RESPONSIBLE REDEPLOYMENT FROM IRAQ ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 153, No. 111
(House of Representatives - July 12, 2007)

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                 RESPONSIBLE REDEPLOYMENT FROM IRAQ ACT

  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 533, I call up 
the bill (H.R. 2956) to require the Secretary of Defense to commence 
the reduction of the number of United States Armed Forces in Iraq to a 
limited presence by April 1, 2008, and for other purposes, and ask for 
its immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 2956

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Responsible Redeployment 
     from Iraq Act''.

     SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

       It is the sense of Congress that--

[[Page H7675]]

       (1) the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against 
     Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), enacted into 
     law on October 16, 2002, authorized the President to use the 
     Armed Forces as the President determined necessary and 
     appropriate in order to defend the national security of the 
     United States against the continuing threat posed by the 
     Government of Iraq at that time;
       (2) the Government of Iraq which was in power at the time 
     the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq 
     Resolution of 2002 was enacted into law has been removed from 
     power and its leader indicted, tried, convicted, and executed 
     by the new freely-elected democratic Government of Iraq;
       (3) the current Government of Iraq does not pose a threat 
     to the United States or its interests; and
       (4) after more than four years of valiant efforts by 
     members of the Armed Forces and United States civilians, the 
     Government of Iraq must now be responsible for Iraq's future 
     course.

     SEC. 3. REQUIREMENT TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF ARMED FORCES IN 
                   IRAQ AND TRANSITION TO A LIMITED PRESENCE OF 
                   THE ARMED FORCES IN IRAQ.

       (a) Requirement.--The Secretary of Defense shall commence 
     the reduction of the number of Armed Forces in Iraq beginning 
     not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act and shall complete the reduction and transition to a 
     limited presence of the Armed Forces in Iraq by not later 
     than April 1, 2008.
       (b) Reduction and Transition To Be Carried Out in a Safe 
     and Orderly Manner.--The reduction of the number of Armed 
     Forces in Iraq and transition to a limited presence of the 
     Armed Forces in Iraq required by subsection (a) shall be 
     implemented in a safe and orderly manner, with maximum 
     attention paid to protection of the Armed Forces that are 
     being redeployed from Iraq.
       (c) Reduction and Transition to Further Comprehensive 
     Strategy.--The reduction of the number of Armed Forces in 
     Iraq and transition to a limited presence of the Armed Forces 
     in Iraq required by subsection (a) shall further be 
     implemented as part of the comprehensive United States 
     strategy for Iraq required by section 4 of this Act.

     SEC. 4. COMPREHENSIVE UNITED STATES STRATEGY FOR IRAQ.

       (a) Strategy Required.--Not later than January 1, 2008, the 
     President shall transmit to the appropriate congressional 
     committees a comprehensive United States strategy for Iraq.
       (b) Matters To Be Included.--The strategy required by 
     subsection (a) shall include the following:
       (1) A discussion of United States national security 
     interests in Iraq and the broader Middle East region and the 
     diplomatic, political, economic, and military components of a 
     comprehensive strategy to maintain and advance such interests 
     as the Armed Forces are redeployed from Iraq pursuant to 
     section 3 of this Act.
       (2) A justification of the minimum force levels required to 
     protect United States national security interests in Iraq 
     after April 1, 2008, including a description of the specific 
     missions of the Armed Forces to be undertaken. The 
     justification shall include--
       (A) the projected number of Armed Forces necessary to carry 
     out the missions;
       (B) the projected annual cost of the missions; and
       (C) the expected duration of the missions.
       (3) As part of the justification required by paragraph (2), 
     the President shall, at a minimum, address whether it is 
     necessary for the Armed Forces to carry out the following 
     missions:
       (A) Protecting United States diplomatic facilities and 
     United States citizens, including members of the Armed Forces 
     who are engaged in carrying out other missions.
       (B) Serving in roles consistent with customary diplomatic 
     positions.
       (C) Engaging in actions to disrupt and eliminate al-Qaeda 
     and its affiliated organizations in Iraq.
       (D) Training and equipping members of the Iraqi Security 
     Forces.
       (4) Specific plans for diplomatic initiatives to engage 
     United States allies and others in the region to bring 
     stability to Iraq.
       (c) Update of Strategy.--Not later than July 1, 2008, and 
     every 90 days thereafter, the President shall transmit to the 
     appropriate congressional committees an update of the 
     strategy required by subsection (a), including a description 
     of the number of Armed Forces deployed to Iraq and the 
     missions for which such Armed Forces are so deployed.
       (d) Form.--The strategy required by subsection (a) and each 
     update of the strategy required by subsection (c) shall be 
     transmitted in unclassified form, but may contain a 
     classified annex, if necessary.
       (e) Appropriate Congressional Committees Defined.--In this 
     section, the term ``appropriate congressional committees'' 
     means--
       (1) the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on 
     Appropriations, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the 
     House of Representatives; and
       (2) the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on 
     Appropriations, and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the 
     Senate.

     SEC. 5. ARMED FORCES DEFINED.

       In this Act, the term ``Armed Forces'' has the meaning 
     given the term in section 101 of title 10, United States 
     Code.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Cardoza). Pursuant to House Resolution 
533, debate shall not exceed 4 hours, with 3 hours equally divided and 
controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee 
on Armed Services and 1 hour equally divided and controlled by the 
chairman and the ranking minority member of the Committee on Foreign 
Affairs.
  The gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton) and the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Hunter) each will control 90 minutes, and the gentleman 
from California (Mr. Lantos) and the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-
Lehtinen) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Missouri.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support for the Responsible 
Redeployment from Iraq Act.
  Mr. Speaker, out of all of this Iraq business, there's one star, and 
that star, as every American should know and appreciate, is the young 
American in uniform. That is the purpose of this legislation, and I 
take this opportunity to compliment those who serve our country 
wherever they may be, those in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the 
world or here within our United States. I'm proud of them. And they are 
our stars.
  Mr. Speaker, we have been engaged in Iraq since March of 2003. And in 
hearing discussion on the rule, it's obvious that some people wish to 
confuse the effort in Afghanistan with the effort in Iraq. They are 
separate and distinct.
  The war in Afghanistan is something that we needed to do. The Taliban 
government gave sanctuary to the al Qaeda terrorists in that country of 
Afghanistan, and we did the right thing by going in there.
  The war in Iraq is one of choice. There have been discussions and 
difficulty and debate over how we got there, but we are there. But 
people should know that the insurgency in Iraq and the subsequent 
sectarian violence between the Shiite and Sunni is a different and 
distinct war from that in Afghanistan.
  You know, in history, we learn from the past. Strategic mistakes have 
been made, and we're supposed to learn from that. And we have to go to 
our revolution in 1776, when the British General Howell did not follow 
up his victories against George Washington's troops on Long Island. 
Consequently, George Washington's troops were able to encamp at Valley 
Forge and later attack successfully Trenton and New Jersey. That was a 
strategic mistake that allowed our revolution to be successful.
  Lee's invasion of the north, the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg, 
were strategic mistakes of the Confederacy.
  And, Mr. Speaker, sadly, we have seen not only strategic mistakes in 
Iraq, we have seen irretrievable strategic mistakes; no plan for the 
aftermath, the initial victory, the number of troops was not as General 
Shinseki recommended, far too few; the unguarded caches of weapons and 
ammunition, allowing the insurgency to have free access to them; the 
dismissal of the Iraqi Army, rather than giving them a pay check and a 
shovel, the closing of the Iraqi industries, the deBaathification, 
which put thousands of people out of work, including thousands of 
school teachers. These irretrievable mistakes made it very difficult 
for us to have any sort of positive success in that country.
  We hear the call, well, wait until September. There'll be another 
report. Well, we have been in Iraq for four Septembers. There is the 
old song that those of us with a little gray in our hair remember as 
the September song. And one line from that song of yesteryear, ``we 
haven't got time for the waiting game.'' That's where we are now. We 
don't have time for the waiting game.
  The purpose of this is a matter of readiness. It's a matter of 
national security. It's a matter that we must face now, or else the 
strain and stretch on our ground forces, particularly the Army and, of 
course, the Marines, will be beyond repair for many, many years.
  It's a matter of strategic importance that we redeploy from Iraq in a 
responsible manner, and that's what this bill does. And we are able to 
keep our forces strong.
  We never know what's going to happen. The last 30 years, we've had 12 
military contingencies in which our Armed Forces have been engaged, 
four

[[Page H7676]]

of which have been major in size; none of them predictable. We don't 
know what the future holds. But for national security interests, we 
need to have a ready force, particularly our ground forces, which are 
being strained so very much now.
  Further, it is important that we pass the security of Iraq over to 
the Iraqi government and to the security forces of that country. We 
cannot hold their hand forever. They must step up to the plate and take 
over their own security. It's important that that happen.
  This bill, Mr. Speaker, initially sets forth a sense of Congress that 
the authorization for use of military force against Iraq was enacted 
into law in October of 2002, and that the government of Iraq that was 
in power at that time has been removed and it's leader tried, convicted 
and executed by a freely elected government of Iraq; and further, that 
the government of Iraq, the current government of Iraq does not pose a 
threat to the United States, and for more than 4 years, the efforts of 
our Armed Forces have been valiant in their work and in their combat in 
that country.
  We need a responsible redeployment. This legislation gives it to us. 
It states that the Secretary of Defense shall commence the reduction of 
the number of armed forces in that country beginning not later than 120 
days after the date of enactment. It also states that such redeployment 
shall be complete to a limited presence which is spelled out in the 
bill, not later than April 1, 2008.
  The question before us, are we, as a country, any safer now than we 
were when we went into Iraq in March of 2003? What has it done for the 
security of our country?
  We see the sectarian violence, on top of the insurgency, the 
insurgency being aided by foreign fighters, many of them al Qaeda, and 
consequently, we know that the end must be done by the Iraqi security 
forces. That's what we are trying to do in this legislation; 
responsible redeployment of the American forces, cause the Iraqi troops 
and forces to take over their own security, and restore the readiness 
to our ground forces here in the United States.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1230

  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, following my remarks and Mr. Skelton's 
remarks, I understand we are going to yield to the Foreign Affairs 
Committee, and I would yield an additional 15 minutes of my time to the 
gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) and also I would yield 30 
minutes of my time to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Shadegg) and that 
he may be allowed to yield time in turn.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, time may be so 
controlled.


 =========================== NOTE =========================== 

  
  July 12, 2007--On Page H7676 the following appeared: The SPEAKER 
pro tempore. Without objection, time may still be controlled.
  
  The online version should be corrected to read: The SPEAKER pro 
tempore. Without objection, time may be so controlled.


 ========================= END NOTE ========================= 

  There was no objection.
  Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
  First, I want to express my great respect for my colleague, the 
chairman of the Armed Services Committee, a partner on many, many 
legislative endeavors and a gentleman who really has the welfare of the 
troops of the United States in his heart when he speaks and when he 
legislates.
  But, Mr. Speaker, let me say this about this piece of legislation 
which has been brought by the Democrat leadership before this House. 
This is an attempt once again to stampede a retreat from Iraq, and it 
is a gratuitous attempt to do this. There is no reason, only 3\1/2\ 
weeks after the surge of troops has been put in place, to now race for 
the borders, to demand that the President start to wind up this 
operation and start to leave, especially when General Petraeus will be 
making recommendations to us on September 15. There is no reason to do 
this. And I am reminded of when the surge was first announced and I was 
on the floor in a discussion with a good colleague from the Democrat 
side, the day after the surge had been announced when only a few people 
were even in country from this increase in forces, and she said, There 
has been a car bombing and that proves the surge doesn't work. And she 
was ready to immediately start a retreat from the country, and I take 
it a number of folks on that side of the aisle were willing to do that.
  There is no reason to do this. We have an interim report which has 
just come out. The interim report says that in the 18 areas of interest 
in which progress has to be registered, there has been progress on 
eight of them, there has been unsatisfactory progress on eight of them, 
and on two of them it is too early to really make an evaluation. Well, 
that is the interim report. And on September 15 we will get a further 
report.
  And as I look at the important things, the things that to me are 
important in this report, one thing that is very important is the fact 
that when we needed to get the three additional brigades and that 
additional troop strength into Baghdad from the Iraqi Army, we got them 
there. Even though they didn't show up early on 1\1/2\ years ago, this 
time they showed up. Mr. Maliki was good on his commitment. They got 
there. So things that were important to me with respect to this report 
are being accomplished.
  But the facts are we are only 27 days into this surge. And the 
Democrat resolution really spells out no plan whatsoever. It asks the 
President to come up with yet another plan, which is highly interesting 
since he has a plan and since General Petraeus has stated that he will 
recommend adjustments on September 15. So if there are adjustments to 
make to the plan, they should come after General Petraeus appears 
before us and gives us his recommended adjustments.
  So what are we doing here? Well, what we are really doing is counting 
votes. This is basically an attempt by the Democrat leadership to get a 
hard vote count, see if any more people have slipped, if there are any 
more votes on their side of the aisle so that they will be able to tee 
this thing up and have another vote, hopefully, from their perspective, 
to forward their goal, which is to start a retreat from Iraq as soon as 
possible.
  There is not a single recommendation in the resolution that is 
offered by my good friend. There is no recommendation for a new 
strategy. There is simply a series of questions asked of the 
administration, and those questions can all best be answered when 
General Petraeus comes before us.
  So, Mr. Speaker, there are two messages that I see coming from Iraq; 
and we all see in this very complex, very difficult mission lots of 
messages. A message I saw the other day came from a senior Marine 
leader. Do you know what it said? It said, ``We are crushing the enemy 
in Anbar.'' And then a few minutes later, I saw a message from the 
Democrat leadership that said, ``We have to get out now.'' I have seen 
the Democrat leadership many times say, We are going to end this war. 
Mr. Speaker, they don't have the ability to end this war. No American 
has the ability to end this war. What they do have if they gain enough 
power is only the ability to leave this battlefield.
  Let's not stampede for the border, Mr. Speaker. This is not a time to 
make a precipitous decision to start ordering the President on a policy 
that is going to be reported on on September 15. Let's keep our 
stability. Let's make sure that we don't pass this gratuitous piece of 
legislation, Mr. Speaker, which really is nothing more than a vote 
count for the Democrat leadership.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation 
and yield myself such time as I might consume.
  Mr. Speaker, in Iraq today a misguided war is raging in our country's 
name. We in this Congress and the American people across the country 
are filled with admiration for the heroism and sacrifice of our 
soldiers on the battlefield. But we cannot fathom the mindless 
stubbornness of the administration fixated on illusory aids. It is 
pathologically preoccupied with pursuing that despite all the evidence 
of how destructive the situation has become.
  Mr. Speaker, we have seen this movie before, quite literally, as any 
classic film buff knows: ``The Bridge on the River Kwai,'' an Academy 
Award-winning tale based on real events in World War II. Alec Guinness 
plays a British colonel mesmerized and hypnotized by the goal of 
building a bridge that will last through the ages even though doing so 
will only strengthen the enemy. For a while Alec Guinness persuades his 
fellow prisoners of war that completing his weird project will leave a 
legacy of which they can be proud.

[[Page H7677]]

But it soon becomes clear that the real goal is to build a monument to 
himself as he looks back on his few true achievements in life.
  At one point this antihero tells his men, We can teach these 
barbarians a lesson in Western methods and efficiency that will put 
them to shame. Mr. Speaker, at this point the audience knows where the 
real shame lies.
  The American people know that what happens by our hand in Iraq will 
be our legacy. We are no longer willing to tolerate keeping our sons 
and daughters in the midst of a sectarian civil war. The war in Iraq 
was launched by an administration using faulty intelligence and 
mesmerized by a dream of some sort of monument to democracy in the 
Middle East with Iraq at its center. It is past time to stop enabling 
the construction of this folly.
  The legislation before us directs that the redeployment of U.S. 
forces in Iraq be carried out in a safe and orderly manner. It sets a 
time certain by which that should start, and it is clearly intended to 
bring about a major reduction in our troop presence by April of next 
year. And in the meantime, our legislation will compel the 
administration to come up with something which amazingly enough to date 
it hasn't had: a comprehensive strategy for Iraq addressing our 
national security interests not only there but in the entire region and 
the ways to maintain our interests even as this redeployment is carried 
out.
  Mr. Speaker, today the administration issued its interim report on 
the troop escalation in Iraq. Though the White House chooses to focus 
on the benchmarks that have been met in what it calls a 
``satisfactory'' way, the assessment, in fact, shows that Iraq has made 
unsatisfactory progress on half of the 18 political and military goals 
that Congress set for Iraq this spring.
  The people of Iraq and our fighting forces there know the situation 
all too well. The index of progress that they face each day tells them 
much more than a 25-page report can ever say. With every car bomb that 
takes a civilian toll, every insurgent's bullet that finds its mark, 
every roadside explosive that maims or kills one of our own brave men 
and women in uniform, the sacrifices mount; and the result is anything 
but satisfactory.
  This is why, Mr. Speaker, our measure deserves our full and 
unwavering support. We need to direct a misguided administration to 
face reality and to start the responsible redeployment of our forces 
from Iraq. By asking this Congress to extend our patience yet again, by 
pointlessly risking our troops, and by continuing to ignore the will of 
the American people to end this war, the administration is reaching for 
a bridge much too far.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill, which seeks to impose 
a strategy of defeat on our Armed Forces and our country. By binding 
our military and our foreign policy in a straitjacket, this legislation 
would accomplish what thousands of our enemies have sought: to force 
the United States to retreat from Iraq without a plan for victory.
  Proponents of rapid withdrawal would like us to ignore the reality 
that Iraq is but one of the critical battlefields in an ongoing war 
against Islamic jihadists, against global terrorism, a war declared by 
the jihadists and which saw its beginnings in November 1979, when 
Iranian radicals stormed our embassy, took Americans hostages, and held 
them captive for 444 days.
  From there Americans, Westerners, innocent human beings were 
targeted. Where and when were they targeted? In the bombings of the 
Marine barracks in the U.S. embassy in Beirut in 1983, in the bombings 
of the World Trade Center in 1993, in the bombings of the Khobar Towers 
in 1996, in the attacks of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, 
and in the attacks on the USS Cole in the year 2000.
  Proponents of rapid withdrawal want us to look at the bombings in 
Iraq in a vacuum, disregarding the similarities to the suicide bombers 
that have killed scores of innocent Israelis, those who planned and 
carried out the bombings in London, in Madrid, in Bali that claimed so 
many innocent lives.

                              {time}  1245

  These may not be the exact individuals, nor the same groups, but they 
are part of a global terrorist network working toward the same end, to 
destroy and to attack us and our allies.
  The Islamic jihadists will not stop their agenda of destruction 
simply because we quickly withdraw from Iraq. They will, perhaps, stop 
when they see our nations, our cities, our communities burning, just as 
the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon burned on that terrible 
day of September 11, 2001.
  They have clearly articulated their goals, listen to their words; al 
Qaeda's second in command, Al Zawahiri, made it clear in May of this 
year, and I quote him: ``The empire of evil, the United States, is 
about to end and a new dawn is about to break over mankind, which will 
be liberated from the caesars of the White House and Europe and from 
the Zionists.''
  Those seeking to impose an immediate withdrawal deadline are so 
intent on rushing through this legislation that they appear to have 
failed to consider the consequences of a U.S. national security 
interest of what euphemistically is being called a ``phased 
redeployment.''
  How is the strategy of quick withdrawal different from the strategy 
outlined by Al Zawahiri in a letter that he sent to al Qaeda operatives 
about driving the U.S. out of Iraq? How would we prevent the 
development of Iraq into a full base of operations for al Qaeda and 
other terrorist networks? We pretend to be armchair generals, seeking 
to undermine the strategies called for by our commanders on the field. 
But we should not.
  Some label the current strategy of failure long before this full 
complement of units had been, in fact, deployed. But those doing the 
fighting in Iraq know that we have not failed, patriots such as the 
Parsons brothers from my congressional district.
  Huber Parsons was serving his third deployment in Iraq, this time 
with the Army Stryker Brigade, when his vehicle was struck by a deep 
buried IED just a few months ago. His driver was killed, and Huber had 
to undergo a number of surgeries. I had the honor of visiting him often 
at Walter Reed. He is pictured here saluting his fallen brothers-in-
arms at a memorial service in Fort Lewis, Washington. His twin, Bill, 
and his younger brother, Charlie, are both currently serving in Iraq, 
also with the Army Stryker Brigade. They, like my stepson, Doug, and my 
daughter-in-law, Lindsay, and so many others who are currently deployed 
in Iraq, are disheartened when they hear the references to failure and 
consider that the talks of this rapid withdrawal shows a lack of 
confidence in their ability to defeat the enemy.
  Many patriots ask me why the Congress would endanger them and their 
fellow service men and women by having them engage the enemy with an 
immediately reduced force. Where, in a region of jihadists, are troops 
to be deployed to? What Middle Eastern government would want to host a 
retreating and defeated American Army? How does withdrawal to Kuwait or 
Qatar, as some have proposed, help us fight al Qaeda in Iraq? If al 
Qaeda strategies worked in Iraq and forced an American retreat, how can 
we not conclude that they will also pursue them in Kuwait and Qatar and 
beyond?
  Mr. Speaker, George Orwell said that the quickest way of ending a war 
is to lose it. We should be discussing strategies for victory, not how 
to ensure our own defeat.
  And let me close, Mr. Speaker, by reading the words of General 
Petraeus in an interview just a few days ago word for word. He said, 
``I can think of few commanders in history who wouldn't have wanted 
more troops, more time or more unity among their partners. However, if 
I could only have one at this point in Iraq, it would be more time. 
This is an exceedingly tough endeavor that faces countless 
challenges.'' General Petraeus continues, None of us, Iraqi or 
American, are anything but impatient and frustrated at where we are. 
But there are no shortcuts. Success in an endeavor like this is the 
result of steady, unremittent pressure over the long haul. It is a test 
of wills, demanding patience, determination and stamina from all 
involved.

[[Page H7678]]

  General Petraeus, as we know, was unanimously confirmed by the United 
States Senate to be our commander in Iraq, yet somehow we have become 
better war commanders than General Petraeus.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to yield 2 minutes to the senior 
member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Wexler of Florida.
  Mr. WEXLER. Thank you, Mr. Lantos.
  Mr. Speaker, President Bush stubbornly refuses to end the war in 
Iraq. It is up to Congress to step forward and mandate that our troops 
return home. Congress must deliver to the American people what they 
voted for in November. It is Congress that must end this disastrous 
war. At long last, this legislation delivers a responsible withdrawal 
of American troops.
  The stark reality is that the President's escalation strategy has 
been an utter failure. Instead of a successful surge, the President's 
policy in Iraq has regressed, and the death toll of American troops and 
Iraqi civilians has mounted.
  This President is unwilling to change course, despite overwhelming 
American opposition to the war, despite failing to meet political, 
economic and security benchmarks, and despite calls by Senate 
Republicans urging a change in course. The President is in denial, and 
it is time for Congress to deliver a reality check.
  Our troops have sacrificed enough. Our military families have 
suffered enough. American taxpayers have spent enough. Congress must 
bring our troops home, and this bill does it.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Coble).
  Mr. COBLE. I thank the gentlelady from Florida for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I voted against the surge. And for 2\1/2\ years, I have 
said that we need to keep the troop withdrawal issue on the table, but 
I have also said during that time that the date for withdrawal should 
be reserved for the commanders on the ground.
  The bill before us was not introduced until yesterday, and in my 
opinion, it is vague, at best; generously laced again, in my opinion, 
with politics.
  I excel at an understatement, Mr. Speaker, when I declare that this 
war has been mismanaged. It was appropriate to remove Saddam, an 
international terrorist, but there was never, in my opinion, a post-
entry strategy; therefore, mismanagement.
  The Iraq issue, Mr. Speaker, is neither as favorable as its 
proponents contend, nor as unfavorable as its opponents profess. The 
good news is the evil-driven terrorists have not attacked us again. And 
I am confident that many moderate Muslims do not embrace the useless 
killing and destruction of property that has occurred in Iraq, but 
their silent vocal opposition has been disappointing, at best. The 
Iraqi Government has been disappointing as well, and we need to insist 
upon more compliance it seems to me.
  But given all the facts surrounding this matter, Mr. Speaker, I 
believe this Chamber is well-advised to wait until September. We're 
told that the general will be here in September to report what, if any, 
favorable or unfavorable results have occurred since the surge, and I 
believe that is our best policy today.
  The cost has been enormous, as has been said, and we would be remiss 
if we tried to deny that. But I think the right vote is against this 
proposal today, and then let's revisit it subsequently when the general 
comes before us in September.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the 
distinguished member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ambassador Diane 
Watson of California.
  Ms. WATSON. Thank you very much, Chairman Lantos. And thank you, 
Chairman Skelton, for crafting this resolution and giving us the 
opportunity to discuss the war. And I want to thank our Speaker, Nancy 
Pelosi, who has been steadfast in moving this Congress and this country 
towards an honorable exit from our occupation of Iraq.
  We are now 6 months into President Bush's vaunted escalation of the 
war in Iraq, and we are not seeing progress. Recently, the Washington 
Post reported that U.S. military commanders are increasingly relying on 
Sunni militias to fight insurgent groups. Our military officers are 
giving these militias weapons and intelligence and setting them loose.
  Mr. Speaker, just a few months ago, the President told us he needed 
to escalate the commitment of the United States soldiers to Iraq to 
disarm ethnic militia. Now, we are arming them? Just a few months ago, 
the President told us that ethnic militias were undermining the 
security and stability of Iraq. Now, they are the guarantors of the 
stability and security of Iraq?
  When the President's strategy for victory involves arming the people 
who, just a few months ago, were our sworn enemies, it becomes 
difficult for any of us to explain to our constituents what our troops 
are still doing there in Iraq.
  The troops have done their job, and in an honorable way, but they 
will not be successful if the President cannot decide what the mission 
really is. And I remember him several years ago saying ``mission 
accomplished.'' I am sure we will hear from a number of people here 
that we need to give the escalation more time, that we need to wait 
until September. I'm not willing to do that, Mr. Speaker. I'm not 
willing to explain to the families of the soldiers who will die between 
now and September that it took an extra 3 months to figure out the 
President's plan, and there has been no strategy given to us for 
success.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, at this point, I'm pleased to yield 3 
minutes to a member of our Foreign Affairs Committee, the gentleman 
from Texas, Judge Poe.
  Mr. POE. I want to thank the gentlelady for yielding time on this 
important issue.
  Redeployment. Withdrawal. These words mean the same thing, ``we 
quit.'' ``Quitting'' Iraq is not a plan. It's not even a strategy; it 
is a total handoff of responsibility to an unstable government with an 
ill-prepared military.
  I don't dispute that we must do more to ready Iraqis to handle their 
own security. I do insist, however, that we cannot suddenly leave the 
Iraqis scrambling to defend their new brand of democracy amidst chaos. 
That is what this ``leave at any cost'' plan would do: leave our 
enemies and those of the Iraqi people unfettered and free to pursue 
their diabolical agenda in Iraq and throughout the world.
  So I would like to ask those who want to quit exactly what they plan 
to do to fight the terrorist operatives in Iraq when our troops turn 
around and leave. What is the plan?
  I would also like to know, who, besides the ``New York Times'', is 
saying that the fight is lost in Iraq? Reports indicate that our troops 
are making progress. Sectarian murders in Baghdad have declined in the 
last 6 months. More Iraqis are coming to American troops with 
information about the terrorists. And Iraqi citizens are organizing 
against al Qaeda at the local level. Good for them.
  Mr. Speaker, General Patton sailed with his soldiers from Algiers to 
Italy in World War II, and he said to them, ``No man is beaten until he 
thinks he is.'' This war is not over unless we quit. And when we quit, 
we are certainly defeated.
  Here is what the defeatists say about the battle. They say that our 
troops were ill-prepared to go into battle, and there weren't enough of 
them; that they had inferior equipment; that they had improper uniforms 
for the extreme weather; U.S. intelligence was flawed; that we 
underestimated the resolve of the enemy; that Americans and our allies 
were killed by friendly fire. No, Mr. Speaker, this is not the war in 
Iraq, but this is the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, a battle 
that my father fought in. Those Americans, led by General Patton and 
others, did not run or quit because war is hard. You do not win wars by 
evacuating. And Americans won the Battle of the Bulge and broke the 
will of the enemy.
  I ask this question: How does this plan to force the United States to 
withdraw from Iraq differ from al Qaeda's plan to force us to withdraw 
from Iraq? Why wouldn't al Qaeda celebrate if this bill is passed?

[[Page H7679]]

  Mr. Speaker, General Patton went on to say to his troops, ``The glory 
of American arms, the honor of our country, the future of the whole 
world rests in our individual hands. See to it that you are worthy of 
this great trust.''
  I do believe, Mr. Speaker, that the honor of our country is at stake 
again today, but that's not all. Our security, the security of Iraqis, 
and the future of democracy and liberty in the Middle East, all of 
these are in our hands.
  Let us be worthy of this trust. And that's the way it is.

                              {time}  1300

  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
distinguished Member from the State of Washington (Mr. Smith) of the 
Foreign Affairs Committee.
  Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Speaker, in listening to this debate, I 
think the biggest problem is the proponents of the stay-the-course plan 
in Iraq continually and completely equate the battle in Iraq with the 
battle against al Qaeda and the terrorists who struck us. The two are 
not the same. In fact, we heard from Ms. Ros-Lehtinen that Iraq is but 
one of the battlefields that we are fighting against al Qaeda. That is 
absolutely true. Yet we have 80 percent of our assets in Iraq. 
Meanwhile, report after report come out that al Qaeda is strengthening 
themselves in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where we don't have enough 
resources.
  Our argument is not for retreat. Our argument is that there is a 
better way to fight al Qaeda and those who threaten us than to put all 
of our assets in Iraq while not paying enough attention to where al 
Qaeda is really strengthening itself. In Iraq, it is primarily a power 
struggle in which al Qaeda is a player. It is not primarily about al 
Qaeda's threat against the U.S. In Afghanistan, with the Taliban and al 
Qaeda, it is a very different story.
  Our troops, our assets, the lives and the talents of the people of 
this country are tied down in Iraq fighting what is primarily a civil 
war instead of better fighting al Qaeda. In fact, our presence, in many 
ways, has strengthened al Qaeda. Syria would never be an ally of al 
Qaeda in any sort of real-world scenario, because al Qaeda wants to 
topple their regime. Yet to defeat us in Iraq, they have come up with 
an alliance of convenience.
  There is a better way to fight al Qaeda. We are here today to change 
course in Iraq because it is a better way to protect this country. 
Timing isn't the issue. Six months ago, these facts were basically the 
same as they are today. In September, these facts will be basically the 
same as they are today. We cannot wait if we are going to have the best 
possible strategy for defeating al Qaeda, the group that threatens us 
most, instead of getting bogged down in the civil war and in the tribal 
differences that are present in Iraq. We want to win, not to quit. This 
is the better way to do it.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 6 minutes to the 
gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Pence), the distinguished ranking member of 
the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.
  (Mr. PENCE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. PENCE. I thank the distinguished gentlewoman and my good friend 
from Florida for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, we are come to this floor today, it seems to me, in an 
important moment in the life of two nations. We are come to this floor 
at a time when our colleagues in the other body are debating a Defense 
authorization bill and will be considering amendments about a new 
course in Iraq.
  So I do not question the decision of the majority in this chamber to 
consider these same issues, particularly in light of the release of the 
initial benchmark assessment report by our military and diplomatic 
leadership in Iraq. It is a report, I must confess, Mr. Speaker, that 
is to me frustrating, as it is, I think, to Members on both sides of 
this aisle. Of 18 benchmarks included in the interim report to 
Congress, progress on eight of the benchmarks has been characterized as 
satisfactory, but progress on another eight are unsatisfactory, with it 
being too early to tell on another two.
  Two months from now, the Crocker-Petraeus report that Congress has 
been promised will provide, we believe, a broader assessment. But, 
frankly, I am struggling, as a strong supporter of our effort in Iraq, 
with the failure of this Iraqi Government to step forward with progress 
toward enacting legislation on de-Ba'athification reform, hydrocarbon 
resources reform, and the scheduling of and planning of provincial 
elections.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to be transparent about that frustration as much 
as I was when I met with Iraqi cabinet officials just a short 2 months 
ago. The Iraqi Government must do more. If there is any unintended 
benefit of this debate today, my hope is that some of this debate with 
that message would echo to those people.
  But that being said, I will oppose this measure, Mr. Speaker, because 
I truly believe that defeat and an American failure in Iraq is not an 
option that we can consider.
  With great respect to my colleagues who would endorse this proposal 
for a precipitous American withdrawal from Iraq by April 1 of next 
year, I truly believe that, before we make any decision adjusting our 
strategy on the ground, we ought to wait to hear from those Americans 
on the ground in Iraq who have been charged with implementing the 
strategy the President put into effect in January.
  I want to reiterate, and I think I speak for many Republicans, Mr. 
Speaker, as the President said in January, our commitment to this Iraqi 
Government is not open-ended. But my commitment to an American and 
Iraqi success is deep and heartfelt. Whether this Iraqi Government can 
rise to that challenge or not, as the gentleman from Indiana in the 
other body said, we must find a way to forge agreement to achieve 
success in Iraq.
  The good news of the assessment that has come before the Congress is 
that we have been achieving some progress as a result of the 
President's surge strategy on the ground. Between May and June, 26 
high-level al Qaeda leaders have been killed or captured.
  I know there are some, even the gentleman who just spoke, who 
questioned whether we are fighting al Qaeda in Iraq. Our soldiers don't 
question that. Eleven of those al Qaeda leaders killed or captured were 
emirs, local al Qaeda leaders; seven were facilitators who smuggled 
foreign weapons; and five were cell leaders who commanded terrorist 
units.
  U.S. operations in the last 2 months, according to the reports 
released this week, have also uncovered an al Qaeda media network in a 
nondescript facility outside Samarra. U.S. forces also, I am happy to 
report, received 23,000 tips during this period of time, which is four 
to five times the number of tips we were receiving last year.
  But, again, that goes against the backdrop of disappointing news. 
While the American soldier performs with courage and effectiveness, the 
Iraqi government still fails to demonstrate the urgency.
  So as I struggle, I would just ask my colleagues on the other side of 
the aisle who share my concerns about the lack of progress in Iraq, as 
to this solution you bring to the floor, how will your plan for a 
unilateral withdrawal keep American soldiers safe?
  We have 160,000 soldiers there now. The majority of this Congress 
would call for them to exit Iraq by April 1. Well, in effect it would 
take 3,000 large convoys, according to some press reports, to evacuate 
the country down the one road out through Basra and into Kuwait.
  Also I would ask, how would this plan for unilateral withdrawal 
decrease the number of terrorist safe havens in that country? And since 
al Qaeda is clearly in Iraq, how would the plan for unilateral 
withdrawal succeed in fighting al Qaeda in Iraq?
  Lastly, I say as the ranking member of the Middle East Subcommittee, 
how will a withdrawal, a precipitous, reckless, irresponsible 
withdrawal, make the Middle East safer and more stable?
  I fear if we lose Iraq, we will lose Israel. We must come together as 
a Nation to find a way forward to succeed in Iraq.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel), a valued member of the Foreign 
Affairs Committee.
  Mr. ENGEL. I thank the gentleman, my distinguished friend, the 
chairman, for yielding time to me.

[[Page H7680]]

  Mr. Speaker, it's time to get our troops out of the middle of an 
Iraqi civil war. It's time to start bringing our troops home.
  My friends on the other side of the aisle are essentially saying 
``stay the course.'' At what point, I would ask my friends, do we say 
that the administration's policies in Iraq have failed and it is time 
to change course? I think that time is now.
  Even the Bush administration's interim assessment of whether the 
Iraqis are meeting basic benchmarks shows that they have failed to 
achieve any level of political and economic success. Here we are in the 
fifth year of the war, longer than World War II, more than half a 
trillion dollars and 3,600 American lives lost, and Iraqi politicians 
seem further apart than ever. Indeed, the evidence that our soldiers 
are involved in an Iraqi civil war is mounting and a solution seems 
even further from our grasp.
  Young American service personnel cannot solve the problem of Iraq, 
because, ultimately, Iraq is not a military problem anymore; it is a 
political crisis. And if the Iraqis cannot solve their political 
problems, we cannot do it for them. Only Iraqi politicians can bring 
about a solution, and our military personnel should not be dying to 
hold together the collapsed Iraqi state.
  Mr. Speaker, this war has turned into a great strategic fiasco, from 
the lack of planning to insufficient number of troops, to incompetent 
management of reconstruction projects, to the use of torture in 
military prisons. Our blunder in Iraq will affect our ability to 
succeed in the Middle East and elsewhere for years to come.
  Therefore, I strongly support this bill, which requires that we begin 
redeploying American troops home within 120 days of enactment and 
ending by April 1, 2008.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 5 minutes to the 
gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Burton), the distinguished ranking member 
of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of our Foreign Affairs 
Committee.
  Mr. BURTON of Indiana. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.
  You know, the things that are being said today, if George Washington 
had had television and radio and newspapers, would have been said about 
him. Several of his generals wanted him out because he wasn't winning 
battles and things were going wrong. Even in the Congress of the United 
States, Lee of Virginia led the charge to try to get rid of George 
Washington during the Revolutionary War.
  Abraham Lincoln, McClellan, one of his chief generals, who wouldn't 
fight, ran against him for President, and Lincoln was going to be 
defeated if Sherman hadn't taken Atlanta.
  War is not a popular thing. It's a horrible thing. Chairman Lantos 
was a survivor of the camps during the Holocaust during World War II. I 
would like to ask you a question: What would have happened if we hadn't 
won that war? How many more Jewish people would have been killed in 
those camps? Millions more. Six million died, but many millions more 
probably would have died if Hitler had prevailed. But we had Winston 
Churchill, who was willing to go to the mat to make sure that they 
didn't win and that he was going to defeat Hitler.
  If we pull out unilaterally like they're talking about right now, we 
leave those people over there who voted and held their fingers up, we 
leave those people to their fate with these people who are radicals, 
who are going to take over.
  Iran has camps. Senator Lieberman talked about that. They have 
training camps right there along the border. They are sending 
terrorists in to help augment the terrorists in Iraq. And if we 
unilaterally pull out, just like you're talking about, those people who 
voted for freedom and democracy, many, many, many of those will die, 
maybe even more than who have been dying in Darfur, and you have been 
talking about how important it is that we do something in Darfur.

                              {time}  1315

  A vacuum will be created, and Iran will fill it. They will not stop 
their nuclear development program, and we will be imperiled down the 
road from their nuclear development program because they'll have a real 
jumping-off point throughout the Middle East, not just in Iran but in 
Iraq and possibly Afghanistan, if many of you have your way.
  I don't know why we're not waiting on General Petraeus' report. We 
just gave him authority and gave him the money to pursue this until he 
reports back in September. I don't understand why we're jumping the gun 
and trying to force withdrawal right now when General Petraeus, who 
talked to all of us, has not had a chance to succeed.
  Mr. Speaker, 61 million people died in World War II, 6 million Jews; 
61 million. In this nuclear age, if we pull in our horns and let Iran 
run wild over there, which they will, and they develop their nuclear 
program, how many millions could die in this country as well as around 
the world? I submit it probably would be more than 61 million.
  In the United States, if we pull out like you're talking about, we'll 
probably have to go back in to stop them from developing that nuclear 
capability and stop them from training these people to go in and 
terrorize not only Iran and also Iraq and other places in the Middle 
East. That is a tinderbox over there and we have to make the right 
decision.
  Every President who has been in a war has been criticized by Congress 
at one time or another. Every single President, unless it was a very 
short war where you were in for 5 or 6 days or a couple of months. This 
is no exception.
  Have mistakes been made? You bet. Were mistakes made in World War II? 
Eight hundred guys drowned in a mock Normandy invasion off the coast of 
England. If we had television then and the newspapers we have today, we 
would never have invaded Normandy because they would have stopped it 
just like that because of criticism of those 800 guys drowning to 
death. They would have said it wouldn't have worked; it wasn't 
feasible.
  This is a very, very important issue we are talking about. Our brave 
soldiers are doing their job over there. And they watch on television 
right now, and what are they hearing? Pull out, pull out, pull out. 
They are asking, What are we fighting for if the Congress is going to 
jerk us out right now? We have heard from a lot of them who say, hey, 
we're doing the job, and we're doing better right now.
  I just think we ought to think very long and hard about what we're 
doing. It could effect a world war. We're in a world war against al 
Qaeda right now, but it could be a much more devastating war if we 
don't make the right decisions. I would like to say to my colleagues 
that I think it's extremely important that you think long and hard 
about what you're trying to do. Nobody likes war. Nobody likes war.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to our 
distinguished colleague from Texas, a member of the Foreign Affairs 
Committee, Mr. Green.
  Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman of the 
Foreign Affairs Committee for allowing me to speak.
  Before I get into my prepared remarks, part of the resolution, if my 
colleagues would go to page 5 of the resolution, says as part of the 
justification required, the President shall, at a minimum, address 
whether it is necessary for the Armed Forces to carry out the following 
missions: protecting U.S. diplomatic facilities and U.S. citizens, 
including Armed Forces who are engaged in carrying out other missions; 
serving in roles consistent with customary diplomatic positions; but 
also, engaging in actions to disrupt and eliminate al Qaeda and its 
affiliated organizations in Iraq.
  So while I sat here on the floor listened and heard, ``we are bailing 
out of attacking al Qaeda,'' we are not doing that. This resolution 
says we will still be there. The President has to certify, though, that 
is what we are doing. We are not shoring up the Iraqi Government; we 
are fighting al Qaeda, who brought us September 11. So anybody who says 
we are leaving is just wrong.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution and this 
legislation, and thank Chairman Skelton for his work on the bill. Like 
Chairman Skelton, I want to thank our soldiers, sailors, airmen and 
Marines and their families who are serving our country.

[[Page H7681]]

  I have stated before, we must let the Iraqi Government know our 
commitment is not open-ended. I have not supported efforts for 
immediate withdrawal, but this bill, just like our first supplemental 
sent to the President, which he vetoed, lets the Iraqi Government know 
that they need to make some tough choices to stabilize their country 
within the next several months.
  It also gives our administration time to have a comprehensive 
strategy in Iraq, and allows the troops to remain to protect our 
diplomatic facilities and fight al Qaeda, and training and equipping 
the Iraqi security forces.
  As this legislation states, we give the President the authority to 
use the Armed Forces to defend the national security of the United 
States against the continuing threat posed by the Iraqi government at 
that time. But we won that battle. The government was removed. The 
power and its leader indicted, tried and convicted, and executed by the 
newly elected, now-democratic government of Iraq.
  This bill will bring our troops home by April 1 of next year--that 
will be more than 5 years since the war began. U.S. taxpayers have 
spent billions of dollars, and thousands of troops have given their 
lives to bring security and stability to Iraq.
  While the current Iraqi government has been organizing and security 
forces have been training, our forces have been responsible for every 
facet of security in Iraq. Our troops defeated Saddam's Army, worked to 
control the country, policed Iraq's streets, protected the transitional 
and elected governments, and trained Iraq security forces.
  Our military has given the Iraqi government, the Iraqi security 
forces, and the Iraqi people every opportunity to have a stable, 
democratic country. It is time to let the Iraqi people know that 5 
years is long enough--they must take responsibility for the future of 
their country.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill to bring our 
troops home in a safe, responsible timeframe.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, before I yield to the gentleman from 
South Carolina (Mr. Inglis) who has traveled to Iraq several times, I 
yield myself a minute to answer some questions posed on the other side 
of the aisle.
  What we have here is a nonspecific, nondetailed, nothing planned for 
victory. The bill on page 3, since the gentleman refers to the bill, 
let's look at it. It talks about a reduction, a transition, a limited 
presence, a limited presence, again, with maximum attention paid to the 
protection of our Armed Forces. What does that mean? So you want our 
troops to face the terrorists with even less protection?
  It shall be further implemented as part of a comprehensive strategy. 
What do these phrases mean? What would General Petraeus do if this 
legislation were to become law, which it will not? This is not a plan. 
It says nothing. It is making a political statement.
  I am pleased to yield 3\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from South 
Carolina (Mr. Inglis) who has been to Iraq and understands the 
situation well.
  Mr. INGLIS of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlelady for 
yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, we have a huge challenge in Iraq. It is a challenge for 
Democrats. It is a challenge for Republicans. It is a challenge for the 
President and for the Congress. We need an American solution to that 
challenge. The question before us today is whether this resolution is 
going to advance that solution or it is actually going to make it more 
difficult.
  I am one of the 17 Republicans that wasn't convinced of the surge; 
but I am aware now that we are doing it. It is underway, and the plan 
is clear to have General Petraeus report in September.
  I am not certain why it is that we should be debating today a 
resolution prior to that time because, between now and then, rather 
than having a succession of political kind of resolutions, we could be 
working toward an American consensus on this. I would submit, Mr. 
Speaker, that that consensus is not that far away. I think we can start 
with two very clear observations. First, our military has done exactly 
what we have asked them to do. And they have done it very well.
  Second, we need to use the American concept of accountability. We 
need to impose accountability on the Iraqi regime and say to them, we 
have these benchmarks and here are some rewards for success and some 
consequences for failure.
  And between now and September 30, if we work in a cooperative way, I 
think we can find a whole series of success check points that we can 
lay out for the regime in Baghdad. We can say to them, Republicans, 
Democrats, the President and Congress alike, can say to them, here are 
the things that we want you to accomplish, and we have the right to 
insist that you accomplish them because after all, we are spending $2 
billion a week. But even more important than that, far more important 
than that, we have American lives at risk. So we have the right as 
their protectors. We want you to achieve these things. If you do, you 
get these rewards. If you fail, these are the consequences. We can lay 
out a whole series of those if we work together in a cooperative way. 
The President, the Congress, Republicans and Democrats, we can come up 
with that American solution and we can find a way forward in Iraq.
  The question that I think the proponents of this resolution need to 
answer is, if you simply set the withdrawal date of April 1, what went 
with all of that accountability? What went with all of those success 
check points? The question really for the proponents is: How do you 
know by April 1, such a date in stone, that you will have succeeded? 
Why not work cooperatively between now and September, awaiting the 
report, to prepare a series of very carefully thought out success check 
points with consequences for failure and rewards for success? And think 
through the plan. As it is, I think there is not much of a plan; and, 
therefore, I will vote against the resolution.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to a valued 
member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, my colleague from California 
(Ms. Woolsey).
  Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Chairman Lantos for 
the time and Chairman Skelton for bringing this important resolution to 
the House floor.
  Mr. Speaker, the American people have called for bold action to bring 
our troops home, and today we are debating a first step, setting a date 
certain to bring them home.
  Over the next weeks, we will vote to prohibit permanent bases in 
Iraq. We will continue the drumbeat to fund the safe and complete 
withdrawal of our troops.
  But, Mr. Speaker, despite calls--no, actually pleas--from the 
American people, some at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue and many 
right here in the House are just fine with staying the course. In fact, 
they are once again changing the conversation. They are trying to focus 
on gut feelings about an upcoming terrorist attack. But the American 
people will not stand for changing the conversation, and they will not 
stand for staying the course, nor should we in this Congress.
  The costs are just too high: $10 billion a month, and worst of all, 
the deadliest 3-month period since the escalation; 3,600 troops dead; 
at least 26,000 wounded; and tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees 
leaving Iraq every day. This is not only unacceptable; it is immoral.
  Today, the Congress must take a bold step to bring our troops home. 
We must stand up today with the American people. We must say, enough is 
enough. End the occupation, bring our troops home.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas (Mr. McCaul), a member of our Foreign Affairs Committee.
  Mr. McCAUL of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the ranking member of the 
Foreign Affairs Committee for yielding me this time.
  Here we are once again. I feel like we have done this before. Once 
again, I rise in opposition to the Democratic leadership's latest 
attempt to politicize the war, and I strongly urge my colleagues on 
both sides of the aisle to vote against defeat in Iraq.
  Mr. Speaker, the debate in this Chamber over the future of Iraq and 
the best course of action has been passionate and divisive, and each 
Member of this House has their own opinion. Yet the one thing we should 
be united on is our end goal and result. That should be the same: a 
democratic and stable Iraq.
  The Democratic majority has chosen to use this month of July, as they 
have

