House Debates Responsible Redeployment Appropriations Act

The House is currently debating the Responsible Redeployment Appropriations Act, H.R. 4156. President Bush has asked Congress for an additional nearly $200 billion for Iraq. The House will instead vote on a $50 billion package, instituting a redeployment timeline and other critical directives aimed at transitioning our role in Iraq and bringing our troops home. The bill will:

· Require the start of the redeployment of U.S. forces within 30 days of enactment, with a goal for completion of the redeployment by December 15, 2008.

· Require a transition in the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq from primarily combat to: force protection and diplomatic protection; limited support to Iraqi security forces; and targeted counterterrorism operations.

· Prohibit deployment of U.S. troops to Iraq who are not fully trained and fully equipped;

· Include an extension to all U.S. government agencies and personnel of the current prohibitions in the Army Field Manual against torture.

Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-03) leads debate on the rule:

Rep. McGovern:
“The President of the United States and many of my Republican friends have argued fiercely over the years for a blank check. They want no strings, no conditions, no benchmarks, no end dates, no accountability, no nothing… It is not acceptable for the President to simply run out the clock and hand this problem off to his successor. This is a war that George Bush started and this is a war that he needs to end. For the sake of our troops, for the sake of our country, we need to support this legislation. Enough is enough.”

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-25) speaks during debate on the rule:

Rep. Doggett:
“Some refer to this as a bridge fund connecting moneys from one year to the next to finance this Iraq war. A bridge is built to overcome an obstacle, and the obstacle here is George Bush. Granting this president $50 billion more without reasonable restrictions to end this war is just building another bridge to nowhere. Today we use this funding to build a bridge that brings our troops home… The President can no longer defy our Constitution as the sole decider. America has decided that he’s wrong, dead wrong, too many deaths wrong, and its elected representatives in this Congress are now declaring no more blank checks.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-09) speaks during debate on the bill:

Rep. Lee: “As one who opposed the invasion of Iraq and one who has led efforts in the occupation of Iraq I rise today to support the orderly and Responsible Redeployment Appropriations Act of 2007. And first I’d like to thank Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Obey and Murtha for really crafting this historic legislation which takes the first step to end the occupation of Iraq. This bill’s main purpose, main purpose, is to begin to fund the end of this occupation. This is also the very first time that this will explicitly tie funding to bringing our troops home. It mandates a start date for the President to begin redeployment within 30 days of his signature.”
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