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Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006. -- (House of Representatives - June 20, 2005)

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Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Ms. Pelosi:

At the end of title IX, insert the following new section:

SEC. __X. (a) Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall transmit to the Speaker and minority leader of the House of Representatives and the majority leader and minority leader of the Senate a report on a strategy for success in Iraq that identifies criteria to be used by the Government of the United States to determine when it is appropriate to begin the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq.

(b) The report shall include a detailed description of each of the following:

(1) The criteria for assessing the capabilities and readiness of Iraqi security forces, goals for achieving appropriate capability and readiness levels for such forces, as well as for recruiting, training, and equipping such forces, and the milestones and timetable for achieving such goals.

(2) The estimated total number of Iraqi personnel trained at the levels identified in paragraph (1) that are needed for Iraqi security forces to perform duties currently being undertaken by United States and coalition forces, including defending Iraq's borders and providing adequate levels of law and order throughout Iraq.

(3) The number of United States and coalition advisors needed to support Iraqi security forces and associated ministries.

(4) The measures of political stability for Iraq, including the important political milestones to be achieved over the next several years.

(c) The report shall be transmitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order against the amendment.

Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Chairman, I regret that a point of order was raised, but I do want to commend the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Young) for his outstanding leadership to protect our country. He is a champion for national security, a champion for our troops. I respect him enormously. I wish he had not raised this point of order.

I want to commend the chairman of the full committee, the gentleman from California (Mr. Lewis), who is in the Chamber right now, for his distinguished leadership on behalf of America's troops and on behalf of our national security. They have worked in a bipartisan manner with our distinguished ranking member, former chair of the subcommittee, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Murtha). By working together with the gentleman from California (Mr. Lewis) in the last session of Congress and on an ongoing basis with the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Young), they have really tried very hard to provide our troops with what they need to do their job and to come home safely and soon.

I also want to recognize the outstanding leadership of the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey), the ranking member of the full committee, former chair of the committee. I think these four gentleman have worked very closely together, removed the doubt in anyone's minds that we understand our obligation under the Constitution to provide for the common defense and they help us honor that commitment. I thank them all.

The legislation that we are considering today contains in it another $45 billion for the war in Iraq that has already consumed nearly $200 billion, ended the lives of over 1,700 of our troops, and thousands more Iraqis, and changed forever the lives of tens of thousands more who have been wounded in that war.

They were sent into the war without the intelligence about where they were going, what they were going to confront, without adequate equipment to protect them and without a plan for what would happen after the fall of Baghdad.

As I referenced earlier, the gentleman from California (Mr. Lewis), the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Murtha), the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Young), and the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey) have fought hard, especially the gentleman from California (Mr. Lewis) and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Murtha) last year in the defense Committee on Appropriations to correct the inadequacy of the equipment they had.

Many of us have visited with soldiers in Iraq. Some of them are on their second tour of duty. I conveyed to these brave soldiers, as I have to soldiers in hospitals here and abroad, how grateful the American people are to them for their valor, for their patriotism, for the sacrifices they are willing to make for our country. They have performed their duties with great courage and skill, and we are deeply in their debt.

Disagreement with the policies that sent our troops to Iraq and which keep them in danger today in no way diminishes the respect and admiration that we have for our troops. Sadly, the level of their sacrifice has not been met by a level of language by the administration, and now the American people agree that this war is not making us safer.

Republican Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, who in time became the Republican leader in the United States Senate, had this to say about our duty in time of war as Members of Congress. He said, ``Criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of a governing democracy.''

He was a Republican. This was World War II. He was a Republican in the Senate. He said that, and he was right.

It is in that spirit that I disagree with those Republicans who continue the course of action that we are on now. When we went into this war, it was a war of choice. President Bush sent us into a war of choice, a preemptive war. When you have a war, you have to go in with the preparation that you have. But when it is a war of choice, you have an increased responsibility to be prepared and to have a plan for what happens after the fall of, in this case Baghdad, but we have not.

Vice President Cheney at the time said that our troops would be met with rose petals. Instead, they were met with rocket-propelled grenades.

Under Secretary Wolfowitz said that this is a country that can easily afford its own reconstruction and soon, and the U.S. taxpayer is still paying the tab.

This is a war that each passing day confirms what I have said before and I will say again, that this war in Iraq is a grotesque mistake. It is not making America safer and the American people know it.

Early on, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Murtha) said what a Democratic, what a bipartisan proposal should be as far as going into Iraq, that with the fall of Baghdad, we should move quickly to Iraqtize, to turn the security of Iraq over to the Iraqis. We should internationalize, that we should form the diplomatic alliances in the region for the Iraqi government so that our troops could accomplish their goals militarily with the help of diplomacy. It simply cannot be done alone.

The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Murtha), in leading our House Democrats on this issue, said that we should energize, we must turn on the light, we must have reconstruction in Iraq, and because of some of the poor planning or lack of planning, the reconstruction has taken much longer, is much more costly, and again, the security is making it almost impossible.

You cannot go forward with the social services and the rest unless you have a secure Iraq. You cannot have it be secure and bring our troops home unless you turn over that security responsibility to the Iraqis.

So we go to a place where we should expect the least Congress should do is to insist that the President provide the details on how it will be determined when the responsibility for Iraq's security can be turned over to the Iraqis and how Iraq's economic and political stability will be assessed. That is what my amendment would have done, would do, if it were made in order.

The failure by the President and his administration to plan adequately for the conduct of war to date has made it all the more imperative that Congress ensure the planning be done competently for bringing our troops home. If our troops are to leave when the mission has succeeded, we need to know how success will be defined.

Despite the manner in which the administration has chosen to fund the war, relying totally on supplemental appropriations up until now, as though it was a surprise that keeping hundreds of thousands of military personnel in and near Iraq would have a cost, our commitment in Iraq cannot be open-ended. Congress should have insisted long ago that the limits on that commitment be publicly shared and well understood.

The Iraq money in this bill is described as a bridge fund. Congress and the American people have a right to ask: A bridge to what? A bridge to where? The report required by my amendment would have built on the report request in the recently enacted supplemental appropriations bill and help answer that question, and that request was agreed to in a bipartisan way. This is really an endorsement of that, taking it from report language, putting it into law and raising its profile so the administration knows that it must answer those questions in the supplemental.

Republicans apparently prefer to keep their heads in the sand and continue to provide money for the Iraq War with no questions asked.

Congress did not discharge its responsibility to oversee these policies at the start of the war, and it has not done so since. The American people deserve better. More importantly, Mr. Chairman, our troops who serve in harm's way deserve better. They are owed more by those who sent them there than lack of planning.

We must do everything in our power to honor our obligation to our troops. Only then will we be fulfilling our responsibility.

POINT OF ORDER

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I make a point of order against the amendment because it proposes to change existing law and constitutes legislation in an appropriations bill, and therefore, violates clause 2 of rule XXI.

The rule states in pertinent part: ``An amendment to a general appropriation bill shall not be in order if changing existing law.''

The amendment gives affirmative direction. I ask for a ruling from the Chair.

The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentlewoman wish to be heard on the point of order?

Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Chairman, I do have a question to follow up on the distinguished gentleman's point of order, and that is, almost the same language was contained in the supplemental that passed the House a few weeks ago, and I do not know why the criteria that he establishes here for my amendment would not have then applied then and if that, in fact, does not serve as a model for us now.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair is prepared to rule on the point of order.

The Chair finds that this amendment includes language imparting direction to the President. The amendment, therefore, constitutes legislation in violation of clause 2 of rule XXI.

The point of order is sustained, and the amendment is not in order.

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