Patrick Murphy Votes to Hold President Bush Accountable, Override his Veto
Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District), former U.S. Army Captain and Iraq war veteran, voted to override President Bush's veto of funding for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill, which was passed by both houses of Congress with bipartisan support, aimed to set a new course in Iraq. It includes setting a timeline to redeploy American forces, while fully funding our troops and providing additional health care for veterans. Yesterday, President Bush defied the will of the American people by vetoing the measure that would have required accountability from both the Bush Administration and the Iraqi government for the first time since the war began.
"President Bush defied the will of the American people and the advice of military leaders. The era of blank checks for President Bush is over," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "Americans - Democrats, Republicans and Independents - want a new direction in Iraq."
"I will be working in a bipartisan manner for change in Iraq," added Murphy.
The "U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act" supports our troops, providing $4 billion more for our troops than the President requested. This includes additional funding for military health care, military housing, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for our troops, and a Strategic Reserve Readiness Fund. The measure also would have honored our veterans, providing $1.8 billion not requested by the President to begin meeting the unmet health care needs of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to fully funding our troops, the bill would have required Iraqis to begin taking responsibility for Iraq.
The plan calls for specific benchmarks for success that must be met by the Iraqis and sets a timeline to redeploy American combat forces from Iraq. This legislation also calls for a strategic strikeforce to remain in the region to continue training Iraqis and fighting al Qaeda in Iraq. This bill ends the practice of rubberstamping President Bush and Vice President Cheney's open-ended commitment to refereeing a religious civil war in Iraq.
The Democrats' Plan for Iraq:
* Fully funds the troops and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
* Implements accountability by calling on the Iraqi government to finally come off the sidelines through benchmarks.
* Creates a timeline to redeploy American troops from Iraq.
* Keeps a "strategic strikeforce" in Iraq and surrounding region to fight terror and train Iraqis.
* Fully supports our veterans by giving the VA added funding so that they are able to take care of a new generation of veterans and care for those of older generations.
* Refocuses on the war on terror and hunting down and killing Osama bin Laden by supporting American forces fighting the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Patrick Murphy served as a Captain in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Bosnia and to Iraq. In Iraq he served with the 82nd Airborne where he was awarded the Bronze Star for service. He is the first and only Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress.