, including money to address 
the problems at Walter Reed and money for head injuries and post-
traumatic stress disorder.
  For 4 years, the administration's war policies have been risking 
lives and spending this country's treasure without any accountability.
  This legislation will end the free ride and it will end the war.
  I urge my colleagues to vote in favor.
  Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1591, but 
with some reservations. While I appreciate the care with which Speaker 
Pelosi, Chairman Obey and the Democratic leadership have approached 
this supplemental appropriations bill, we are left, as we often are, 
with a flawed product. But I do believe, in regard to Iraq, that it is 
the best we are able to do right now.
  The legislation for the first time establishes performance benchmarks 
for the Iraqi military and government, and firmly states that it is 
time to bring the troops home sooner rather than later. I did not vote 
to authorize the Iraq war, and I do not support President Bush's troop 
surge, but if this bill does not pass we will be forced to pass a 
funding bill that does not have these benchmarks, and that would be 
nothing more than the status quo, which is a blank check for President 
Bush. I say again, I do not support everything in this legislation, but 
it is the best alternative available to us at the present time.
  I am particularly troubled by the non-military and non-veteran 
spending in this bill. While I

[[Page H2995]]

support more funding for some of the important needs addressed here, 
particularly domestic spending priorities that have been severely 
neglected by the Bush administration over the last 6 years, they would 
be better considered elsewhere. The bill does address serious 
deficiencies in our veterans' health care system, and I whole-heartedly 
support this funding. We have a great deal more work to do to ensure 
that the brave men and women who defend this country are fully 
supported upon their return home, but this is a good start.
  Mr. Speaker, this legislation, like the war itself, presents us with 
tough choices. I will support the bill, and by doing so send a signal 
that it is time for the Iraqis to also make tough political decisions 
and take control of their own destiny. My thoughts and prayers are with 
our troops and their families, and I will continue to work for their 
speedy return.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the 
U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act. I 
concede that the legislation we are voting on today is by no means 
perfect, but I do believe it is a step in the right direction and 
deserves the support of those Americans who want to bring this 
misguided and mismanaged war to a responsible and timely conclusion.
  In an ideal world, we would bring our troops home today, but that 
doesn't match the reality of our struggle in Iraq. We have an even 
smaller chance of accomplishing that goal in the Senate. The bill 
before us represents the best opportunity to affect the conduct of this 
  The benchmarks established within the supplemental are the same as 
those proposed by the President in January, the Iraq Study Group, and 
endorsed by Iraqi leaders. They include real consequences for the Iraqi 
government and a definite timeline for a phased and deliberate 
redeployment of American combat forces from Iraq by no later than 
August 2008. The bill provides what is currently missing in the 
President's policies--a plan to redeploy our troops from a situation 
that cannot be improved by their continued presence.
  It's unmistakable that our presence in Iraq has weakened our Armed 
Forces and jeopardized our standing in the world. It has also diverted 
valuable resources away from fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan, tracking 
down Osama bin Laden, and preventing another terrorist attack against 
America. The supplemental not only provides a new direction in Iraq, 
but also redirects resources to fight the real global war on terrorism.
  To all of those who argue that passage of this legislation would mean 
conceding defeat to the terrorists, I would say both that they are 
wrong, and that the alternative they endorse is unacceptable. For what 
they propose is simply ``stay the course,'' more of the same--more 
deaths, more life altering injuries, more destruction, more squandered 
opportunity, more debt, and more diminished standing in the world. This 
legislation is about sending a message to the President that he cannot 
pursue the same failed strategy of the past 4 years and receive a blank 
check from this Congress.
  Mr. Speaker, I am opposed to this war. I believe the decision to 
invade Iraq is the single most devastating and misguided foreign policy 
decision our Nation has ever made. I will vote for the supplemental 
because I believe it is the best course available to us at this time to 
bring our involvement in this misguided tragedy to an end.
  Ms. BORDALLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1591, the 
U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act. 
This legislation would make emergency supplemental appropriations for 
the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007.
  H.R. 1591 would provide funding for many purposes. This funding would 
support our military personnel who are fighting our country's enemies. 
This funding also would support our civilian personnel who are trying 
to establish a lasting peace for beleaguered citizens of some of the 
world's most troubled countries. Of particular note, this legislation 
includes much needed funding for healthcare for wounded warriors who 
have returned home, having given all but their lives in service to our 
  Debate with respect to this legislation will focus on the war in 
Iraq. Iraq is today's signature issue and it is also one of the most 
divisive and complex ones before this Congress. The choices we make 
regarding Iraq will establish a legacy for the United States that will 
define our policy toward the Middle East region for a generation or 
longer. For that reason, it is my hope that we, as an institution and, 
indeed, as a country can agree upon a policy that protects our national 
interests and those of our allies and supports those servicemembers and 
civilians--and their families--who so bravely serve our country today 
in Iraq and elsewhere around the world.
  It is true the government of Iraq must work to better fulfill its 
obligation to govern from moderate positions, with uniformity, and with 
regard to the rule of law. On January 31, 2007, I introduced H.R. 744, 
the Iraq Policy Revitalization and Congressional Oversight Enhancement 
Act. H.R. 744 would take a different approach to the challenge of 
setting metrics to measure progress in Iraq and to define the terms for 
completion of the mission in that country than what is called for in 
H.R. 1591, the legislation that is currently before this body.
  I am a member of the Committee on Armed Services and I have traveled 
to Iraq eight times since taking office in 2003. These trips have 
allowed me to observe our operations in Iraq and to personally speak 
with our commanders, servicemembers, and civilian personnel in the 
field. I have also had the opportunity to speak with Iraqi leaders 
during these visits. As a result, I have learned a great deal about the 
accomplishments made in Iraq to date. I have also learned of the many 
challenges that remain there.
  I believe that an honest and open exchange of views on the substance 
of what our country and our allies must achieve in Iraq in order to 
complete Operation Iraqi Freedom is needed. Finding an achievable, 
expeditious, and honorable way to complete Operation Iraqi Freedom 
should be a primary goal for all of us. We owe this to those who have 
sacrificed so much for this mission. But the situation in Iraq will not 
yield a solution easily. Nevertheless, we must endeavor to find one. In 
doing so, we will be helping shape in the best way possible the legacy 
future generations of Americans will inherit and the one that we will 
have to defend to history. Like it or not, the United States assumed a 
moral obligation to bring order to Iraq when we, in a pre-emptive 
manner, attacked that country four years ago this month. History will 
judge us harshly if we act in a way that would abandon this obligation.
  It is for this reason and others that I strongly support the funding 
called for by this legislation that supports our wounded warriors who 
are embarking on their long but hopeful roads to recovery, that 
supports our servicemembers who continue to pursue our enemies 
worldwide, and that supports our civilian personnel who work to 
stabilize and reconstruct countries that are now home to disturbing 
violence and heartbreaking loss of life. I urge my colleagues to 
support the funding called for by this legislation.
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, our country has just begun the fifth year of 
war in Iraq. By overwhelming numbers, the American people want a new 
direction and I believe this bill contains the policy and the plan to 
help bring an end to the misguided policies of the Administration.
  Military leaders, Generals Abizaid, Odom and Powell, as well as 
former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, have all come 
forward to observe that the Administration's war-without-end policy is 
not a strategy for success.
  Today's legislation directs itself to important change. It sets a new 
course for ending the war.
  The bill requires accountability: It puts the Iraqis in charge of 
Iraq. If they cannot or will not bring their country under control, if 
conditions continue to worsen and political and military benchmarks are 
not met, beginning in July 2007 (less than four months from today), our 
troops will begin an immediate redeployment.
  The bill begins a redeployment: It sets a firm timeline to pull U.S. 
troops out of Iraq and in legally-binding terms declares that all U.S. 
troops will be out of Iraq by August 31, 2008, if not sooner.
  It requires the Iraqis--not our soldiers--to reign in the militias, 
aggressively pursue the insurgents and provide ``evenhanded security 
for all Iraqis.''
  The bill prohibits the establishment of any permanent military bases. 
It bans the use of torture. It redirects resources back to the fight 
against terrorism and Al-Qaeda, and recommits us to creating a stable 
state in Afghanistan.
  The bill takes care of our troops. It provides over $3 billion more 
than the President's request to meet the neglected needs of our 
returning soldiers and veterans around the country.
  The following are quotes from respected national leaders:
  Retired General William Odom, former Director of the National 
Security Agency under President Reagan and member of the National 
Security Council under President Carter stated recently: ``Getting out 
of Iraq is the pre-condition for creating new strategic options.''
  According to former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski:
  ``The United States cannot afford an open-ended commitment to a war 
without end. A means must be devised to end the U.S. combat role in 
Iraq and reduce our troop levels, so that we can begin to rebuild our 
military and reclaim our position of leadership in the world. The bill 
the House will consider this week does that in an effective and 
responsible way.''
  Former NATO Commander Wesley Clark:

[[Page H2996]]

