Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) joined President Obama in saluting the end of the war in Iraq, with all U.S. troops being brought home from Iraq by December 31.
"Under President Obama's leadership, we have reached a critical milestone by bringing the Iraq War to a responsible ending," said Rep. Baca. "Over the past nine years, more than a million of our brave U.S. servicemen and women have fought in the war in Iraq. Tragically, during that time, nearly 4,500 of these courageous individuals, including 478 Californians, made the ultimate sacrifice. As the war in Iraq comes to a responsible close, I join all Americans in honoring their heroic service and sacrifice, and those of their families."
"With the end of the war, we are now free to focus on nation building here at home," added Rep. Baca. "It's time to invest in the American people by creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and investing in education and infrastructure to build an American future worthy of our veterans' sacrifice."
The Iraq War started in 2003 under President Bush. Since that time, approximately $1 trillion has been spent on the war. While President Bush was in office, Democrats in Congress for years called for bringing a responsible end to the war. Once President Obama took office in 2009, the Democratic-controlled 111th Congress worked closely with the President to begin bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end. Since January 2009, nearly 150,000 U.S. troops have been removed from Iraq and hundreds of bases have been shut down. In the next two weeks, the final U.S. forces will come home and no U.S. bases will remain. For the first time in nearly nine years, no U.S. troops will be preparing to deploy to Iraq.
"As we welcome our brave men and women home, we recommit ourselves to providing them with the very best in care and benefits possible," concluded Rep. Baca. "We must continue to work so that all who served are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, while at the same time ensuring they return to good jobs and decent wages as they come home. Earlier this year, I was proud to support the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which provides tax credits for businesses that hire service members and those with service-related disabilities. I will continue to work so that we provide all veterans with the opportunities and training they need to find a job in civilian life."