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U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, And Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. KING of New York. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I strongly urge the defeat of this supplemental appropriation. It is wrong in so many ways. And I say that as someone who strongly believes that the war in Iraq is the central front in the war against terrorism. I say that, and I see my colleague here, Mr. Fossella, someone who lost hundreds of friends and neighbors and constituents on September 11. And I also say that as someone who says this supplemental is sending all the wrong possible signals. It is sending the wrong signal to General Petraeus. It is sending the wrong signal to our troops. And probably most importantly of all, it is sending the wrong signal to the enemy. It is telling them that we in the Congress think there should be 535 commanders in chief, 535 commanders in the field; telling the enemy that they have 60 days to create whatever chaos and carnage and confusion they can to influence the media, to influence those here in the House who are looking for an excuse to cut off funding for the troops.

If we have a Commander in Chief, a commander in the field, they should be given the ultimate power and authority to prosecute the war. If the Democrats want to make this their war, that is one thing, but this should be above politics. It is not a political issue. It is not something that should be gauged on public opinion polls. It should be based on what is right for America. And whether it is a Democrat President or a Republican President, the President is the Commander in Chief.

The United States Senate approved General Petraeus by a unanimous vote. To send him over there and then to undercut him, to cut off his legs when he is trying to carry out a policy which is showing signs of work. I am not a general. I am not the commander, but if you look at what is happening in Anbar province, what is happening in Ramadi, what is happening in parts of Baghdad, give General Petraeus the opportunity. Give our troops the opportunity. Don't be grandstanding. Don't be playing to the crowd. Don't be caving into your left wing base which is right now driving you. You have gotten yourselves into a hole, and you cannot get out of it. Our troops should be above that.

Have concerns for our troops, but most importantly, respect the Constitution. Allow the President and his commanders to prosecute the war. He was elected; General Petraeus was confirmed by the Senate. Everyone knew that he had to plan for a surge. To undercut him now is wrong. It is morally wrong. It is politically wrong, and it is going to bring shame on the House of Representatives.


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