Friday, April 27, 2007

Democrats React To Senate Iraq Vote

Senate Democrats were quick to weigh in on the passage yesterday of the Iraq supplemental bill that calls for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Iraqi civil war by this time next year. Here is a sampling of those comments:

Barack Obama (D-IL)

“We are one signature away from ending the Iraq War. President Bush must listen to the will of the American people and sign this bill so that our troops can come home.

“I opposed this war from the start. I said then that it would distract us from pursuing those who attacked us and would entangle us in an occupation of undetermined length, cost and consequences. This war has no military solution, and the Iraqi people need to take responsibility for their own future.

“All of us have been touched by the heroic sacrifices troops have made in service to our country. With the stroke of a pen, President Bush can bring them home to the families who love them and to a country ready to honor them for their service.”

Russ Feingold (D-WI)

“Today the Senate took another important step toward ending our open-ended military involvement in Iraq. The President should quickly sign the supplemental bill, which passed with bipartisan support, and begin developing a more comprehensive strategy for combating terrorism. Congress has acted on its mandate from the American people, and the President should not ignore these calls for change. Redeploying our troops who are bogged down in the middle of an Iraqi civil war will enable us to refocus on our top national security: the global fight against Al-Qaeda and its affiliates.”

John Kerry (D-MA)

“Nearly four years after George Bush declared 'mission accomplished' in Iraq, it’s time he starts to listen to Congress and the American people, accomplish the mission and bring our troops home. This vote shows that the clear majority in both the House and Senate are united and won’t accept an indefinite role for American troops in a bloody civil war.

"There is still a chance to change course – and we must change course. We will fight Bush’s promised veto every step of the way."

Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)

"With this vote, Congress has provided funding for our troops while also putting forward sensible provisions to begin the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. I call upon the President to work with Congress in order to ensure the troops receive these funds and that we change course in Iraq."

Chris Dodd (D-CT)

“Today, Congress has taken firm and decisive action to change the course of US policy in Iraq. I have been among those who strongly believe the status quo in Iraq must end. While I wish the bill passed today had included stronger language to immediately begin withdrawing combat troops from Iraq and set a hard date to complete that redeployment, nevertheless it does for the first time set new goals for this Administration and the Iraqi government that will mandate a change in the current 'stay the course' policy.

“'Staying the course' has cost us over 3,200 young lives of our brave men and women in uniform and more than $400 billion, with no progress to speak of. This conflict cannot be resolved by increased military action. It requires a coherent, broad-based strategy to promote the political reconciliation necessary to secure the future of Iraq. Today’s passage of the supplemental spending bill is a critical step in the establishment of such a strategy."

Tom Harkin (D-IA)

“Today, the Senate honored the wishes of the American people by passing a bill that establishes benchmarks for the Iraqi government to take control of its security and sets a timetable for redeploying our troops out of a civil war in Iraq. The bill reflects many of the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. It provides our troops in the field with the resources they need to do their jobs. It also provides a much needed boost to funding for veterans’ health care. And, it charts a new, smarter course in Iraq."

Joe Biden (D-DE)

"President Bush has spent the last two weeks talking up the 'progress' we're making in Iraq and talking down the Democrats and some of our Republican colleagues for trying to bring this war to a responsible end. But sometimes, you have to deal with the facts as they are - not as the President wants them to be.

"My responsibility as a Senator is to keep relentless pressure on the President to come to grips with reality. To continually push every single day. To convince our Republican colleagues that it's time to stop backing the President and start backing the troops."

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

"The bill we passed today provides a clear path forward. It delivers much-needed resources and support to our troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and to our veterans. It also makes clear that the United States should no longer maintain an open-ended commitment in Iraq. Our troops can't patrol Iraqi streets forever. This conflict requires a political solution, with our combat troops coming home as Iraqis take control of their own security and their own future. In the end, Iraq's future is in the hands of the Iraqi people and they must make the political compromises needed to stabilize their country."

Ben Cardin (D-MD)

"This Congress will not send President Bush a blank check to continue the same failed policies. We owe it to our soldiers to bring them back safely and ensure they have the care they need when they return home. If President Bush vetoes this bill, he would not only be defying the will of Congress, but he will be blatantly defying the will of the American people. I hope President Bush finally realizes that a change of course in Iraq is long overdue."

Kent Conrad (D-ND)

"This bipartisan legislation fully funds our troops in the field and follows the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group by setting a goal for a phased redeployment of our combat forces. The current open-ended commitment in Iraq is not sustainable.

"This legislation puts Iraqi politicians on notice that they need to meet the diplomatic and security benchmarks they agreed to months ago. It is time for the Iraqi leaders to step up, set aside their sectarian differences, and take greater responsibility for securing their own country. It is time for the White House to recognize reality and change course in Iraq."

Dick Durbin (D-IL)

"Today, we sent the President a bill that gives him a chance to answer the prayers of American warriors, fathers, mothers, wives and husbands by changing the course of this war and bringing our soldiers home in a responsible way.

"I know that the White House has repeatedly threatened to veto this bill. But I hope that before the President puts his pen to paper he takes the time to reflect on what the American people are praying for and honors them and this country by starting to bring this war to an end."

Patty Murray (D-WA)

"As we all saw in November, the American people have lost patience with the President's go-it-alone strategy in Iraq. Our service members have done everything we've asked of them. They deserve better than to be stuck policing a civil war. It is simply wrongheaded to continue on with an open-ended commitment to an Iraqi government that has repeatedly failed to meet deadlines and take responsibility for their own country."

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

"Today, once again, the Senate has demonstrated our commitment to a new direction in Iraq - and once again, America is waiting to see whether this President will heed the calls of the people he serves to change course and bring our troops home.

"I was proud to vote today for a measure that not only ensures our troops have the resources they need, but also requires President Bush to take action to begin a redeployment and sets a goal for when that redeployment will be complete.

"I urge the President to listen to the Congress and the American people, and to sign this bill into law. If he does not, he will once again have failed our soldiers, our nation, and our future."