[[Page H7682]]

attempted several times already this year, to hold a series of votes to 
withdrawal our troops and force a premature end to Iraq's pursuit of 
freedom and democracy.
  We have to ask: What would happen if we withdrawal immediately? When 
we talk to the experts in the region, the leaders in these governments 
and key stakeholders in the region, they will tell you it will be a 
fireball in the Middle East. It will create a vacuum, a safe haven for 
al Qaeda. Iran will swoop in and take over. They, the key nations in 
the region, are quite frankly terrified of this action, and they tell 
us that privately.
  I believe that we can cannot afford that course of action. The 
Democrats have chosen this course not because it is in the national 
interest of this country but rather because they believe it provides 
them with good talking points to use back home. I submit they are 
mistaken.
  In my view, Americans are tired and frustrated with the partisan 
squabbling over the war which has done nothing to improve the situation 
in Iraq. Putting politics above our national interest while the men and 
women of our military are fighting overseas is simply unacceptable.

                              {time}  1330

  In a time of war, politics should end at the water's edge.
  There is another way forward. I and others have introduced the Iraq 
Study Group recommendations Implementation Act of 2007. This 
legislation is bipartisan. It is a comprehensive set of 
recommendations, a plan of action to succeed in Iraq, a plan which 
matches our military might with political solutions, with economic 
solutions and with a diplomatic surge which can bring peace and 
stability to the troubled nation. This bill has gained strength by 
those who recognize that moving forward in a unified way still exists 
in the Congress.
  The Iraq Study Group report offers a consensus policy that the vast 
majority of Americans support. The sponsors of the Democrat withdrawal 
bill that we are debating here today, however, have decided that even 
though the surge only came into effect 3 weeks ago, that it's already 
failed and we need to question it and throw it out.
  They further decided that we should declare defeat immediately and 
not wait for General Petraeus to come to Congress and give us his 
firsthand report. This rush to judgment, this rush to action on their 
part makes it clear that they have not reached an informed decision 
but, rather, a political one.
  Throughout the course of our American history, we've answered the 
call for freedom, and we, Mr. Speaker, I submit are at our greatest 
when we are united as a Nation; at our worst when we are divided.
  We should unite behind the ideals which helped achieve victory 
against the threats to our very way of life, such as the victories 
against the Third Reich, such as the threats by the Soviet empire and 
the victory against the Soviet Union.
  Today, the greatest threat is the threat of terrorism, and the 
conflict in Iraq poses one of the greatest challenges to the American 
experience. We must unite, or we will surely fail.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to yield 2\1/2\ minutes to a 
distinguished colleague from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee), a member of the 
Foreign Affairs Committee.
  (Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend her remarks.)
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, let me thank the chairman of 
the Foreign Affairs Committee for allowing members of that committee to 
show their commitment through their legislative work in a hearing at 
the early stages of his leadership when we were allowed to present 
solutions. They were not Republican solutions or Democratic solutions. 
They were solutions for those of us who love America, and I just want 
to simply reinforce that. I thank Mr. Skelton for his leadership.
  I have legislation that declares a military success, and I rise today 
to make it clear that I believe that the fallen in battle are heroes, 
and those who still fight carry their banner, for 3,611 have died, and 
I don't know why we're not on this floor declaring a military victory, 
thanking our soldiers.
  And my good friend from Texas says that he supports the Iraq Study 
Group. So do I and I have legislation. We all have legislation that 
responds to the Iraq Study Group. I might remind him that that report, 
bipartisan report, speaks articulately to redeployment, and so when we 
look at the costs of the war, $120 billion, Americans are asking, 
should one more drop of blood be shed? And my answer to that is, no. 
Should we engage? Yes. Should we involve in the surge of diplomacy? 
Absolutely.
  We want to make sure that all of those nation states can work to help 
solve the divide, the civil war. But we must face the facts that this 
process that the President is continuing to repeat does not work. It is 
wracked with corruption and misdirection. There were no weapons of mass 
destruction.
  As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, I have been disturbed 
this whole week as I listened to the Secretary of Homeland Security 
speak about his gut feeling of the possibility of a terrorist attack. 
I'm a member of that committee. I live every day with the idea that the 
question will be asked by Americans to the Homeland Security Committee 
and the Homeland Security Department, does the Secretary realize that 
we have fueled the fires of terrorism by training terrorists in this 
war.
  And so when I speak of why we must end, it is to save lives. It is to 
reconcile Iraq, and it is to make America safer. I ask for support of 
the underlying legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2956, the Responsible 
Redeployment From Iraq Act. I rise in strong support of this 
legislation because I am listening, and responding to the will of the 
American people. Last November 2006, Americans went to polls by the 
millions united in their resolve to vote for change. They voted for a 
new direction and a change in the Bush administration's disastrous 
policy in Iraq. The new Democratic majority heard them and responded by 
passing H.R. 1591, the Iraq Accountability Act. The President vetoed 
the bill, demanding instead a continuation of the ancien regime under 
which the Republican-led Congress gave him a blank check to mismanage 
the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq.
  Those days are over. No matter how many veto threats the President 
issues, this Congress is not going to give him a blank check to 
escalate and continue the war ad infinitum. It is long past time for 
change in Iraq. It is time for the people and Government of Iraq to 
take primary responsibility for their own country. It is time for the 
President to recognize the reality on the ground in Iraq. The time when 
a surge in troops is useful and necessary is past. It is now time to 
redeploy our troops and launch a diplomatic surge for national and 
political reconciliation in Iraq. H.R. 2956 will help achieve this goal 
and that is why I support the measure.
  Mr. Speaker, there is no more important issue facing the Congress, 
the President, and the American people than the war in Iraq. It is a 
subject which agitates the passions of all Americans, including Members 
of Congress. The Framers understood that while the military does the 
fighting, a nation goes to war. That is why the Framers lodged the 
power to declare war in the Congress, the branch of Government closest 
to the people. They knew that the decision to go to war was too 
important to be left to the whim of a single person, no matter how wise 
or well-informed he or she might be.
  Four years ago, President Bush stood under a banner that proclaimed 
``Mission Accomplished.'' If the mission was to further place our 
troops in harm's way at the hands of insurgents and sectarian violence, 
then it is mission accomplished. After spending more than $450 billion 
sacrificing the lives of 3,611 of America's finest citizen-soldiers, 
what have we accomplished and where are we headed?
  I cannot support the President's waging of a war that has no clear 
direction, does not meet the benchmarks that the President set, and has 
no visible target.
  Four years after launching the invasion, conquest, and occupation of 
Iraq, the evidence is clear and irrefutable: The preemptive invasion of 
Iraq, while a spectacularly executed military operation, was a 
strategic blunder without parallel in the history of American foreign 
policy. This is what can happen when the Congress allows itself to be 
stampeded into authorizing a president to launch a preemptive war of 
choice.
  It is time to change our strategy in Iraq. It is time to engage the 
key stakeholders in the Middle East and make real strides towards 
securing a just and lasting peace in Iraq and for the Iraqi people. And 
most important, bring our troops home so they can be reunited with 
their families, friends, and neighbors.

[[Page H7683]]

  That is why, Mr. Speaker, I support H.R. 2956. The Responsible 
Redeployment From Iraq Act requires a responsible redeployment of U.S. 
troops beginning within 120 days of enactment and ending by April 1, 
2008. The legislation requires the President to publicly justify the 
post-redeployment missions for the U.S. military in Iraq and the 
minimum number of troops necessary to carry out those missions.
  Mr. Speaker, this legislation is consistent with the advice of 
military and foreign policy experts, ensures the safety of our men and 
women in uniform, addresses our commitment to fighting terrorism, and 
reflects the will of the American people.
  Mr. Speaker, the need for a new direction in Iraq could not be 
clearer. In the face of mounting evidence that progress is not being 
made in Iraq, military leaders, defense experts, Republican and 
Democratic Members of Congress, and the American people are demanding 
change. Yet the President continues to urge continued support for a 
failed policy that is not making America safer or supporting our 
troops.
  In a report released today by the White House, the administration 
concedes that violence continues in Iraq and that the Iraqi Government 
has failed to meet key benchmarks endorsed by the President in January 
and political reconciliation is nonexistent. By the Bush 
administration's own admission, there is unsatisfactory progress on all 
of the political reconciliation benchmarks announced by the President 
on January 10, 2007.
  In fact, just this week, the National Security Network reported that 
since the President announced his ``surge'' policy 6 months ago, more 
than 25,000 troops have been sent to Iraq, approximately 600 have been 
killed and more than 3,000 have been wounded.
  Mr. Speaker, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been given 
numerous chances and ample time by the American people and the Congress 
to straighten out the mess in Iraq. They have failed. It is little 
wonder that the criticism of the administration's failed policy in Iraq 
is mounting by the day. Respected military leaders, like LTG William 
Odom, have spoken forcefully. According to Lieutenant General Odom, 
``No effective new strategy can be devised for the United States until 
it begins withdrawing its forces from Iraq. Only that step will break 
the paralysis that now confronts us.''
  Key Republican Senators are joining the chorus of critics. In 
addition to Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Senator Richard 
Lugar, some of the President's allies in Congress have spoken out. 
Senator Pete Domenici says, ``There's no reason to wait . . . [I am] 
trying to tell [Bush] that he must change his ways because there is 
nothing positive happening.'' Senator Elizabeth Dole says, ``It is my 
firm hope and belief that we can start bringing our troops home in 
2008.'' Senator Lamar Alexander says, ``The President needs a new 
strategy.''
  And just this week, in a USA Today/Gallup Poll, more than 70 percent 
of Americans favor removal of almost all U.S. troops from Iraq by April 
2008, leaving a limited number for counterterrorism efforts.


                      Military Success in Iraq Act

  Finally Mr. Speaker, I support this legislation because it is 
grounded in the fundamental principles I first announced in February of 
this year when I introduced H.R. 930, the Military Success in Iraq and 
Diplomatic Surge for National and Political Reconciliation in Iraq Act 
of 2007. I introduced this legislation, the Military Success in Iraq 
Act of 2007, MSIA or ``Messiah,'' to offer an honorable deliverance 
from Iraq. Let me explain.

  In October 2002, the Congress authorized the President to use 
military force against Iraq to achieve the following objectives:
  (1) To disarm Iraq of any weapons of mass destruction that could 
threaten the security of the United States and international peace in 
the Persian Gulf region;
  (2) To change the Iraqi regime so that Saddam Hussein and his 
Baathist party no longer posed a threat to the people of Iraq or its 
neighbors;
  (3) To bring to justice any members of al Qaeda known or found to be 
in Iraq bearing responsibility for the attacks on the United States, 
its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on 
September 11,2001;
  (4) To ensure that the regime of Saddam Hussein would not provide 
weapons of mass destruction to international terrorists, including al 
Qaeda; and
  (5) To enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council 
resolutions regarding Iraq.
  Every one of these objectives has long been accomplished. Iraq does 
not possess weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein has been 
deposed, captured, and dealt with by the Iraqi people. The American 
military has caught or killed virtually every member of al Qaeda in 
Iraq that was even remotely responsible for the 9-11 attack on our 
country. Last, all relevant U.N. resolutions relating to Iraq have been 
enforced. In other words, every objective for which the use of force in 
Iraq was authorized by the 2002 resolution has been achieved.
  Mr. Speaker, since the objectives which led Congress to pass the 2002 
Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) have been achieved, I 
believe the authorization to use that military force expires 
automatically. My legislation affirms this proposition. Additionally, I 
believe, and my legislation provides, that it is the Congress that is 
the ultimate arbiter as to whether the objectives set forth in a 
congressional AUMF have been achieved.
  Mr. Speaker, where a Congressional authorization to use military 
force has expired, the President must obtain a new authorization to 
continue the use force. My legislation requires the President to do 
that as well. Finally, my bill requires that if the Congress does not 
vote to reauthorize the use of force in Iraq within 90 days after 
determining that the objectives set forth in the 2002 AUMF have been 
achieved, all American armed forces in Iraq must be redeployed out of 
Iraq. Thus, under my legislation, an up-or-down vote must be held by 
the House and Senate to continue waging war in Iraq.
  I am not talking about ``cutting and running,'' or surrendering to 
terrorists. And I certainly am not talking about staying in Iraq 
forever or the foreseeable future. The Armed Forces won the war they 
were sent to fight. Their civilian leadership has not succeeded in 
winning the peace. That is why the United States should surge 
diplomatically and politically.
  Title II of my legislation, the ``Diplomatic Surge for Political and 
National Reconciliation in Iraq Act,'' implements twelve of the most 
important recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. This approach is now 
gaining widespread support among many who had previously disparaged 
diplomacy in favor of military force.
  All six of Iraq's neighbors--Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi 
Arabia, and Kuwait--have an interest in a stabilized Iraq because as 
the Iraq Study Group report makes clear, none of these countries wants 
to live with an Iraq that, after our redeployment, becomes a failed 
state or a humanitarian catastrophe that could become a haven for 
terrorists or hemorrhages millions more refugees who will stream into 
neighboring countries.
  Mr. Speaker, in addition to the enormous financial cost, the human 
cost to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces has also 
been high but they have willingly paid it. Operation Iraqi Freedom 
has exacerbated the Veterans Administration health care facility 
maintenance backlog; placed an undue strain on the delivery of medical 
treatment and rehabilitative services for current and new veterans; and 
exacted a heavy toll on the equipment, training and readiness 
requirements, and the families of the men and women of the United 
States Armed Forces.