  ``The conflict must be resolved politically--military efforts alone 
are insufficient--and this legislation strongly promotes that political 
  Mr. Speaker, I will vote for this supplemental legislation. For the 
first time the debate about Iraq is not ``if' or ``how.'' It is about 
``when'' . . . when our troops will come home.
  It is binding language.
  It is sensible language.
  It is language that will change the direction of the war.
  It is language that will help to heal our wounded troops.
  It is language that will help heal our Nation.
  I urge my colleagues to support the bill.
  Mrs. McCARTHY of New York. Mr. Speaker, today, I will vote in favor 
of H.R. 1591, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq 
Accountability Act of 2007 to fully fund our troops and end the war in 
  This legislation will fully fund the troops serving in Iraq. It is 
imperative that they have the necessary equipment to conduct their 
mission as safely and swiftly as possible.
  Today's vote marks a major shift in the strategy for Iraq by imposing 
real responsibility on the Iraqi government. President Bush outlined 
several benchmarks for the Iraqi government in his January 10 address. 
Unfortunately, there were no real consequences for the Iraqi government 
if these benchmarks were not met. Today's vote put real pressure on 
Prime Minister Maliki and the Iraqi government to meet these 
benchmarks. If the Iraqis do not step up and take control of their own 
security, U.S. forces will begin a phased redeployment as early as July 
1, 2007. All U.S. troops must begin their redeployment by March 1, 
2008, by which time, the Iraqis will have had ample opportunity to be 
trained and take control of their situation.
  The U.S. cannot remain in Iraq indefinitely. During the past 4 years, 
the U.S. has suffered over 3,000 casualties and countless injuries 
attempting to curb the violence in Iraq. The time has come for the 
Iraqis to stand up and make a real investment in the security and 
future of their nation.
  I will continue to support our troops and ensure they are trained and 
properly equipped for battle. But the course in Iraq must be changed, 
and that change has begun today.
  Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 1591, 
the so-called U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq 
Accountability Act of 2007.
  That's what my Democratic colleagues are calling the bill. And while 
I support the funding in the bill for troop readiness and veterans' 
health care, I wonder why the bill's title ends with Iraq 
Accountability. Why not mention hand-outs to dairy interests, spinach 
farmers, citrus growers, or for storing peanuts? Yes, $74 million for 
storing peanuts.
  Why not mention the unrequested funding for fighting wildfires in the 
west, or the doubling of so-called ``emergency'' funds for the long-
known and well planned Base Realignment and Closure effort--funding 
that the new majority knew was needed, but wouldn't provide in the 
continuing resolution just last month? Why not mention the increase in 
the minimum wage or funding for asbestos abatement in the Capitol 
contained in this alleged emergency wartime supplemental appropriations 
  ``Clean'' is not a word I would use to describe this bill, which 
includes more than $21 billion in spending that is completely unrelated 
to troop readiness, veterans' health, or Iraq. Sure, I've heard of 
Christmas in July, but Christmas in March? What happened to the other 
party's promise to end business as usual? This bill is worse than 
usual. As the editorial in USA Today put it yesterday, ``It's hard to 
believe which is worse: leaders offering peanuts for a vote of this 
magnitude, or members allowing their votes to be bought for peanuts.''
  Don't get me wrong. I agree that Congress has a responsibility and an 
obligation to ensure the Veterans Administration and the Department of 
Defense have the resources necessary to care for our veterans from all 
wars and our wounded soldiers returning from Iraq, Afghanistan, and 
  I agree that Congress has a responsibility and an obligation to see 
that American troops are ready and able to fulfill their mission. 
That's why I am a cosponsor of a bill introduced by my distinguished 
and decorated colleague from Texas, Mr. Johnson. H.R. 511 pledges, 
``Congress will not cut off or restrict funding for units and members 
of the Armed Forces that the Commander in Chief has deployed in harm's 
way'' in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  I also agree that we must do a better job holding the Iraqi 
government accountable. For too long, we pursued an open-ended 
commitment without well-defined goals and clear benchmarks for success.
  That's why I am a cosponsor of legislation, H.R. 1062, that will hold 
the Administration--and the Iraqi government--accountable in achieving 
clear benchmarks.
  It requires the President to report to Congress, every 30 days, on 
