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Limiting Use of Funds to Establish any Military Installation or Base in Iraq

Location: Washington, DC



Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, as has been said, this legislation cites the fact that the House of Representatives has passed six, one, two, three, four, five, six separate bills prohibiting or expressing opposition to the establishment of permanent military bases in Iraq, including three, one, two, three, which have been enacted into law by the President.

In fact, the language contained in H.R. 2929, which is before us today, is nearly identical to the language adopted under a Republican-controlled Congress in section 1519 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.

This is the bill before us today. This is the law.

The fiscal year 2007 bill states:

``No funds appropriated pursuant to an authorization of appropriations in this Act may be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:

(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.

(2) To exercise United States economic control of the oil resources of Iraq.''

That is law. That has been passed a couple of times. And now the bill before us this morning says this:

``No funds made available by any Act of Congress shall be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:

(1) to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq; and

(2) to exercise United States economic control of the oil resources in Iraq.''

Once, twice, three times. We can pass it again. But why are we here? Why are we spending valuable time, Mr. Speaker, debating an issue that the Congress on a bipartisan basis already has agreed to, once, twice, three times, four times, five times, six times? The majority's attempts to score political points on a range of issues, including particularly Iraq policy, has already paralyzed precious months of military planning and congressional business, including the 9/11 bill.

It was only last night when the majority conferees finally agreed to incorporate into the 9/11 conference report critical language offered by the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, my good friend Mr. King of New York, which would provide immunity to passengers and commuters who report suspicious activities.

In a post-9/11 world, Mr. Speaker, passenger vigilance is essential to our Nation's security. An alert citizenry is our first line of defense against those who may seek to do us harm.

Yet, some of our colleagues, rather than supporting or encouraging such personal commitment and involvement from our citizens, would have preferred to leave them vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits and, instead, engage in debates on legislative items and policy already enacted into law and discussed once, twice, three times, four times, five times and six times.

However, since we are having this ``Groundhog Day'' discussion, it is important to once again note that there are no permanent United States bases overseas. Rather, the scope and the duration of U.S. basing rights are determined by individual agreements and entered into with host governments throughout the world.

It is also important to clarify that a policy position that does not support permanent bases in Iraq does not translate into either a prohibition against the American troop presence in Iraq, we could have that discussion on another bill, or a prohibition against the existence of any U.S. military installation in that country.

But that is not what is before us today. The bill before us in its ``findings'' section states that the Iraq Study Group Report recommends that ``the President should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq.''


The bill also specifically highlights the other component of that recommendation, which says, ``If the Iraqi Government were to request a temporary base or bases, then the United States Government could consider that request as it would be in the case of any other government.''

This legislation therefore accepts the prospect of a negotiated agreement for a future relationship with the Government of Iraq to, among other things, allow U.S. military and security forces to operate from U.S. installations within Iraq, including through a possible status of forces agreement that would define the legal status of U.S. personnel in Iraq and would define the rights and responsibilities between the United States and the Government of Iraq. Furthermore, this legislation before us today does not prohibit the United States from entering into the interoperability agreements that allow the United States and Iraq to share common infrastructure and bases.

Mr. Speaker, I do not object to this legislation. We have supported it before and look forward to supporting it again.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


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