  Mr. Speaker, everyday when I walk into my office I am reminded of the 
courageous young men and women who have given their lives in service to 
our nation. Outside my office I have displayed a poster-board that 
displays the names and faces of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 
The poster-board is nearly full. I do not want to start another board. 
Let me call the roll of honor of the remarkable sons and daughters of 
Houston, Texas who have made the ultimate sacrifice and gave the last 
full measure of devotion: Capt. Eric L. Allton, Petty Officer 1st Class 
Howard E. Babcock IV, Spec. Adolfo C. Carballo, Staff Sgt. Brian T. 
Craig, Staff Sgt. Terrence D. Dunn, Pfc. Analaura Esparza Gutierrez, 
1st Lt. David M. Fraser, Lance Cpl. Phillip C. George, Spec. Clinton R. 
Gertson, Capt. Andrew R. Houghton, Master Sgt. Ivica Jerak, Spec. John 
P. Johnson, Pfc. Roy L. Jones III, Cpl. Brian M. Kennedy, Staff Sgt. 
Dexter S. Kimble,
  Spec. Scott Q. Larson Jr., Staff Sgt. Hector Leija, Pfc. Jesus A. 
Leon-Perez, Sgt. Keelan L. Moss, Tech. Sgt. Walter M. Moss Jr., Staff 
Sgt. Kenneth I. Pugh, Staff Sgt. William D. Richardson, Staff Sgt. 
Timothy J. Roark, Sgt. Michael T. Robertson, Cpl. Benjamin S. Rosales, 
Staff Sgt. Alberto V. Sanchez, Pfc. Leroy Sandoval Jr., Pfc. Armando 
Soriano, Cpl. Tomas Sotelo Jr., Sgt. Danny R. Soto, Spec. Juan M. 
Torres, Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Zapp.
  Mr. Speaker, the misguided, mismanaged, and costly debacle that is 
the Iraq War which was preemptively launched by President Bush in March 
2003 despite the opposition of me and 125 of my colleagues in the House 
of Representatives has lasted longer than America's involvement in 
WorId War II, the greatest conflict in all of human history.
  But there is a difference. The Second World War ended in complete and 
total victory for the United States and its allies. But then again, in 
that conflict America was led by FDR, a great Commander-in-Chief, who 
had a plan to win the war and secure the peace, listened to his 
generals, and sent troops in sufficient numbers and sufficiently 
trained and equipped to do the job.
  My friends, I say with sadness that we have not enjoyed that same 
quality of leadership

[[Page H7684]]

throughout the conduct of the Iraq War. The results, not surprisingly, 
have been disastrous. To date, the war in Iraq has claimed the lives of 
3,611 brave servicemen and women. The last three months of the war have 
been among the deadliest (104 in April, 123 in May, 101 in June, and 32 
in the first week of July). More than 26,690 Americans have been 
wounded, many suffering the most horrific injuries. American taxpayers 
have paid nearly $450 billion to sustain this misadventure. To grasp 
the magnitude of this number, consider that American taxpayers are 
spending: $120,000,000,000 per year; $10,000,000,000 per month; 
$2,307,692,380 per week; $329,670,330 per day; $13,736,264 per hour; 
$228,938 per minute; $3,816 per second.

  Mr. Speaker, last November the American people signaled clearly their 
loss of confidence in the President's leadership and their desire for a 
new direction in Iraq. The new Democratic majority has begun to 
deliver. And we will not rest, Mr. Speaker, until we are clearly on a 
glide path to the day when our troops come home.
  And even then our work will not be done. We must still be about the 
business of repairing the damage to America's international reputation 
and prestige. But this Democratic majority, led by the Progressive 
Caucus and the Out of Iraq Caucus, has ushered in a new era of 
oversight, accountability, and transparency to defense and 
reconstruction contracting and procurement.
  I urge all members to join me in supporting H.R. 2956. This is the 
best way to ensure accountability to our soldiers who have been sent 
into battle without proper training or equipment or a clear mission. It 
is the best way to keep faith with our veterans who are not getting the 
best medical care when they come home. Passing this legislation is 
essential to restoring our military that is being stretched to the 
limits by the Bush policy. Last, it is absolutely necessary to regain 
the confidence of the American people who demand a new direction in 
Iraq.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may 
consume because I'd like to comment on a point that was raised by my 
good friend from Indiana (Mr. Burton) regarding the intentions of Iran.
  The deputy interior minister for security affairs and the former 
deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran said on April 26 of 
this year, ``Iran has long-range missiles that can make nowhere safe 
for America.''
  He also said, ``Iran is able to fire tens of thousands of missiles 
per day at American targets on a daily basis and, with its long-range 
missiles, can threaten Israel which is acting as America's'' proxy.
  So it is clear to us, Mr. Speaker, that Iran seeks not just to wipe 
Israel off the map, as Ahmadinejad has said time and again, but to 
destroy the United States. So is the plan to immediately leave Iraq so 
that Iran can begin its takeover of the region? Is this in the national 
security interests of the United States? Is that going to make us 
safer?
  I think that we should carefully consider what will happen were we to 
withdraw immediately as, it has been called for.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of our time.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hinojosa), a member of the 
Foreign Affairs Committee.
  Mr. HINOJOSA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the 
Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act, H.R. 2956, and for the safe 
redeployment of our combat troops out of Iraq.
  I thank our Chairman Lantos of the Foreign Affairs Committee for 
yielding time to me and want to reiterate that for 4 years now our 
administration has sacrificed its many soldiers for an Iraqi Government 
that has failed to take responsibility for its own security. While many 
of these soldiers have made great sacrifices on our Nation's behalf, 
the President has failed to support them with a viable strategy to 
succeed in Iraq and then to end combat operations.
  This bill would force the President to be accountable to this 
Congress and to the American people. Yes, the American people deserve 
to know how this war is conducted and how it will end.
  This bill would force the Iraqi Government to realize that America's 
commitment to their nation is not open-ended and that they must be 
accountable to their people for security and stability.
  This bill would allow our military to safely redeploy from combat in 
Iraq to better confront emerging security threats around the world.
  This bill would end the drain upon our Nation's resources that could 
better be used on our priorities at home such as improving our homeland 
security, strengthening our economy, and for providing for our 
citizens.
  I strongly support this important legislation and request the 
President heed the call of this Congress to support our troops by 
redeploying them out of Iraq.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. Pearce).
  Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for her yielding and 
for her work on the issue and thank the majority party for their work. 
We're involved in a very serious discussion here.
  I was in the Air Force in 1970, in Reese Air Force Base in Texas in 
pilot training, and the Shah of Iran's son was in the class right 
behind me. I didn't know much about the Shah of Iran, coming from 
Hobbs, New Mexico, but we began to watch and began to visualize as he 
left training, and those Iranians who were in the training class with 
me left and went back home to Iran, what their life was like flying 
jets in the Middle East. And then in 1979, the Shah was suddenly out of 
power, just like that. The ayatollah came to power and instituted a 
tremendous repressive regime that continues to this day.
  Now, the question that our friends on the other side of the aisle 
fail to ask is what is their plan to see that our friends in the Middle 
East have stability because, in fact, they're balancing the terrorists 
in their own countries every day. They're balancing them using our 
force and our will and our promise to help.
  So what do our friends in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, 
what do they do? When I went to Israel earlier this year, Israel simply 
said they fall. If you leave Iraq, those nations fall.
  Now, it's an uncomfortable truth, but somehow we're not going to talk 
about some uncomfortable truth these days. It's an uncomfortable truth 
that the entire Middle East is facing a problem of stability. If the 
entire Middle East faces a problem with stability, the entire world has 
a problem of stability because, if the Middle East exports about 25 to 
30 percent of the world's oil, which it does, then the world oil market 
becomes destabilized, the world economy becomes destabilized, and in 
the end, the terrorists win because they have destabilized the world 
rather than defeat any of the forces in the world. That's been their 
long-term plan, to export instability, and they have been doing a very 
good job of it.
  Now, the President after 9/11 said we're going to fight a war on 
terror that simply does three things: we're going to take away the 
training camps, we're going to choke off their funding, and we're going 
to take the fight to them. Now, you can agree or disagree that Iraq is 
a place of combat with the terrorists, but it looks like to me that the 
terrorists from all over the world are coming in there. Iran is 
providing terrorists and weapons, Syria, other nations; and so whether 
or not it appears that the war is there, our soldiers believe that 
they're actually fighting al Qaeda.
  So the President's plan has definitely uprooted the training camps. 
We've begun to squeeze off the funding to the al Qaeda troops, to the 
terrorists worldwide, and we have taken the fight to them. But now 
then, when we retreat, when we come home, the question that has failed 
to be asked by our friends who have this resolution calling our troops 
home, it fails to ask what do we do for world stability at that point. 
It is a serious omission. It's not accidental.
  I appreciate the gentlelady for yielding.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to yield 2 minutes to a valued 
member of the Foreign Affairs Committee who serves with great 
distinction as vice chair of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-
Proliferation and Trade, Mr. David Scott of Georgia.
  Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I stand 100 percent behind this 
bill for a responsible redeployment of our troops out of Iraq. Much has 
been said. There are several points I would like to make going forward.

[[Page H7685]]

  First of all, this is responsible. This is not something that was 
just put together. This was put together with military advisers of the 
first order, generals on the ground who were consulted, and by two of 
the most distinguished individuals in this Chamber, our distinguished 
chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Tom Lantos, and our 
distinguished chairman of our Armed Services Committee, Mr. Ike 
Skelton. Nobody can argue their credentials. Nobody can argue the 
credentials of the military advisers that put this together.
  But most importantly, the people that no one has mentioned, the 
entity that no one has mentioned, the most important entity of all is 
the American people. This bill represents the will of the American 
people. Seventy percent of the American people support this action 
today.
  Now, let me remind you of the words of Robert Jackson, one of our 
distinguished Supreme Court Justices in the steel seizure case of 1952, 
when a similar situation was in place, where we were at loggerheads 
then with the executive branch and the legislative branch, but at that 
point, the Supreme Court decided that Congress has the authority. And 
Jackson went on to say that when the executive branch denies, 
disrespects and disavows the authority of Congress, we enter into what 
is referred to as a zone of twilight, or a twilight zone.

                              {time}  1345

  That's where we are now, to get out of this twilight zone of 
destruction and mayhem, of instability in the Middle East. You talk 
about stability in the Middle East. We are more unstable in the Middle 
East now as a result of what we have done.
  Get us out of this twilight zone. This bill is the way to do it, and 
I commend it and hope we pass it overwhelmingly.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Generals on the ground were consulted on this bill? Seventy percent 
of Americans support this bill, support immediate withdrawal of our 
troops?
  This bill before us is nothing more than political hyperbole, 
partisan politics using our troops as cover, because the American 
people don't have this bill in front of them. We didn't have this bill 
before us until just a few hours ago.
  Let me show you exactly what the Democratic leadership has scheduled 
for us to debate, and I use the term lightly. For an entire day, rather 
than do the hard work of our Congress that we need to do to have more 
serious discussions on Iraq, on this bill, on appropriations, it's six 
pages long, six pages long.
  It was introduced yesterday, so I don't know what commanders on the 
field we consulted with. I would be interested in doing that, in 
finding that out. The first page is the title. The second page, it's a 
``sense of Congress,'' language, nonbinding. The third page says 
``reduce forces to limited presence.'' Who understands what that is? 
Certainly not the drafters of this bill. The fourth and the fifth page 
calls for a strategy.
  Yet this Congress already has demanded a strategy from the President, 
and it is due in September, a report. That's what the Democrats say 
they have asked for. But yet they are not willing to wait for that 
report.
  The last page is definitions. This is what we are debating today, 
Democratic politics using our troops as pawns. Commanders on the field 
who were consulted? Give me a break.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of our time.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to a valued member of 
the Foreign Affairs Committee, my friend and colleague from California 
(Mr. Costa).
  Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support H.R. 2956, the 
Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act.
  Now, certainly this measure is part of an ongoing effort to try to 
bring comprehensive change. We do have a vested interest in the Middle 
East as we are engaged in this war on terror throughout the world.
  Notwithstanding that fact, though, for 6 years, our administration 
has had a blank check in Iraq, and that war on terror, and 
unfortunately, I think, by any critical evaluation, at best it has been 
bungled. At worst, we have made a mess of things. The previous 
Congresses have left little to be desired in terms of real oversight.
  With unlimited resources, we have complicated our relations with the 
Middle East, and it's unfortunate for our country. It seems for every 
step forward, we take a step back. This legislation, then again, is 
another effort to begin a new direction, which will protect our 
interests in the Middle East and begin to develop a plan to bring our 
troops home.
  What is lacking in this legislation though is a requirement for the 
President to tell us how we are going to, in fact, stabilize the areas 
with all the diplomatic resources available to us and our allies 
throughout the world in this region. Nonetheless, under the current 
circumstances, this legislation, I believe, is the next logical step. 
Clearly, doing more of the same continues to risk precious lives of 
American men and women in uniform, not to mention our Treasury, with 
little responsiveness, unfortunately and cooperation from the Iraqi 
Government.
  Hopefully, this legislation will allow the administration to engage 
and work with us for constructive change that the American people 
demands.
  I ask for an ``aye'' vote.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to thank you 
for keeping such careful order on the floor on such a controversial 
topic.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair thanks the gentlewoman.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I have the pleasure of yielding 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Shays) who has been to Iraq several 
times, has wrestled with his conscience and understands the situation 
of jihadist terrorism worldwide.
  Mr. SHAYS. I thank the gentlelady for yielding.
  I deeply admire Tom Lantos, my friend, whom I have known for so many 
years, and Ike Skelton, the authors of this resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a debate about an issue we all have strong 
feelings about. I regret to say it's a debate that's under a closed 
rule that doesn't allow all aspects of this issue to come to the 
forefront, and I deeply regret that.
  We asked for a new Secretary of Defense. We wanted Rumsfeld replaced, 
and he was replaced by Secretary Gates. We asked for a new general on 
the ground and a new strategy, and General Petraeus was chosen.
  After all that he had already done, he was willing to step in. He 
received unanimous support in the Senate, unanimous support. He has 
asked one thing from us with this new strategy. He said, give me until 
September 15 to show what we can do with this surge.
  What this resolution does is it bypasses that. It basically, in my 
judgment, pulls the rug out from under General Petraeus. I think we owe 
it to him, unless he were to come back and say, we need to change our 
strategy right now, but he hasn't done that.
  In my 17 visits to Iraq, I have seen good months and bad months. 
Since December, I think it's pretty extraordinary that we have won back 
Anbar province, an all-Sunni province. The irony is, we had given it 
up, and it had become a mini Afghanistan with al Qaeda acting like the 
Taliban. The tribal leaders came to us and said, help us get rid of 
them.
  If we were not there to do that, they would be stuck with an 
Afghanistan with a Taliban type leadership in all of the Sunni area in 
Anbar province. But, fortunately, we didn't pull the rug out from under 
them. We are there to help them.
  I think there are at least two inconvenient truths that we are 
dealing with. One inconvenient truth is the one that Al Gore talks 
about, which I wish more of us paid attention to, and that's global 
warming. The other inconvenient truth is what the 9/11 Commission 
report says, we are confronting Islamist terrorists.
  Islamist terrorists have made it very clear that this is ground zero. 
If we were to leave Iraq, Iraq, in my judgment, would be like 
Afghanistan, with no troops to prevent the insurgents to do just what 
the Taliban did. I just hope and pray that we find a way to work 
together, that we look at bringing the Iraq Study Group presentation 
before us, because we all say we can support it. Let's build on what we 
can agree.