the extent to which the Government of Iraq is moving forward on more 
than a dozen fronts, from troop training and security to rebuilding, 
reconciliation, international cooperation and enforcing the rule of 
  It also requires progress reports on the implementation of strategies 
that will prevent Iraqi territory from becoming a safe haven for 
terrorist activities.
  But the bill we are considering today goes beyond funding and 
benchmarks and crosses a constitutional line that has long kept 
Congress from micromanaging military and foreign affairs.
  Instead of sweeping away bureaucratic obstacles to success, this bill 
creates 435 new armchair generals.
  Instead of giving General Petraeus and our diplomatic leaders the 
flexibility to fulfill their mission, it saddles them with bureaucratic 
requirements and arbitrary timetables.
  Instead of ensuring that our troops in harm's way have the resources 
and equipment they need, this bill uses our military men and women as 
pawns in a dangerous political game.
  Instead of giving our troops, the Iraqi people, and their fledgling 
government one last chance, it gives them one last mandate--to retreat 
in defeat.
  As if the bill wasn't wasteful enough, it starts a perilous countdown 
to a vacuum in leadership and security that threatens any prospect for 
peace or stability in the Middle East for years to come. And it does a 
great disservice to our men and women in uniform and their commanders 
in the field who have already sacrificed so much for our freedom and 
security and that of the Iraqi people. They deserve better.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose this irresponsible bill.
  Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, we meet on what is the fourth day of the 
fifth year of the war in Iraq. It is a war that has gone on longer than 
the war in Korea. America has been fighting longer in Iraq than we did 
during World War II--even though that was an international conflict 
fought on two fronts against some of the most dangerous threats to our 
national security ever known.
  Too many Members of this Congress and of this Administration have for 
years seen what they wanted to see in Iraq, and believed what they 
wanted to believe. But their conceptions couldn't matter less to the 
men and women of that nation, or to the men and women of the American 
military who are fighting there.
  Civilians and soldiers don't live in the world as politicians say it 
is. They live in the world as it really is. And they live, every day, 
with the consequences of the decisions made here in this chamber.
  During the first 4 years of the Iraq war, they had to live with an 
Administration and a Congress that either could not, or would not, see 
this conflict for what it really was: a war that was not being won, 
that was being fought by soldiers who often did not have the equipment 
they needed or the care they were owed, that was not improving the 
security of the Iraqi people, that was depleting our military and, as a 
result, endangering the long-term security of this nation, and that was 
based on a flawed strategy that desperately needed to be changed.
  They lived with the former Secretary of Defense dismissing persistent 
equipment shortages by telling us that our nation had gone to war with 
the Army it had. By the time Mr. Rumsfeld had uttered those words, on 
December 9th, 2004, 1,288 U.S. soldiers had been killed.
  They lived with predictions that the insurgency in Iraq was in its 
last throes, a statement made 6 months later. Four hundred thirty-seven 
more soldiers had lost their lives in those months.
  And now, they live with more calls for patience from the 
Administration and its allies, and more denunciations of anyone who 
would seek a different course in Iraq.
  As of today, more than 3,200 soldiers have died in this war. The 
civilian death toll is astonishing, with estimates now running as high 
as 1 million Iraqi men, women, and children killed as a direct or 
indirect result of the conflict and the chaos it has unleashed. 
Millions more have been dislocated, driven out of their homes and into 
refugee camps.
  It is long past time for this institution to join with our soldiers 
and with the people of Iraq in seeing this war for what it really is.
  The legislation before us today represents the first real chance 
Democrats have had since 2003 to change the course of the war in Iraq. 
And we intend to do it.
  We will do it not because we are conceding anything to those who 
would do our Nation harm, not because we lack the will to continue the 
fight, and not because, as some would have you believe, we are giving 
  Instead, we are going to change the course of this war because the 
future of the people of Iraq hinges on it, because a basic level of 
respect for our soldiers demands it, and because the long-term security 
of our Nation depends on it.

[[Page H2997]]

  Mr. Speaker, the simple reality is that the situation in Iraq is 
stagnant at best, and deteriorating at worst. Politically, economic and 
military goals are not being met there. Faced with such truths, why 
should this House pass yet another blank check for the war, as past 
Congresses have done?
  Instead, this bill is based on a simple and logical idea: it makes 
America's continued involvement in Iraq conditional on the situation 
there improving.
  America's soldiers will no longer be asked to fight in an open-ended 
war whose goal line keeps moving. This legislation requires Iraqi 
leaders to make the political compromises necessary to produce a 
working government that will function for all of Iraq--or else risk 
losing America's military support. And it will require security 
benchmarks to be met if American soldiers are to continue sacrificing 
their own safety for that goal.
  But what is more, this bill represents the first step Congress has 
ever taken towards ending the war in Iraq.
  A clear majority of the American people want this body to take 
decisive steps toward that end. A clear majority of our global allies 
want the same thing. A significant number of generals and military 
officials think that ending this conflict must be achieved sooner 
rather than later.
  This bill is a response to their words, and to their counsel. It will 
not end the war immediately, nor will it end it recklessly.
  Instead, it rejects the idea of a war in Iraq without end.
  To continue funding this conflict without requiring any tangible 
progress to be made in Iraq makes no sense. It would achieve neither 
peace in that nation, nor security here.
  But what it would achieve, Mr. Speaker, is the continued depletion 
and degradation of our military beyond all reason. It would continue to 
render our armed forces unable to fight in other parts of the world 
against other threats. And it would continue to force suffering 
soldiers to return to the battlefield time and again, despite physical 
and mental injuries.
  We know the statistics: in addition to the 3,223 soldiers that have 
died, tens of thousands more have been injured, some permanently. And 
there are more than 32,000 Iraq veterans--32,000--who who every day 
suffer silently from the scourge of mental health problems. More than 
13,000 of those men and women have been diagnosed with post-traumatic 
stress disorder, PTSD.

