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U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, And Iraq Accountability Act, 2007--Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


U.S. TROOP READINESS, VETERANS' HEALTH, AND IRAQ ACCOUNTABILITY ACT, 2007--Continued -- (Senate - March 27, 2007)

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Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I rise to encourage all of my colleagues, Democrat and Republican, to support the Cochran amendment as a responsible action. The situation in Iraq is deeply controversial and divisive. As we debate it, everyone here and in the country say they are clearly for supporting our troops in the field and giving them what they need once they are put there to do their mission. That is why just a week or two ago huge numbers of Members of the Senate supported the Gregg resolution, 82 Senators saying clearly: We are going to support the men and women in uniform in the field; likewise, they supported in huge numbers the Murray resolution, 96 Senators, to support the men and women in uniform in the field.

I am afraid the path some are urging us to go down today belies that statement, contradicts that statement, and does not support those men and women in uniform in the field.

We all know the consequences of the Reid language. That language insists that the President pull our troops out of Iraq on a date certain with no regard at all for the conditions on the ground or the progress being made by our troops or the Iraqi Government. It micromanages the war, taking what is in the purview of the Commander in Chief and bringing it to Congress. The Reid language will absolutely draw a veto from the President. What would that do? It would delay for a significant amount of time getting aid, money, help, and equipment to our troops in the field.

We should not go down this path. This language will earn a veto from the President. Indeed, it would earn a veto from any President because it micromanages his responsibilities as Commander in Chief, and that will delay getting resources to folks in the field.

Our military leadership has said in no uncertain terms that they must get this supplemental funding to support the troops in the field by mid-April. This language will push all of that well beyond that deadline, will delay it by 5, 6 weeks or more, and endanger our troops in the field by not getting them the resources and equipment they need. That is not right. That is exactly contrary to what almost all Members of this body have spoken for: supporting our troops in the field.

This supplemental appropriations bill also has important help for the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the gulf coast, emergency measures that are supported by the President and the Congress but have not yet been fully funded. Just as we are playing politics potentially with our troops in the field with this veto scenario, we would be playing politics with this language, drawing a veto from the President, with the victims of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. That is not right. It is politics over people. Worse than that, it is politics over our people in uniform. It is politics over our people who suffered the worst natural disaster in history. We should not go down this path. We should not be so cynical and callous. We should put our people in uniform first and get them the funds and support they need in the field as we promise to do speech after speech after speech.

Words are cheap. Actions, votes lead to consequences. That is what this debate and what these votes are all about--supporting our troops in the field, supporting the victims of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

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