Thursday, April 12, 2007

Freshmen Senators Rip Bush Administration

If George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were hoping that they would at least escape the fire of the newest members of the U.S. Senate, who typically keep a somewhat low profile in their first few months in office, they're in for a rude awakening this afternoon.

At a press conference in which the newest Senators discussed the first 100 days of the 110th Congress, the Bush administration's disastrous Iraq policies were front and center.

"In November, the American people sent a clear message that they wanted change in Washington," said Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). "I have been a United States Senator for 100 days now and in that time Pennsylvania has lost 14 troops. Under Democratic leadership, Congress has finally begun to hold the Administration accountable and push for a new direction in Iraq. We need to transition the mission in Iraq and listen to the people who elected us."

Said Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD): "Last fall, the American people voted for change in Iraq. Unfortunately, President Bush still hasn't received that message. Instead of working with Congress to develop a strategy for success in Iraq, the President expects us to send him a blank check to continue with the same failed policies. It is in America's best interest for President Bush to set real benchmarks for the Iraqi government and start reducing our troop levels. As freshmen Democrats, we're united in our fight to bring about the change in Iraq that the American people want and deserve."

"Since President Bush has refused to recognize the reality of the situation in Iraq, it is up to Congress to put an end to the war and bring our troops home," Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said. "Setting a timeline to stop the war sends a strong message to the president that he cannot simply continue to follow the same failed policies."

Said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH): "Tunnel vision led us into this war and tunnel vision is keeping us there. It is time for the President to broaden his circle and embrace a strategy that will keep this situation from spiraling further out of control."

"I recently traveled to Iraq to meet with troops from Minnesota. They didn't ask about repeated tour extensions or shortages in equipment and body armor. Instead they asked me to call their families to tell them their sons and daughters were okay and that we take care of them when they return home," said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). "Our soldiers and National Guard and Reserve members and their families have made tremendous sacrifices in Iraq. We owe it to them to get this policy right."

From the freshmen, right on through to the longest-serving members of the body, like Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Robert Byrd (D-WV), the rubber-stamp Congress is gone and everyone who's not a Republican and not named Joe Lieberman needs to stand up and be counted.