Rep. Wasserman Schultz Votes to Fund Troops, Hold Iraqis Accountable, Will Continue to Fight to End the War

Press Release

By:  Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Date: May 24, 2007
Location: Washington, DC


Rep. Wasserman Schultz Votes to Fund Troops, Hold Iraqis Accountable, Will Continue to Fight to End the War

Today, Rep. Wasserman Schultz supported House passage of two amendments to H.R. 2206 - the Iraq Supplemental, which would fully fund the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next four months and provide for essential emergency needs here at home. The legislation includes a decade long-overdue increase in the federal minimum wage, as well as additional funding for defense and veteran's health care, homeland security, drought relief, the state children's health insurance program (Florida's KidCare), and Gulf Coast recovery. The bill also establishes two separate independent analyses of the status of the War in Iraq and the ability of the Iraqi government to meet the required benchmarks.

"The men and women who are currently deployed in harm's way are not risking their lives each and every day for one party or the other, they are risking their lives for America. The very least that Congress and the President can do is work out a long-term strategy to end the war in Iraq and protect Americans from terrorism without placing our brave soldiers in the middle of a political cross-fire. I could not in good conscience cast a vote that I thought would make our soldiers even more vulnerable because of the President's intransigence."

The bipartisan compromise was criticized by many because it did not provide a timetable for redeployment of U.S. forces. Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz has voted repeatedly for this provision in previous Iraq Supplemental funding bills; however, the legislation was vetoed by President Bush.

Ultimately, Rep. Wasserman Schultz voted for today's amendment because she believes that Congress and the Administration have a moral obligation to fund our troops while they are in harm's way. Without this funding, our troops would have been put at greater risk and operations at U.S. military installations here at home would have been even more seriously hamstrung.

The legislation is far from perfect, however, it does represent a major accomplishment; by providing eighteen new benchmarks on political security and economic progress, it says to the Iraqi government - you must be accountable for your country and take ownership of your nation's future. And it requires a level of accountability from this Administration, where previously none existed. The passage of this legislation is a clear sign that under Democratic leadership, Congress will no longer write blank checks, with no strings attached, to this Administration.

"For the first time since the original authorization of the War in Iraq, we have legislation that holds the President accountable and requires him to report to Congress on his progress."

The legislation requires that when the House considers the next major supplemental spending bill in September, it must vote on a bill that calls for a redeployment of most U.S. forces from Iraq.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT