Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Senate Democrats React To Bush Veto

Here are some reactions from Senate Democrats to George W. Bush's veto of funding for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and the mandate to begin bringing American forces home from Iraq:

Harry Reid (D-NV)

"The President may be content with keeping our troops mired in the middle of an open-ended civil war, but we are not; and neither are most Americans.

"A bipartisan majority of Congress sent the President a bill to fully fund our troops and change the mission in Iraq. The president refused to sign it. That is his right, but now he has an obligation to explain his plan to responsibly end this war.

"In the coming days we will continue to reach out to the President. And we hope Congressional Republicans who have remained silent through this debate will work with us as well.

"But if the President thinks that by vetoing this bill, he will stop us from working to change the direction of this war, he is mistaken."

John Kerry (D-MA)

“By vetoing this bill, the President is ignoring the majority in both the House and Senate who voted to end the disastrous open-ended Bush policy by setting a sensible deadline for the redeployment of troops. President Bush is unwilling to recognize reality. It’s as if he still believes the version of events pedaled by Vice President Cheney. He refuses to set firm benchmarks tied to a redeployment because he is still unwilling to force the Iraqi government to make the political compromises needed to end their civil war. President Bush asks too little of Iraqi politicians while asking for the greatest sacrifice from American troops.”

“The irony of President Bush declaring 'mission accomplished' in Iraq four years ago today was not lost on anyone in Congress. What the president doesn’t understand is that the only way to actually accomplish the mission is to change the strategy. More of the same won’t cut it."

Barack Obama (D-IL)

"With one stroke of his pen, President Bush has stubbornly ignored the will of the American people, the majority of Congress and, most disturbingly, the realities on the ground in Iraq. Now we call upon our Republican colleagues in Congress to help override this veto and acknowledge what the President will not – that there is no military solution to a political conflict that lies at the heart of this civil war. Only the Iraqi leadership can make peace, and the best way to pressure them to do so is still a phased withdrawal of American forces with the goal of removing all combat troops from Iraq by March 30th, 2008.

"It is time to end this war so we can bring our troops home and redeploy our forces to help fight the broader struggle against terrorism and other threats of this new century."

Robert Byrd (D-WV)

"President Bush has chosen to hold hostage $100 billion for our troops to his failed policies. But his choice is not the last word. Congress will get to work on a new version of the supplemental appropriations conference report. We will not delay. But we also will not stop our efforts to stand for what is right and to craft policies that reflect the true strength of America -- humility, modesty, honesty.

"We will continue to press for a strong, intelligent foreign policy that does not rely on military might alone. And we will not stop in our efforts to bring peace to Iraq and our troops home from war."

Chris Dodd (D-CT)

"It is disappointing that the President has placed a greater priority on continuing his misguided policy in Iraq over funding for our troops. The President's policy in Iraq has failed and has made America less secure. Regrettably, it is clear that the President has no intention of changing course in Iraq, making it incumbent upon Congress to force him to do so.

"I will continue to support Feingold-Reid -- the only way to hold the President accountable for his failed policy, safely redeploy our troops and bring an end to this war."

Joe Biden (D-DE)

"At a time when the country needs real leadership the most, President Bush continues to practice the politics of division. There was room to work with the Democrats and Congress to give our troops the money they need and the American people the plan they expect to end the war in Iraq.

"But the President slammed the door shut on cooperation and compromise. The fact is - Democrats sent the President every dollar he requested for our troops and then some. And we sent him a plan to bring this war to a responsible end, instead of continuing it with no end in sight. That's what the American people want.

"The President's veto demonstrates that he is totally out of touch with the needs of our troops, the hopes of our people and the interests of our country."

Ben Cardin (D-MD)

"The language included in the Iraq Supplemental spending bill was necessary because the President has failed to deal effectively with the growing violence and civil war that has consumed Iraq. I urge the President to work with Congress to find a way to bring our troops home as safely and quickly as possible. The American people do not want U.S. troops in the midst of a civil war."

Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

"With his veto today, President Bush has made it clear that he is standing in the way of ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home. The nation is ready for the President to stop disregarding the will of the American people and to work with Democrats on a funding bill that will enable us to begin redeploying our troops. He has a chance to do just that when he meets with the Democratic leadership tomorrow."

Tom Harkin (D-IA)

"Our troops remain mired in the midst of a civil war, with the President offering nothing but more empty rhetoric as a way forward. The American people want a change of course in Iraq. By providing legislation that outlined firm benchmarks for the Iraqi government to take responsibility for its own security, and by setting a timeline for redeployment of our troops out of Iraq, the bill passed by the Democratic Congress did just that.

"The President, though, has chosen to dig in his heels and ignore the mounting costs of this war - in real dollars, and most importantly, in the loss of American lives."

Ted Kennedy (D-MA)

“The President is wrong to veto the Iraq spending bill and reject its needed timeline for the orderly, responsible, and safe withdrawal of our forces from Iraq. He was wrong to lead us into the war, wrong to conduct it so poorly, wrong to refuse to change course.

"We cannot continue business as usual in Iraq. It is time for America to end its participation in the brutal civil war.

"The message from the American people couldn’t be louder or clearer. Instead of stubbornly defying the will of the American people, President Bush should listen to their plea and begin working with Congress to bring this tragic war to an end.”

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

"Let it be clear, Congress has given our soldiers in the battlefield all the funding they need. It is the President who will be now blocking it. . . After four years of extensive American military involvement in Iraq, the President refuses to accept the prudent change of course . . . supported by a clear majority of the American people."

Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

“The bill the President has vetoed would end his open-ended escalation that pins our troops down in the middle of Iraq’s civil war. The bill he vetoed would counter the Bush Administration’s neglect of the National Guard’s needs by providing the extra $1 billion that I secured with Senator Bond for the Guard’s equipment backlogs, to improve their readiness for domestic emergencies.

“With this veto the President has compounded his disastrous handling of this war. Instead of telling our troops to police a widening civil war, we should begin bringing them home.”

Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

"I am deeply disappointed in the president's decision to reject this best path to success in Iraq, delay funding for our troops and deny healthcare for those who return home injured. We sent him a bill that reflects the will of the American people, and he has turned his back on it.

"I know that Democrats in Congress will not abandon the goal of getting our troops out of the civil war in Iraq and giving them the equipment to protect themselves. That is the essence of supporting the troops, and that is our position. Our future actions on this issue will continue to adhere to these principles. I urge my Republican colleagues to engage in this effort, and to help us act in the best interest of our troops and our nation."

Jim Webb (D-VA)

"Congress exercised its constitutional responsibility this week by appropriating more than $100 billion to fully support our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, the President chose not to cash that check. It is up to him to explain to the American people why.

"I have always said that we need to support the troops through leadership that is equal to the sacrifices we are asking them to make. It is time for a new approach in Iraq, one that displays smart diplomatic leadership in the region. We must bring this occupation to a proper conclusion that will increase our ability to focus on international terrorism, increase the stability in the region and allow us to focus on our strategic interests elsewhere in the world."