U.S. TROOP READINESS, VETERANS' CARE, KATRINA RECOVERY, AND IRAQ ACCOUNTABILITY APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007--VETO MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (H. DOC. NO. 110-31) -- (House of Representatives - May 02, 2007)
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Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman from California.
Mr. Speaker, I think that we have to sustain this veto today. I think it's the right thing to do, because I think we need to go back to the drawing board on this. Number one, the President does have the constitutionally defined duty to fight wars, to direct the militia, particularly in a time of war, and I think that we are getting into a position where we have a lot of folks on Capitol Hill, perhaps as high as 535 of us, who think we can run the war more than the Commander in Chief.
I think we have to recognize that constitutionally the President has to do that. I think the President really has to veto this bill. It's as much for the preservation of the office as it is for his own personal views today.
I think, secondly, while the benchmarks themselves make sense, and there is a lot of bipartisan agreement on the benchmarks, there is also great division as to can these benchmarks be achieved by the dates outlined in the bill.
One of the things General Petraeus said to Congress last week is that the
new Government of Iraq, and keep in mind, this is the fourth election that they have had and the first permanent government, but one of the things they need, as much as anything, is our push. This bill serves to push them. But it also needs our assurance, our assurance that we will be with them through this process.
If you pointed out in 1870 would America be in a position to pass major civil rights legislation, we would not be at that point. The Government of Iraq might not be ready to bring in all the Baathists or to the level in which we would like to see it done by July or by October, and so I think that we have to give them a little more assurance that we're going to push you, but we're not going to pull the rug out from under you.
I think that we, on this committee, the defense committee, the Appropriations Committee, which historically is known for getting things done at the end of the day, often have friends say to me, as a Republican, but I often have the question asked to me, we know you're a Republican, and we know you can be partisan, but do you do things bipartisanly?
I am always proud to say, you know, the number one committee that I serve on, which I also think is the number one committee in the House, is a very bipartisan committee. Now, we will debate things, gun control, abortion, things, always are putting riders, environmental stuff, on our bill. Yet we clash about it in committee time and time again on ideological, principle-based positions. Yet at the end of the day, we know that the bill has to be passed, because if you don't get the appropriations train to the station, the government shuts down.
I think at this point, the Appropriations Committee can go back to the drawing board and come up with something that is still based in principle that both sides can respect. But it does put the troops forward, as we do have strong bipartisan basis to want to do right now, but it would also take care of some of the politics of Iraq and the diplomacy. For that reason, I think we have to vote to sustain the veto.
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