Carol Shea-Porter's Response to the President's Statement on the War

Washington ,D.C. President Bush threatened again yesterday to veto the Iraq funding bill the House and Senate passed. If he vetoes this bill he will be denying money and equipment to the troops in Iraq. This legislation continues funding our troops in Iraq and provides the largest increase in health care spending ever for our veterans. Congress also set benchmarks that would finally hold the president and the Iraqis accountable for progress in Iraq.

The president accused the Congress of engaging in a "political dance" and insisted that it give him what he calls the emergency money now, with no oversight. Mr. Bush is wrong. This is not about politics and never was. This is about fixing a tragic war that the Bush administration plunged our great nation into under false pretenses. This is about saving our soldiers and the people of Iraq, and it is about holding the president accountable for both the conduct and the cost of this prolonged occupation. We borrow ten billion dollars a month from countries like China to finance Mr. Bush's war, and Congress has an obligation to seek accountability.

Mr. Bush would have to certify that troops were ready and equipped for the job before they were sent into what is now commonly called a civil war in Iraq. The Iraqis would have to stand up and defend their own country. The legislation sets a date for final withdrawal from Iraq, forcing the various religious factions to decide whether they will work together. These are clear goals, the majority of Americans want this accountability, and it is the job of Congress to provide oversight and accountability. The president knows that our troops are already experiencing prolonged deployments and equipment problems after his four-year occupation in Iraq. It is our sacred responsibility to protect the troops and we have done this byproviding more money than the president requested, but this new Congress will not give any president a blank check with no accountability.

Mr. Bush can blame Congress if he wishes to veto this bill, but he will be the one who shuts down the funding for our troops if he does this. For the good of our country and Iraq, I hope he changes his tone and decides to work with Congress. Our country depends on it.