[[Page H7686]]

  I conclude by making this point. We ask the Shia, Sunnis and Kurds to 
work together and reach out to each other, but Democrats and 
Republicans are having a hard time reaching out and working together. 
Bring forward a bipartisan proposal and see how well it could do on the 
House floor.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 1 minute to my 
good friend and distinguished colleague from California (Mrs. Capps).
  Mrs. CAPPS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of this bill 
to finally end this disastrous war. President Bush's war in Iraq has 
been the biggest foreign policy catastrophe in our Nation's history. We 
have been distracted from doing the job in Afghanistan, the Nation that 
harbored al Qaeda. Hundreds of billions of dollars have evaporated into 
the sands of Iraq while vital needs have gone unmet at home. Our 
international reputation has been battered and bruised. Our Army has 
been hollowed out.
  The war has cut short the lives of more than 3,600 of our bravest 
citizens, injured tens of thousands more. Yet this President continues 
to insist that we remain in Iraq.
  Today we must tell this President he is wrong. We must take a stand 
against this tragic war, begin the hard work of repairing our foreign 
policy. We must listen to the American people and vote to end this war.
  Let us truly support our troops and vote to bring them home.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to Mr. Price of 
Georgia.
  (Mr. PRICE of Georgia asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. PRICE of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlelady for 
yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a sad and disappointing day for this House and 
for America. Once again, the majority is placing politics over national 
security, politics over reasoned policy, politics and partisanship over 
citizens and sanity.
  Clearly this bill was not written in response to what our generals 
think, whose interim report was released just hours ago. Instead, it 
was written in reaction to polls and to political pressure from 
MoveOn.org and others. This isn't a thoughtful piece of legislation to 
achieve success in Iraq or success for America.
  The lack of definition for a limited presence included in the bill 
reveals that this is just another cynical attempt by the majority to 
politically pander. How terribly disappointing.
  In effect, this legislation is a vote of no confidence in our 
military commanders, and it's a shot of encouragement to al Qaeda. It's 
pure political opportunism, and it's devoid of military strategy.
  As Members of Congress, we have a greater responsibility than just to 
politics. We have a responsibility to do what is in the best interest 
of long-term American security. We must be thoughtful. We must be 
deliberate in our actions.
  We have a capable leader, General David Petraeus, unanimously 
approved by the Senate, the expert in counterinsurgency strategy. He 
was given by this Congress, just a few weeks ago, until September, to 
make positive progress in Iraq and report.
  But this majority isn't interested in what our military commanders 
are capable of, or the situation on the ground. Their only interest is 
politics, in raising the white flag and in coming home without any 
thought or definition as to when or where they are willing to defend 
our security.
  But because the political climate is ripe, the majority wants to 
undercut our troops. It's upsetting, it's sad, and it's very 
disconcerting that politics would trump national security.
  This bill signals to our enemies that it doesn't matter what the 
commanders say. It says that thoughtful military strategy takes a back 
seat to good politics.
  This isn't an exit strategy, it's a political strategy. How terribly 
disappointing.
  I respectfully ask my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this bill and to 
commit to positively working together on behalf of the American people 
and American security.
  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, before yielding to our last speaker, I want 
to express my disgust and outrage at this arrogance which we have just 
heard.
  The previous speaker assumes that there is a monopoly of virtue and 
wisdom on one side. That is not the case.
  We have listened to our colleagues on the other side with respect and 
attention, and that is exactly what we demand of every single Member on 
the Republican side. This was an appalling spectacle debasing what has 
thus far been a fine and noble debate.
  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the conscience of 
this House, my good friend from Georgia, Congressman John Lewis.
  Mr. LEWIS of Georgia. I am going to thank my friend, my colleague, 
Chairman Lantos, for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution. This resolution is 
not a panacea. It will not get us out of Iraq tomorrow, next week or 
next month, but it is a step that will bring an end to this madness.
  Our President, the commander in chief, told us a few days ago, that 
the surge is just beginning when he deployed more troops 6 months ago. 
He asked Members of Congress to wait. He is telling the American people 
to be patient.
  We cannot wait. We cannot be patient. The American people want an end 
to this war and end it now.
  How many more of our young people must die before we realize enough 
is enough? One more day of involvement is too many. One more death is 
one too many. This war is not worthy of another drop of human blood.
  It is leaving a stain on the moral fabric of this Nation and 
destroying our credibility in the community of nations. We will never 
find the answer to Iraq down the barrel of a gun or in the warhead of a 
missile.
  Vote for this resolution and bring this war to an end and bring it to 
an end now.

                              {time}  1400

  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield the balance of our 
time to the distinguished chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Mr. 
Skelton.


                             General Leave

  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their 
remarks and to insert extraneous materials in the Record on the bill, 
H.R. 2956.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Missouri?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to my friend and 
colleague, the gentlelady from New Hampshire (Ms. Shea-Porter), a 
member of the Armed Services Committee.
  Ms. SHEA-PORTER. Mr. Speaker, the National Counterterrorism Center 
recently issued a report entitled, ``Al Qaeda Better Positioned to 
Strike the West.'' This report concludes that al Qaeda has reorganized, 
regrouped, and is stronger now than it has been in years.
  Yesterday, in the Armed Services Committee, we heard testimony that 
al Qaeda has established itself in the mountains along the Afghanistan-
Pakistan border and is operating with relative impunity. On Tuesday, 
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says he has a gut feeling 
we will be attacked this summer.
  For years, Democrats have been saying we need to focus our efforts on 
combating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the President took 
our brave soldiers and our resources to Iraq. Now it appears that the 
President's disastrous policy of ignoring the real threats and bogging 
our military down in Iraq has borne fruit. The area and the country is 
destabilized and more dangerous to their neighbors and to us. Thanks to 
the President's policy, our military is now overextended, our Nation is 
deep in debt, and our international reputation is stained.
  This cannot be allowed to continue. We are America the beautiful. We 
are the greatest country on Earth. We are the beacon of light and hope. 
We need to withdraw from Iraq, place our soldiers in a place where they 
can respond to any terrorist threats, and protect our borders as we 
once again reclaim our moral reputation.
  Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Speaker, I claim the time that has been yielded to 
me, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

[[Page H7687]]

  Mr. Speaker, I have the greatest respect for the chairman of the 
Armed Services Committee, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton). I 
honor him and respect him deeply. But this legislation is deeply and 
fatally flawed. It will damage America and American interests for two 
reasons:
  First, it is a purely political document, hopelessly vague and 
meaningless. Let me explain why. The bill turns on two key terms. One, 
that the United States transition to a ``limited presence'' in Iraq 
within the next 120 days; and, two, that the President provide a 
justification of ``the minimum force levels required to protect the 
United States' national security interests in Iraq.''
  While I am pleased that the authors recognize that we are in Iraq to 
protect our national security interests, again, the legislation is 
hopelessly vague and therefore meaningless. Neither of these two key 
terms, ``limited presence'' and ``minimum force level required to 
protect U.S. national security interests'' is defined. Oh, the bill has 
a definition section and other terms are defined, but ``limited 
presence'' and ``minimum force level required to protect U.S. national 
security interests'' aren't defined.
  You might ask yourself, why would the authors of the measure leave 
two such critically important terms undefined? Well, the answer is 
easy: Because this bill is not about policy; this bill is about 
politics.
  The chairman of the Armed Services Committee knows exactly why these 
terms are not defined, and indeed the Democratic leadership knows why 
these terms are not defined. They are not defined because they need 
ambiguity. Indeed, ambiguity in this legislation is essential to its 
passage. They know that they can't agree on what the meanings of these 
terms are. You see, if they defined ``limited presence'' as too many 
troops, then their most liberal, most antiwar Members would not vote 
for the legislation. They couldn't. And, if they defined limited 
presence too low, then their Blue Dog Members would not support the 
bill. Again, this bill is about beating up on the President and about 
scaring nervous Members of Congress.
  Again, let's look at the other term, ``minimum force levels required 
to protect U.S. national security interests.'' Why not define what that 
minimum is? Answer, again, if they define it too high, those who want 
out tonight and want our force levels at the lowest conceivable level 
couldn't vote for the bill. And if they define it too low, then those 
who recognize we face a threat from Iran and other regions' interests 
wouldn't vote for the bill. It is deeply flawed for those reasons.
  And I would ask proponents of the bill what they would say if the 
President, as he could under the language of the bill, were to decide 
that ``limited presence'' means 154,000 troops, just 1,000 fewer than 
we have now? That would comply with the letter of the bill, but it 
wouldn't satisfy proponents of the bill.
  And what if the President, as he can under the language of the bill, 
were to define the term ``minimum force level required to protect U.S. 
national interests'' not as 155,000 troops as we have today, but rather 
at 500,000 troops?
  You see, they can't agree on those terms. I wonder how many of the 
Members realize that the critical terms in this bill aren't defined.
  The bill is also flawed for a second reason, and that is that it 
reneges on the essential agreement Congress struck just 2 weeks ago. It 
is a little bit like Lucy pulling the football out from under Linus 
just before he kicks it. Here, don't rely on my opinion; rely instead 
on today's Washington Post. You see, today's Washington Post editorial 
makes the case for me. The Washington Post, not exactly a conservative 
journal, says, ``It seems like just weeks ago, because it was, that 
Congress approved funding for the war in Iraq and instructed General 
David H. Petraeus to report back on the war's progress in September.'' 
Ladies and gentlemen, this isn't September.
  The Post goes on to write, ``Before Congress begins ordering 
withdrawals, it should at least give those generals the months they 
asked for to see whether their strategy can offer some hope.'' We owe 
it to those generals to give them, as The Washington Post says, the 
months they asked for, but, instead, we have given them 27 days.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to my friend, my 
colleague, the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. Boswell).
  Mr. BOSWELL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for this opportunity 
to speak. I rise in support of this legislation.
  Much has been said these past years about the extent of the U.S. 
engagement in Iraq. The Iraqi people have made progress. Saddam is 
gone. They have had elections. We are told they have got over 300,000 
Iraqi police and soldiers trained, equipped, and in the field. They are 
engaged in a civil war, and we cannot be involved in trying to referee 
that. As well as others in this body, I have been given assurances that 
they have that many troops.
  I believe the war in Iraq has had a serious negative effect on the 
readiness of our brave men and women in uniform who are serving with 
honor and distinction. Their deployments and, oftentimes, redeployments 
without adequate time at home to rest and train is affecting our 
Nation's ability to meet future contingencies. As it stands today, 
listen up, as it stands today, we do not have, repeat, do not have a 
single combat-ready brigade ready to be deployed.
  The United States cannot chart the destiny of the people of Iraq. The 
Iraqi Government must take responsibility for its own nation, and this 
legislation puts us on the path to see to that worthy and noble cause.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, at this time I yield 1 minute to my 
colleague, my friend, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Cummings).
  Mr. CUMMINGS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation.
  The interim report released by the President today details exactly 
what I anticipated, a lack-of-progress report which demonstrates that 
the Iraqi Government has made the least progress on those key 
benchmarks that are vital to achieving stabilization.
  The President at a press conference earlier today stressed the usual 
line of excuses that he has far too often utilized in the past, stating 
that we need to give General Petraeus time to show that the plus-up is 
effective and stress the importance of waiting until the September 15 
progress report is released before drawing conclusions on the policy in 
Iraq. However, the President forgot to mention that General Petraeus 
said in an interview just last month that the chances of having a 
stable Iraqi Government in place by September are slim to none. Those 
are his words.
  Frankly, our troops need our support, and that support must be their 
redeployment, which will end the continued bloodshed.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the chairman of the 
Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, my 
friend, my colleague, the gentlelady from California (Mrs. Tauscher).
  Mrs. TAUSCHER. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to voice my very strong 
support for Chairman Skelton's legislation. It represents an 
unequivocal belief that the United States cannot and should not be in 
the business of fighting Iraq's civil war.
  For over 4 years, it has been clear to me that our troops 
successfully and bravely accomplished the mission authorized by the 
President in the fall of 2002.
  Today's report that our troops have done their job but the Iraqi 
Government has not underscores the deep problems with the Bush 
administration's approach. We are no longer at war with Iraq's 
Government; instead, our forces are caught in the middle of an 
escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq, with no end in sight. Yet, the 
President continues to blindly stay the course, with disastrous and 
deadly consequences.
  Chairman Skelton's bill would make significant reductions in our 
troop presence by April of 2008. Democrats, along with our Republican 
colleagues who no longer trust the President's leadership, are doing 
all we can to change the President's full speed ahead mismanagement of 
the war in Iraq and divert the policy toward returning our troops home 
sooner and safer.
  This more responsible presence, which limits U.S. presence to 
fighting

[[Page H7688]]

terrorism and training Iraq forces, will be a first step in restoring 
stability in Iraq and the readiness of our military which has been 
badly damaged over the last 4 years.
  I appreciate Chairman Skelton's leadership on this matter, and I urge 
my colleagues to support this commonsense approach.
  Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
gentlelady from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn).
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Arizona.
  And while I have the utmost respect for the chairman, I disagree with 
him on this resolution and I do rise to oppose the resolution today.
  I guess I don't like the rhetoric of defeat. And I think that if we 
look at the situation in Iraq and if we look at the global war on 
terror, we have to ask ourselves: If we accept defeat at the hands of 
the terrorists, then what type message are we going to send? And I 
don't think that we would like that. Because if we pull out now, it is 
going to say that the U.S. is weak in the war on terror. It is going to 
say that we accept roving death squads in the streets of Baghdad, that 
we accept ethnic cleansing and a region engulfed in all-out chaos. That 
is the message we send. Just as when we were children, our actions 
carry a message with them.
  Our soldiers deserve the confidence of their leaders, and not second-
guessing by politicians that are a half world away. I think that they 
need to know that we are with them.
  I had a message from a Marine parent. And they said, You know, we 
have our men out there fighting every day. They are using all the tools 
available to them. They are in combat. They are in patrols. They are 
using technology to stabilize, to train Iraqi troops. Then at night 
they come home, they come back to that post, that forward operating 
base, and they hammer out e-mails and blogs to those of us here to help 
combat the rhetoric coming out of Washington, DC.
  General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker have a plan, the Baghdad 
Security Plan. We find out now much of Baghdad is more secure than it 
was. Most of the troops to carry out this plan just landed, just got 
there 2 weeks ago to start implementing the plan. I think that for us 
to second-guess is inappropriate. I think that it may be the 
fashionable thing to want to pull out.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from New 
Jersey, a member of the Armed Services Committee, my friend and 
colleague, Mr. Andrews.
  (Mr. ANDREWS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for yielding.
  I support this legislation because it will make America safer. Our 
safety depends upon stability in Iraq.
  Now, there are two ways to achieve stability in Iraq. The first is to 
prop up the present government and hope it succeeds.