  And yet, they are afforded no relief. The President's escalation of 
this conflict is forcing more soldiers back into combat sooner, with 
less rest, with less training, and with less time to heal. There are 
even reports of men and women being sent back to Iraq who are too 
injured to wear body armor.
  Mr. Speaker, it is important not to view these realities in the 
abstract. I want to share with you a story I recently heard, the story 
of one young lieutenant currently awaiting his second deployment to 
  Though he trained as an engineer, his first tour of duty saw him 
bravely patrolling dangerous streets north of Baghdad. He returned last 
December, and was initially expecting a year on base during which to 
rest and train a new platoon.
  Instead, he will be heading back months sooner. He says that the 
soldiers under his command are not going to get the time they need to 
train properly for their mission. The vehicles and equipment they now 
use to train for war are failing and often break They are physically 
weary, with many still suffering from the lingering effects of leg and 
back injuries. Others are battling more elusive damage, and are in 
counseling for PTSD. He even told me that the vast majority of the once 
married soldiers in his unit are now or will soon be divorced. Their 
lives outside of the war are coming apart.
  And yet, if you ask him, he will never complain about these 
difficulties. They are all part of the life of the soldier, he says, a 
few of the many challenges he and his men will confront every day they 
are deployed. When those in the military are given a mission, he told 
me, they find a way to complete it. That creed is the foundation of the 
strength of our Armed Forces.
  It is the personification of the word sacrifice, Mr. Speaker. This 
young soldier and those under his charge are going back to Iraq again, 
even though they are wounded, and tired, and lacking in training and 
equipment. They miss their families. They miss their lives back home. 
But they are going all the same--going simply because this body has 
given the President the right to send them into battle.
  But what this soldier did tell me is that our Armed Forces cannot go 
on like this. He said that if the foundation of our military's 
strength--its refusal to admit defeat--is misused, then we will end up 
destroying our system of national defense.
  We hear the reports of the 82nd Airborne, for decades able to respond 
anywhere in the world within 72 hours, now struggling to respond to 
anything besides deployment orders sending its soldiers to Iraq.
  We see men and women in uniform being sent back for tour after tour 
after tour, our services desperately trying to find a way to meet new 
troop requirements.
  Mr. Speaker, this war represents a dramatic misuse of our military. 
In the name of our national security, it is undermining the only true 
guarantor of national security that we have: our Armed Forces. And for 
4 years, this Congress let it happen.
  But not any more. Today, the House will finally recognize that our 
military is at the breaking point--not because of any inherent 
weakness, but because it is being asked to complete a mission no army 
could succeed at.
  And so, that mission must change.
  The new strategy this bill sets forth has nothing to do with 
surrender, Mr. Speaker. Instead, it has everything to do with doing 
what must be done to work toward a secure Iraq. And it has everything 
to do with refusing to allow those who would do us harm fool us into 
defeating ourselves--in the process, attaining a victory that they will 
never be able to achieve on their own.
  Let me say as well that this funding bill also respects our soldiers 
enough to put their needs at the forefront of our national priorities, 
instead of leaving them behind. From now on, if they are asked to go 
into battle without being fully armored, fully rested, and fully 
trained, then the President himself will have to stand before this 
country and explain why it is necessary to do so.
  This bill will also provide desperately needed funds for veterans' 
health care. Our country is seeing more wounded soldiers returning from 
abroad than at any point in 40 years, and yet for years, our health 
care system has failed thousands of them. It is unconscionable, and it 
is long past time that it was changed.
  Finally, this bill both increases funding for the ongoing conflict in 
Afghanistan and for a variety of other critically important national 
security objectives.
  Taken together, it represents the beginning of what will be a 
responsible and ethical shift in our national security priorities away 
from a mistaken conflict in Iraq and back toward other concerns--the 
continued rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, for example, and the 
needs of wounded soldiers at home.
  By changing a flawed strategy that has weakened our military for 
years without getting us any closer to a stable Iraq, this legislation 
represents our country's best chance to shake both of our nations free 
from the shackles of a stalemate benefiting neither.
  It is an important and historic bill, one that the people of Iraq 
deserve, that the American people deserve, and that our troops most 
certainly deserve. I am proud to support it, and I urge all of my 
colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. MELANCON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Katrina-
Rita supplemental. The President was quoted yesterday as saying we 
needed a clean bill to fund the rebuild of Iraq. I disagree with that 
statement and suggest that we need the comprehensive bill put forth by 
the majority, so that the people of the Gulf Coast States can rebuild. 
For too long we are funding the rebuilding of foreign communities. 
While this is admirable, the American people deserve first call on the 
rebuilding money, and help when it is their very tax dollars that are 
being spent.
  My Caucus leadership took me seriously when I challenged them to put 
forth action rather than words. The supplemental appropriation bill we 
are debating tonight is the first and only vehicle available to 
Katrina-Rita affected citizens! Because of budgetary rules, there is no 
other opportunity to address the unfinished levees, the rebuilding 
needs of local governments, affordable housing so people can return, 
and help for the coastal fisheries and farmers who have, to date, been 
virtually ignored.
  My colleagues in the affected Gulf Coast States need to decide where 
they stand. If we let this one chance for $1.3 billion in levee 
assistance pass us by, every Member of Congress who votes against this 
should be held accountable for putting South Louisiana's citizens in 
harms way.
  Are you in support of your Party, or are you for helping 
Louisianians, Mississipians and taxpaying Americans?
  I support the Americans!
  I would also like to submit the following clarification for the 
  This supplemental will provide funding for agriculture and fisheries 
disaster assistance along the Gulf Coast. For livestock producers, our 
intent is to increase the payment limit for those who lost hundreds of 
cattle as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. These cattlemen have 
been inadequately compensated as a result of previously underfunded 
USDA programs. Our citrus growers--whose groves were destroyed from up 
to a month of saltwater several feet deep--should receive an increase 
in the payment rate for USDA's hurricane assistance program.
  Additionally, this bill contains desperately needed assistance for 
our shrimp, menhaden,