                              {time}  1415

  That has failed. The best evidence of that failure is from Iraqi 
leaders themselves. Last weekend, a Shiite Member of Iraq's legislature 
said, in the absence of enough security forces, authorities should help 
residents arm themselves for their own protection. The Sunni president 
of Iraq said, people have a right to expect from the government and 
security agencies protection for their lives, land, honor and property, 
Mr. al-Hashemi said. But in the case of the inability of Iraqi security 
forces, the people have no choice but to take up their own defense.
  This government has failed, and we are spending the precious blood of 
our sons and daughters to prop it up.
  The second way to achieve stability in Iraq is to compel a political 
solution. This resolution will do that. It deserves our support.
  Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King).
  Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, I would start out with the title of 
this, the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act. Positively Orwellian 
to name a resolution the Redeployment From Iraq Act. I have gone back 
and revisited George Orwell, and I can tell you this says, the Cut and 
Run From Iraq Act. And however you want to cut it, that's part of it.
  Then it says, be moved in a safe and orderly manner. And I'd like to 
know from the other side, was the helicopter lifting people off of the 
U.S. Embassy in Saigon, was that safe and orderly? Would that comply 
with your definition?
  Another point, we have in this Congress constitutional 
responsibilities and authorities with regard to war. The first thing we 
can do in this Congress is declare war. The second thing we can do is 
to raise an army and a navy, and the third thing is to fund it, not to 
micromanage it. This is another piece of micromanagement. This is 
another piece of moving us down the path towards what history will 
record as a defeat on the floor of Congress, not a defeat in the field 
of battle.
  Von Clausewitz said the object of war is to destroy the enemy's will 
and ability to conduct war. And we understand that if you don't have 
the will, it doesn't matter what your ability is. We're the only 
unchallenged super power in the world, and you're breaking down the 
will of the American people.
  Sun Tzu said it more simply. ``Supreme excellence in warfare lies in 
destruction of your enemy's will to resist an advance of perceptible 
hostilities.'' And yet the American people's will has been 
systematically undermined by the debate here on this floor, by the 
debate in the national news media. And I question, in the face of the 
opposition that we have to our will here in this country, if we ever 
can manage the effort to rise up and defend freedom with this kind of 
support that we lack.
  And then, when Mr. Price of Georgia lays out that the Defeatocrats in 
Congress are invested in defeat, the former gentleman from California 
rose up and squealed. And being the leading number one pork-producing 
district in America, I can tell you, when you throw a rock into the 
pigpen, the ones that squeal are the ones you hit.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, at this time I yield 1 minute to my friend, 
my colleague, a gentleman who is a member of the Armed Services 
Committee, Mr. Courtney from Connecticut.
  Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, last week, during my work period at home, 
my district office in Norwich was visited by a young Army enlisted man 
who had in one hand his orders for his fourth deployment over the last 
4 years. Over the last 4 years, he did two 1-year deployments in Iraq 
and one 7-month deployment in Afghanistan.
  In his other hand he held a bag of medication, anti-anxiety 
medication, including Zoloft, because of the post-traumatic stress 
which we got actually diagnosed from a treating psychiatrist a few days 
later, which confirmed that his deployments have taken him to the 
breaking point. That is the dirty little secret about this surge 
policy, which is that we've broken the ground forces of this country.
  This legislation crafted by Mr. Skelton, whose number one focus as 
chairman of the Armed Services Committee is always about raising and 
maintaining an armed force that can protect our national interest, is 
desperately needed, primarily for the people who have borne the 
disproportionate share of this war, which is the people who serve in 
our uniform and their families.
  It is easy for us to talk about commitment in this chamber. It's time 
to stand up for the real people who are sacrificing for that 
commitment.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my friend, my 
colleague, the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Tanner).
  Mr. TANNER. Mr. Speaker, I understand this or any administration's 
defensive posture when it comes to criticism of policy. And I 
understand the members of his party feeling the need to defend it. This 
interim report, ordinarily, I would be one who would wait until 
September. But this interim report that shows an appalling lack of 
progress on the political front in Iraq leads me to this conclusion.
  I was on active duty for 4 years during Vietnam, and I went down to 
Vietnam Wall the other night; 50-something thousand dead American names 
down there. We have now, 3,500-plus dead American names on the Iraq 
wall.
  And what was true then, to me, is true now. And General Petraeus 
himself said it not long ago when he said, military action is 
necessary, but any student of history recognizes that no military 
solution to a problem like

[[Page H7689]]

Iraq is there. Military action may be necessary, but it is not 
sufficient. There needs to be a political aspect.
  The political aspect, as reported in this interim report, shows this: 
Of the 275 members of the Iraqi parliament, over one-third are 
presently boycotting meetings. Over one-third of the ministers are 
boycotting the meetings. Two years after the Iraqi elections, the 
government there is dysfunctional.
  Now just listen to General Petraeus's words. We have to have a 
political aspect. And this present strategy, whether the surge works or 
not, is beside the point. These people are unwilling or unable to come 
together, after 2 years of a government, to work together to build any 
kind of civil society that we can support.
  I think that it is now time, with this interim report and the lack of 
political progress there, to send a message. Nobody's talking about 
precipitous withdrawal. What we are talking about is this Congress 
engaging with this administration to support the troops and help them 
from this morass.
  Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to inquire as to the time 
remaining on each side.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Ross). The gentleman from Arizona has 21 
minutes remaining, and the gentleman from Missouri has 73 minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Speaker, at this time I am pleased to yield 2 
minutes to the gentleman from California, the former attorney general 
of California, Mr. Lungren.
  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, since I consider 
the gentleman from Missouri such a stalwart Member of this House, and a 
friend, I rise not in anger but in sorrow as I oppose his amendment. I 
have profound disagreements with the specifics of this particular bill.
  I came to Congress, returned to Congress after 9/11 precisely because 
of 9/11, because I thought we needed, as a country, to respond to the 
threat of Islamofascism in an effective way and that we needed to 
recognize that our war against Islamofascism was a multi-fronted war. 
And one of the fronts of that war is Iraq. You can argue whether it's 
the number one front or not, but it is important. And I think everyone 
would agree. And what we do there is important. And how we act there is 
important. And when we withdraw, even though we call it a redeployment, 
that is important. It is a message that goes beyond Iraq. It goes to 
all of those who would do us ill in this world.
  And I can't understand, when we had General Petraeus look us in the 
eye just a couple of weeks ago and say to Members, I believe in my 
mission; I've told my men and my women that I believe in the mission; 
and if I didn't believe in it, I would tell you immediately because I'm 
not going to sacrifice men and women in vain. And he said, give me the 
time to do it. And we said, yes, sir, you have the time. And now we 
say, when he's over there with his men and women, we're not going to 
give you the time. We're going to second guess.
  I don't understand how you prosecute a war. One Member got up and 
said, let's end this war by passing this resolution. You end a war 
usually in America by winning, by defeating the enemy.
  We have this bill up now. We're going to have a bill up in another 
couple of weeks that's going to tell us we have to change the habeas 
corpus issue, we have to grant habeas corpus to unlawful enemy 
combatants, for the first time in the history of our Nation, putting us 
at a position that we never would have had in World War II. It would 
have crippled us during World War II.
  And then we're going to hear, close down Guantanamo. Let's look at 
this bill as just a piece of the approach that the other side is 
taking.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to my colleague, my 
friend, the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Lincoln Davis).
  Mr. LINCOLN DAVIS of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of 
this resolution. The responsible redeployment of our troops is a brave 
step toward a new direction for the war in Iraq. It will remove our 
troops from the most dangerous kill zones in Iraq and refocus our 
efforts toward defeating terrorism across the globe.
  The decision to redeploy is one that I have not come to lightly. This 
bill gives the President the power to maintain a military presence in 
the region while, at the same time, imposing the accountability the 
American people demand that we enforce.
  Four years into a difficult and prolonged engagement, I had hoped we 
would have seen better proposals for progress in quelling the violence. 
Throughout the course of our debate, whether on the air waves, Internet 
or in the halls of Congress, we've heard much of the supposed failures 
of our military goals. We hear often of continued strife and 
instability in the nation we sought to set free; of an Iraqi economy 
crippled by the trials of war; of parliamentary disputes, civil unrest 
and sectarian violence; and of a peace we all believe in that has yet 
to take place in Iraq.
  But these stories, however true, are only a portion of our efforts. 
They are the darkest side of our endeavors meant to do good and 
sinfully omit the triumphs and victories of our sons and daughters 
who've done a great service.
  For all that remains undone, our troops have accomplished a great 
deal. We brought free and open elections to a nation once shackled by a 
tyrannical regime. Iraq has experienced freedoms unimagined before, and 
Saddam Hussein was put to death for his crimes.
  It is in this vein that we must continue our presence in Iraq and 
Afghanistan, the greater Middle East and around the world, for it is 
essential to our security.
  As we prepare to redeploy our troops from Iraq, we must commit as 
well to remain ever vigilant in the face of terrorism. Whether they are 
threats to America and her allies, whether radicalism threatens the 
foundations of the natural freedoms we've sought so hard to prove, we 
must prepare ourselves to face those threats and bring their agents 
either to justice or a swift demise.
  We must continue our hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the instruments of 
al Qaeda. While I am behind the efforts to redeploy, our military must 
be equipped and prepared to protect American civilians, property and 
interests at home and abroad.
  As I prepared my case today on the merits of redeployment, I was 
reminded of a speech delivered by Congressman Abraham Lincoln on 
January 12, 1848, that railed against President James K. Polk of 
Tennessee for bringing our country to war with Mexico. Lincoln believed 
that Polk had stretched the facts to fit the case for war, just as many 
have expressed their belief here that our President stretched the truth 
about WMDs to make his case for war.
  President Polk's war with Mexico yielded the borders that stand 
today. Our nations endured the battle of Vera Cruz, the battle of 
Mexico City, but the results of the Mexican-American war remain, and 
our two countries live as partners in peace. The results of the war 
yielded positive results. History has favorably judged James K. Polk, 
just as history will judge this President.
  So as the President considers signing the order to redeploy, I hope 
he will. I implore him to consider the advice of Mr. Lincoln.
  Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Speaker, at this time I am pleased to yield 4 
minutes to the distinguished chairman of the Republican Study 
Committee, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hensarling).
  Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I 
thank him for his outstanding leadership on this floor and within the 
Republican Study Committee.
  Mr. Speaker, I'm very happy to come to the floor today and debate 
this resolution with my fellow members of the Republican Study 
Committee. But if press reports are to be believed, I am disturbed by 
the reason that we are here, and that is, is this a poll driven 
resolution?
  We all know that our Democratic colleagues now have one of the lowest 
congressional approval ratings in almost 50 years. We know they don't 
want to spend time on this floor debating how little has been achieved 
in their tenure, and perhaps they want to spend even less time talking 
about what they have achieved; the single largest tax increase in 
American history, a secret earmarking plan gone awry, and a spendorama, 
spending millions and millions on peanut storage, NASA and dairy 
products, put into a

[[Page H7690]]

bill to support our troops in harm's way.

                              {time}  1430

  Putting polls aside, why are we here? Make no mistake about it. What 
we are debating today is whether or not to declare defeat in Iraq, the 
battlefront in our war against radical Islam.
  Everyone knows that fighting this battle in Iraq is costly, but 
losing this battle in Iraq is even costlier.
  Mr. Speaker, sometimes life presents us with lousy options, but that 
is a reality with which we must deal. Iraq must be seen in the larger 
context of our war with radical Islam. The battle lines are drawn; and 
whether or not we like it, they are drawn in Iraq.
  Don't take my word for it. Take the word of Osama bin Laden: ``The 
epicenter of these wars is Baghdad. Success in Baghdad will be success 
for the United States. Failure in Iraq is the failure of the United 
States. Their defeat in Iraq will mean defeat in all of their wars.'' 
And we have to soberly reflect upon the enemy that we are facing. 
Listen to the number two in al Qaeda, al Zawahiri: ``Al Qaeda has the 
right to kill 4 million Americans, 2 million of them children.''
  Mr. Speaker, two of those children are my children. And I take this 
very, very seriously.
  Al Qaeda has further vowed to expel the Americans from Iraq. They 
have vowed that they will ``launch a jihad wave to the secular 
countries neighboring Iraq.''
  Again, this is the enemy we face and we face him foremost in Iraq. If 
we leave Iraq before subduing him, he will follow us here to our 
shores. And make no mistake about it. The consequences are immense. 
Read the National Intelligence Estimate. Read the report of the Iraq 
Study Group. Precipitous withdrawal declaring defeat will not end this 
war. Instead, it will make it worse. It will send it to neighboring 
countries. It may lead to genocide.
  Now, I have listened to the debate of my colleagues carefully. Some 
still complain about the decision to go in. It's a moot point. Many 
want to complain about mistakes or incompetence of 3 years, 2 years, or 
perhaps 1 year ago that may or may not be accurate. Today they are 
irrelevant.
  The question is what do we do now? We have a new commander. We have a 
new strategy. We have a report due in September. We have signs of hope. 
Let's give it a chance. There is too much at stake to declare defeat 
today.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Maryland, my friend (Mr. Gilchrest).
  Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Missouri for 
yielding.
  The question before us today is if failure in Iraq is not an option 
and staying the course is not working, what are our options? It is 
vital that we focus our attention this morning and this afternoon on 
that question, then formulate an integrated set of proposals that 
include the basic premise that a stable Iraq and a stable Middle East 
is in the vital interest of the United States and the international 
community, also taking into consideration here the military's 
assertion, through General Petraeus, that the war cannot be won with a 
military alone. An integrated set of proposals for an overall strategy 
then must include, which is in this bill before us today, diplomatic 
efforts, political efforts, economic efforts, social, humanitarian, 
cultural, and a military component. We must also garner the 
constructive engagement of all of Iraq's neighbors.
  When Nixon went to China, the domino theory of Vietnam became 
irrelevant. When Nixon went to China, there was a Sino-Soviet split 
that advantaged the United States. If we go to Iran, al Qaeda in Iraq 
will be irrelevant. If we go to Iran, the idea of a spread of 
terrorism, of those problems in the Middle East will be eliminated.
  The idea that this piece of legislation moves forward in the next 
step of the Iraq Study Group is, in my judgment, on the right mark. It 
is profound. And I thank the gentleman from Missouri for yielding and 
for bringing this legislation to the floor.
  Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Speaker, at this time I am pleased to yield 2 
minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Westmoreland).
  Mr. WESTMORELAND. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Arizona for 
yielding, and I want to thank the gentleman from Missouri for being an 
honorable gentleman during this tough time.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to start with a couple of warnings. First, I 
would suggest anyone on the Republican side shaking hands with the 
majority might want to be careful because they have been licking their 
fingers and sticking them into the political wind.
  Second, government opinion by polls may lead to short-term success at 
the ballot box, but in this case it could lead to a catastrophe on a 
global scale.
  We in this House best serve the United States, Iraq, and the world 
community if we establish conditions in Iraq that allow for a somewhat 
orderly transition to autonomy for Iraqis. A quick withdrawal from Iraq 
would set off a fuse that would eventually blow up not only Iraq but 
quite possibly surrounding countries as well.
  Iraq foreign minister on Monday warned against a quick withdrawal by 
the United States, saying, ``The dangers could be a civil war dividing 
the country, regional wars, and the collapse of the state.''
  Today when we talk about the Holocaust or when we talk about Rwanda 
or when we talk about the Sudan, we ask how could good people stand by 
and let this happen. It is an important lesson to remember as we pull 
out our voting cards today. Remember, we are trying to help. If we pull 
out of Iraq, we guarantee that the Tigris and the Euphrates will run 
red with the blood of innocents. We guarantee a safe haven for the 
training camps of al Qaeda. We guarantee more free rein for the death 
squads of Moqtada al Sadr. We guarantee a civil war between Shiites and 
Sunnis. We guarantee even more or worse instability in the region, 
perhaps for decades.
  No matter how we vote today, we are not going to stop the war. We may 
stop fighting, but we are not going to stop the war. As Indonesian 
jihadist leader Abu Bakar Bashir said, ``All Muslims should fight to 
create an Islamic state. There are only two options for Muslims, to win 
or to die.''
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to my colleague and 
friend, the gentlewoman from California, member of the Armed Services 
Committee (Ms. Loretta Sanchez).
  Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman 
for yielding.
  I rise today as a cosponsor of H.R. 2956, and although I support this 
resolution, I must express my sadness that it has come to this point.
  This President was wrong when he claimed that Iraq had weapons of 
mass destruction. He has had over 4 years. He has asked for more time, 
for more troops, for more surges. And regardless of what our military 
experts and our troops on the ground say, this President continues to 
claim that we are winning the war in Iraq.
  Mr. President, what reports are you reading? Whom are you listening 
to? Certainly not the reports that I have read or the military 
officials I have spoken to, who tell a very different story about what 
is happening in Iraq. To me it is with sadness that this Congress has 
to tell you that your war in Iraq is a failure and that we will not let 
you leave our brave men and women over there when you have no plan to 
allow them to succeed. We will not let them be targets any longer.
  History will show, Mr. President, that your war was a failure. But 
today the Congress stood up to you and said enough is enough.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my colleague and 
friend from the leadership, the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. 
Larson).
  Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Skelton for 
yielding me this time.
  They buried Andre Craig, 24 years old, last week. He died in the 
service of his country. His family held a press conference prior to 
that and said, he was exhausted.
  Mr. Skelton has put forward a piece of legislation, not a resolution, 
a bill that address the men and women in the armed services, that 
addresses the problems that they face on a daily basis in Iraq.
  There is a difficult choice today to be made. Our colleagues on the 
other side of the aisle are honorable people. They understand as well 
exactly what it is