[[Page H2998]]

as well as other fisheries that were devastated by the storms and, 
unfortunately have been forgotten for the past 18 months by the 
Administration and Congress.
  Mr. McNULTY. Mr. Speaker, in the spring of 1970, during my first term 
as Town Supervisor of Green Island, I testified against the War in 
Vietnam at a Congressional Field Hearing in Schenectady, New York.
  Several months after that testimony, my brother, HM3 William F. 
McNulty, a Navy medic, was killed in Quang Nam Province.
  I have thought--many times since then--that if President Nixon had 
listened to the voices of reason back then, my brother Bill might still 
be alive.
  As a Member of Congress today, I believe that the Iraq War will 
eventually be recorded as one of the biggest blunders in the history of 
  In October 2002, I made a huge mistake in voting to give this 
President the authority to take military action in Iraq. I will not 
compound that error by voting to authorize this war's continuation.
  On the contrary, I will do all that is within my power to end this 
war, to bring our troops home, and to spare other families the pain 
that the McNulty family has endured every day since August 9, 1970.
  Mr. SHULER. Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, we entered the fifth year 
of the war in Iraq. Throughout that this Congress has provided the 
President with all the resources needed to wage this war. However, this 
body failed to provide any of the oversight he needed. Today, this 
Congress will correct that lack of oversight, while still providing our 
troops the funding they need and our military leaders the flexibility 
they require.
  Today we say an open-ended commitment to this war is no longer 
acceptable. We say that we will no longer grant the President a blank 
  The war in Iraq has already lasted longer than World War I, World War 
II, and the Civil War. Continuing this war in the same manner with no 
accountability from the Administration or requirements on the Iraqi 
government is unacceptable.
  Today, we stand up for our men and women in uniform; we honor our 
veterans, and we begin a new course to securing Iraq by passing H.R. 
1591, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq 
Accountability Act.
  Passing this emergency funding guarantees our troops will have the 
equipment and resources they need. This bill demands that our troops 
are fully mission capable and meet the readiness standards set by the 
Department of Defense before we send them to war. And this bill demands 
the Iraqis get off the sidelines and begin fighting for their country.
  The people of Western North Carolina sent me to Congress to ask the 
tough questions and demand accountability on this war. I have attended 
briefings at the White House and the Pentagon where I have been able to 
ask those questions. I have spoken to generals and troops on the 
ground, veterans and the families of those fighting. I have listened to 
my constituents, and I have prayed. I am confident that supporting this 
bill is the proper course of action. Soldiers support this bill. 
Generals support this bill. Veterans support this bill. The families of 
those fighting support this bill. A vote against this bill is a vote 
against our troops.
  I am confident that this bill is a step in the right direction 
towards promoting a just and stable Iraq, and in bringing our nation 
closer to the day when all of our troops can return home to the warm 
welcome of a grateful Nation. May God bless our troops and their 
families, and may God bless the United States of America.
  Ms. DeGETTE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1591.
  In considering what to say about H.R. 1591, I looked back at what I 
said in the Congressional Record about House Resolution 861, an Iraq 
resolution from the 109th Congress in June of last year. I lamented the 
fact that 2,500 soldiers had died, 18,000 had been wounded, and 320 
billion dollars had been spent or appropriated. I said that enough was 
enough and that it was time to begin redeploying troops to the 
periphery of the conflict and bring some of them home.
  Sadly, in the last nine months, we have lost over 700 more troops and 
seen more than 5,000 additional soldiers wounded. We have little to 
show for our efforts, as Iraq is still in chaos and there is no peace 
in sight. I am afraid that if we do not take a different approach that 
this pattern will continue--progress in Iraq will not be made and 
increasing numbers of American soldiers will suffer. H.R. 1591 is a 
new, reasonable approach.
  Like most Americans, I want Iraq to succeed as a stable democracy. 
But Iraqis have to want this too and actually work towards this goal in 
a meaningful way. H.R. 1591 encourages the Iraqi government to do this 
by offering our continued assistance, if it meets certain political and 
military benchmarks. These markers were laid out by President Bush in 
January. A further incentive for Iraq to take more responsibility for 
its own security is the knowledge that, under H.R. 1591, we will not be 
there forever. There will now be a date certain, August 2008, after 
which the Iraqi government could not longer rely on our soldiers for 
its security.
  This is not just the right course for Iraq, it is the right course 
for America. After 4 long years, thousands dead and wounded, and 
hundreds of billions spent, it is time that this war comes to an end.
  Ending the war in Iraq will stop the losses and devastating injuries 
inflicted on our troops. It will also allow us to redirect the billions 
that would otherwise be spent on Iraq to meet needed priorities here at 
home, such as providing health insurance to low-income children. I ask 
my colleagues to keep in mind this tremendous opportunity cost should 
we not stop the war.
  While the legislation before us today will bring the war in Iraq to 
close over a reasonable period of time, it also supports our troops in 
the field. H.R. 1591 appropriates almost $100 billion for ongoing 
military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I strongly support our 
troops who have done everything asked of them with dignity, courage, 
and skill. It is with their safety and security in mind that I will 
vote in favor of this bill.
  Beyond Iraq, H.R. 1591 contains over $20 billion to meet other 
emergency priorities. These include resources for veterans' health 
care, recovery from the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 
relief for farmers and ranchers from years of drought, and money to 
states for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
  Enacting H.R. 1591 is thus important to address these emergencies, 
support our troops in the field, and end our involvement in the war in 
Iraq. I strongly encourage all Members of the House to support its 
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this bill.
  If the President of the United States were a rational decision maker, 
a bill of this kind would not be necessary in the first place. 
Unfortunately, the President continues to cling to the illusion that 
the situation in Iraq will improve if only we're willing to sacrifice 
still more American lives. But we cannot solve Iraq's civil war any 
more than we could solve Vietnam's civil war 40 years ago.
  By unleashing forces he does not understand and cannot control, the 
President has put our military forces in an impossible situation. Our 
troops cannot referee Iraq's sectarian conflict. The longer our forces 
remain in Iraq, the more they become identified with a government that 
is seen as increasingly repressive, and incapable--or unwilling--to 
take the steps necessary to resolve Iraq's internal conflict 
politically and peacefully. It is for all these reasons that it is past 
time for Congress to take steps in forcing the President to change 
course and withdraw our combat troops.
  This course correction is far slower and more difficult than I would 
like. I share the frustration of many of my colleagues that the 
President is not moving quickly enough or boldly enough to end our 
military involvement in Iraq. I for one do not expect the President to 
provide the Congress with accurate assessments of the readiness of our 
forces or of the Pentagon's ability to meet some key needs of the 
  Existing DoD readiness assessments already show that our forces are 
overworked and overstretched. My friend from Pennsylvania, Mr. Murtha, 
has included provisions in this bill that seek to limit the President's 
ability to deploy our ground forces to Iraq that are not truly ready 
and therefore less effective and more at risk. I believe zealous 
oversight of these provisions will be required if this bill becomes 
law. The President has shown he is willing to say or do anything to try 
to get his way when it comes to Iraq policy. He must not be allowed to 
politicize readiness assessments the way he has politicized 
intelligence assessments.
  One bogus criticism of this measure is that setting a date certain 
for withdrawal is bad policy or micromanagement by the Congress. My 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle have been trotting this 
argument out frequently of late. Their position is undercut by the fact 
that they voted to impose time lines and benchmarks on President 
Clinton during our effort in the Balkans a decade ago.
  By the way, I am pleased that this measure contains significantly 
increased funding for two critical areas of veterans health care: 
traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. We are only 
beginning to come to grips with the true costs of this conflict for our 
veterans, and we must take aggressive measures to ensure that they 
receive the follow up care they need to have the best possible chance 
of leading full, productive lives.
  Mr. Speaker, we should be under no illusions regarding this bill. It 
is only the first concrete step in our effort to redirect our nation's 
policy in Iraq. Some weeks ago, we passed a non-binding resolution that 
pointed us in a

[[Page H2999]]

new direction with respect to the occupation and war in Iraq. That was 
the right thing to do, even though it was non-binding on the President. 
Similarly, this supplemental appropriation is beneficial, although the 
actual withdrawal of troops will require, I believe, additional 
forceful action by Congress to fulfill the provisions of this bill.
  It is important to move forward with this measure now and force this 
President to make America's combat occupation of Iraq history rather 
than a limitless, open-ended future.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Capuano). All time for debate has 
  Pursuant to House Resolution 261, the previous question is ordered on 
the bill, as amended.
  The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the bill.
  Pursuant to clause 10 of rule XX, the yeas and nays are ordered.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 218, 
nays 212, answered ``present'' 1, not voting 3, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 186]


     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Boyd (FL)
     Boyda (KS)
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Brown, Corrine
     Davis (AL)
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (IL)
     Frank (MA)
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Hall (NY)
     Hastings (FL)
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Jones (NC)
     Jones (OH)
     Klein (FL)
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lofgren, Zoe
     Mahoney (FL)
     Maloney (NY)
     McCarthy (NY)
     McCollum (MN)
     Meek (FL)
     Meeks (NY)
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Moore (KS)
     Moore (WI)
     Moran (VA)
     Murphy (CT)
     Murphy, Patrick
     Neal (MA)
     Peterson (MN)
     Price (NC)
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Scott (GA)
     Scott (VA)
     Smith (WA)
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Van Hollen
     Walz (MN)
     Wasserman Schultz
     Welch (VT)
     Wilson (OH)


     Barrett (SC)
     Bartlett (MD)
     Barton (TX)
     Bishop (UT)
     Brady (TX)
     Brown (SC)
     Brown-Waite, Ginny
     Burton (IN)
     Camp (MI)
     Campbell (CA)
     Cole (OK)
     Davis (KY)
     Davis, David
     Davis, Lincoln
     Davis, Tom
     Deal (GA)
     Diaz-Balart, L.
     Diaz-Balart, M.
     English (PA)
     Franks (AZ)
     Garrett (NJ)
     Hall (TX)
     Hastings (WA)
     Inglis (SC)
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson, Sam
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kline (MN)
     Kuhl (NY)
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (GA)
     Lewis (KY)
     Lungren, Daniel E.
     McCarthy (CA)
     McCaul (TX)
     McMorris Rodgers
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Moran (KS)
     Murphy, Tim
     Peterson (PA)
     Price (GA)
     Pryce (OH)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Ryan (WI)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Walden (OR)
     Walsh (NY)
     Weldon (FL)
     Wilson (NM)
     Wilson (SC)
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)

                        ANSWERED ``PRESENT''--1


                             NOT VOTING--3

     Davis, Jo Ann

                Announcement By the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (during the vote). The Chair notes a 
disturbance in the gallery in contravention of the law and rules of the 
  The Sergeant at Arms will remove those persons responsible for the 
disturbance and restore order to the gallery.

                Announcement By the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (during the vote). The Chair notes a 
disturbance in the gallery in contravention of the law and rules of the 
  The Sergeant at Arms will remove those persons responsible for the 
disturbance and restore order to the gallery.

                              {time}  1243

  So the bill was passed.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
  Stated for:
  Mr. WATT. Mr. Speaker, I was unavoidably detained and was not able to 
get here to cast my vote on H.R. 1591. Had I been here, I would have 
voted for the bill.