[[Page H7691]]

like to go to a funeral service, to look into the eyes of these 
families, many who have been deployed three and four times, who are 
stretched to the maximum. You know what they are experiencing. It is 
hard to reconcile, because we know you are honorable people, the 
indifference that seems to lie in the choice between the blind loyalty 
to the worst foreign policy endeavor in the history of the country and 
the men and women who are there paying for it every single day. You are 
right, emotions run deep.
  How many more of these services will it take for us to face the truth 
and the facts? People have come to this floor and said, well, you know 
that the President is going to veto this. One thing we know for sure is 
where the President stands and what he has said he will do and how this 
will be passed on to another administration. But the thing here is what 
we will do, what you will do.
  Find your voice. Speak on behalf of the troops. Follow Ike Skelton.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my colleague, a member 
of the Armed Services Committee, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. 
Jones).
  Mr. JONES of North Carolina. I thank the chairman for this time.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 2956.
  For more than 4 years, our men and women in uniform have faithfully, 
skillfully served in Iraq. This legislation makes clear that the 
Government of Iraq must now be responsible for Iraq's future.
  Mr. Speaker, when Marine General ``Jack'' Sheehan, a former top NATO 
commander, declined to serve the White House as war czar for 
Afghanistan and Iraq, he stated his reasons for not accepting this 
position: ``The very fundamental issue is they don't know where the 
hell they're going.'' That is what Marine Corps GEN Jack Sheehan said. 
General Sheehan's statement is why the Congress and the administration 
need to work together to develop an end point to the war strategy in 
Iraq. It is time for Congress to meet its constitutional responsibility 
by defining what victory in Iraq will look like.
  Stay the course is not the answer. As Colin Powell said last week, 
``We have to face the reality of the situation that is on the ground 
and not what we would want it to be. It is not a civil war that can be 
put down or solved by the Armed Forces of the United States.'' Colin 
Powell, I quoted him. That is his statement.
  We are now in the 5th year in Iraq, and 3,611 Americans have died in 
the war. Mr. Speaker, to this date I have sent over 6,400 letters to 
the families and extended families of our men and women in the military 
who have lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, and every time I 
sign a letter, my heart aches.
  Chairman Skelton's plan provides a comprehensive strategy to maintain 
and advance the diplomatic, political, and economic components of 
United States national security interests in Iraq. It has taken this 
country in a direction that it needs to consider.
  Mr. Speaker, I close by reminding this Congress what Rudyard Kipling 
said in his writings known as ``Epitaphs of War,'' and we need to all 
be responsible for this, and this is my quote from him: ``If any 
question why we died, tell them because our fathers lied.''

                              {time}  1445

  Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Speaker, at this time, I'm pleased to yield 2 
minutes to the distinguished Member of the Republican Study Committee, 
the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Gresham Barrett.
  Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina. I thank the gentleman for yielding. 
And I hope the chairman of the Armed Services Committee knows how much 
I respect him and truly love this man.
  Mr. Speaker, I know of no other place than Washington, DC, where it's 
okay to look a man in the face, tell him we're going to give him the 
time, the resources and everything he needs to accomplish a mission, 
and then halfway through the process, say, oops, I'm sorry, time's up. 
We made a mistake. Mission over.
  No one person I know or have known executing this war on radical 
Islam has more credibility than David Petraeus, a gentleman who was 
confirmed unanimously in the United States Senate, but instead of 
giving GEN David Petraeus, a man whose boots are on the ground, a fair 
opportunity and allowing him the time he needs to better implement the 
plan and report back, we once again see legislators trying to 
micromanage this war. The problem is, we've turned this into a 
political war, a war where politicians are pulling the strings, not the 
man we said could do it.
  If anyone can pull this off, David Petraeus can. If any armed 
services in the world can be successful, the men and women of the 
United States Armed Forces can. But let them accomplish the mission. 
Let them continue to win. Let them bring us victory.
  In recent weeks, we've witnessed in Great Britain how real the threat 
remains. Whether we're talking about Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the 
enemy is there, the enemy is real; and to ignore the threat that they 
pose to this Nation is unconscionable.
  We owe it to our troops on the ground, to those who have served, to 
those who have died, and the American people to allow the plan General 
Petraeus developed to take effect.
  Mr. Speaker, the stakes are too high. Keep this country safe. Keep 
this country strong. Do the courageous thing. Vote against this 
legislation.
  Mr. SKELTON. I yield 1 minute to the chairwoman of the Subcommittee 
on Military Personnel of the Armed Services Committee, Mrs. Davis of 
California.
  Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of 
H.R. 2956.
  I just returned from Iraq. The trip was only a snapshot of what was 
happening on the ground, but I heard two messages: One, we need more 
time to train Iraqi troops and leadership; but two, progress is not 
evident. We are taking two steps back for every step forward. Our men 
and women are serving heroically, but it is clear our progress is 
limited, at best. So where do we go from here?
  Mr. Speaker, we need a plan that moves beyond the surge to a time 
frame that says we will continue to support Iraqis in a limited 
capacity but that we will redeploy the bulk of our forces within a 
prescribed period of time.
  We are all concerned about the impact our redeployment could have on 
our adversaries, and the region as a whole. However, the reality on the 
ground is that, whether it's in 6 months or 2 years, the size of our 
current force cannot be sustained. The true focus must be on how we 
disengage, how we and our allies work together to support our aims for 
a free and open society in Iraq.
  Our choices are bad, awful and worse. But this legislation, I 
believe, will move us a step closer to a day when Iraq's leaders and 
politicians can take back control of their country and our men and 
women can return home to their families and a grateful Nation.
  Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Speaker, at this time, I am very pleased to yield 
5\1/2\ minutes to the distinguished Republican whip, the gentleman from 
Missouri (Mr. Blunt).
  Mr. BLUNT. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and for the effort he 
and others are making on the floor here today.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer to this editorial today from the 
Washington Post which says, ``It seems like just weeks ago''--because 
it was that--``that Congress approved funding for the war in Iraq and 
instructed General David Petraeus to report back on the war's progress 
in September. Before Congress begins ordering withdrawals, they should 
at least give those generals the months they asked for to see whether 
their strategy can offer some help.'' Mr. Speaker, I think that, in a 
nutshell, sums up what we ought to be talking about today instead of 
what we are talking about today.
  I've heard this resolution referred to as a ``new way forward,'' but 
it doesn't provide a new way forward. It, frankly, serves no purpose in 
meeting the challenge that we face today with our totalitarian enemies.
  I'm told that, yesterday, in the House Appropriations Committee, 45 
minutes was spent debating whether cats should be declawed before they 
were allowed into public housing; 45 minutes to decide whether cats 
should be declawed in public housing, and by the way, that committee 
decided they should, and no minutes spent to talk

[[Page H7692]]

about this bill. No hearing on an April 1 deadline. No outside 
testimony on a bill that was quickly put together to serve a purpose 
of, I believe, changing the subject of the failure of this Congress to 
get its other work done back to a subject that is obviously creating 
stress in America today, and that is, what do we do about the 
totalitarian enemies we face and their lack of appreciation for 
innocent human life?
  Commanders in the field say that a responsible deployment from Iraq 
would take at least a year. Maybe that's why we didn't have a hearing 
on how long it would take to responsibly and safely leave Iraq. There 
was no testimony from the military about an April 1 deadline. In fact, 
I can't even find any evidence of any consultation with the military 
about an April 1 deadline.
  And what does ``limited presence'' on page three of this, what does 
that mean? What does ``limited presence'' mean? I suppose it means 
whatever it needs to mean when you go home and explain why you voted 
for the bill, because it doesn't mean anything. Limited presence means 
nothing, and it's a key criteria of this approach.
  The same people who say we went into Iraq without a well thought-out 
plan now want to leave without a plan at all. And that's what is wrong 
with what we're talking about today.
  Let's go back to page three of the bill itself. The President is 
supposed to report back in January things like the projected number of 
armed forces necessary to carry out the missions. The projected annual 
cost of the missions. The projected duration of the missions, I guess 
to suggest that there really aren't going to be missions if you leave 
April 1 if you've been on the other side of this issue up to now, if a 
few weeks ago you were for giving the generals in the field up until 
September, and now you're for deciding what we're going to be doing in 
April without knowing what that September situation is about.
  And it goes on, on page 3, to talk about whether it's necessary, I 
guess defining the missions, whether it's necessary to have Armed 
Forces to carry out the following missions; protecting United States 
diplomatic facilities and United States citizens, including members of 
the Armed Forces who are engaged in carrying out other missions. You 
can pretty much make this, I guess, whatever you want it to. Serving in 
rolls consistent with customary diplomatic positions. Engaging in 
actions to disrupt and eliminate al Qaeda and its affiliated 
organizations.
  Now, we're going to decide, apparently the President should decide in 
January whether that continues to be an important thing, or whether 
training and equipping members of the Iraqi Armed Forces continues to 
be an important thing.
  Where was the effort made to determine the impact on al Qaeda 
worldwide, or to determine the impact on Hezbollah or other agents of 
terror and how that would affect our security in the United States if 
we precipitously leave one more time, if we precipitously leave without 
a plan?
  Only a few weeks ago, again, as others have verified all over the 
country in editorials today, I and others stood on this floor and said, 
our troops deserve a funding bill without strings and without 
congressional pork. Today, I'm here to say that they deserve a chance 
to carry out their mission without looking over their shoulder all the 
time to see what the Congress of the United States is about to do next.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlelady from 
Texas, Eddie Bernice Johnson.
  Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, 
and thanks to Mr. Skelton, the outstanding Congressman from Missouri.
  I rise to support H.R. 2956. If we could stop this war today, it 
would please my constituents. And if we could do it without more 
violence, I would be picketing to do it.
  All of us know, that have any common sense, that we cannot bring the 
troops home today, but we can develop a good strategy to make sure that 
they get the message in Iraq that we are coming home. We still have 
150,336 troops over there. Are we going to stay until they all get 
killed?
  We talk about how many have lost lives. I was a nurse in the 
Veterans' Administration for 15 years, and I saw the damaged lives of 
these veterans coming home from war. What are we doing for ourselves 
and the future? This is not a partisan issue, this is an issue that 
saves America.
  Mr. Speaker, the most recent report from the Department of Defense, 
states there are 150,336 brave American troops in the middle of a 
violent civil war in Iraq.
  Meanwhile, the President has repeatedly made it clear that nothing 
will discourage him from pursuing a war that has no end in sight.
  Congress cannot and should not keep waiting for the President to 
change course.
  We must change the course ourselves, 2008 must be a year of 
transition in Iraq. Iraq has to grow out of the shadow of the United 
States.
  Iraq needs to take responsibility for its own decisions, learn from 
its own mistakes, and find its own solutions to its own problems.
  Recently, the Iraq Study Group suggested that the time has since 
passed when one country alone could work alongside the Iraqi leadership 
to steer Iraq's future.
  Rather, as the report says, ``the United States should immediately 
launch a New Diplomatic Offensive to build an international consensus 
for stability in Iraq and the region.''
  This recommendation is perhaps the last- best hope for war weary 
Iraqis and Americans alike.
  Mr. Speaker, our brave men and women are serving with great honor in 
Iraq. Their service has paved the way for a democratic society.
  It is time for the Iraqi government to stand up, so our troops can 
begin to stand-down.
  I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
  Mr. SKELTON. I yield 2 minutes to my colleague, my friend, the 
gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Van Hollen).
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I thank the distinguished chairman of the Armed 
Services Committee.
  Mr. Speaker, two separate headlines on the front page of today's 
Washington Post tell the sad story of two of the Bush Administration's 
biggest national security failures. First, its disastrous Iraq policy, 
and second, its failure to complete the mission against al Qaeda and 
the Taliban along the Afghan/Pakistan border.
  One headline reads, ``CIA Said Instability Appeared Irreversible.'' 
The article describes how, on the same day last November, the Baker-
Hamilton commission received two starkly different portrayals of what 
was happening in Iraq. One came from President Bush, who portrayed a 
rosy picture, and the other came from the man who President Bush put in 
charge of the CIA, General Hayden, who was responsible for providing a 
clear-eyed analysis based on cold facts. And what he reportedly told 
the commission was, and I quote, ``Instability of the Iraqi Government 
was irreversible.'' Irreversible, he said.
  These starkly different portrayals of the situation go to the core of 
our problems in Iraq because the President has been in a state of 
denial. Happy talk is no substitute for a reality-based policy. And 
indeed, the President's decisions based on wishful thinking have led to 
decisions that have weakened our national security.
  Yesterday, the U.S. intelligence experts confirmed the gloomy 
assessment that General Hayden made last November, and today's report 
to Congress confirms that the Iraqi Government has failed to make 
sufficient progress in key areas of national reconciliation.
  The other headline on the front page of the paper today on Washington 
Post reads, ``U.S. warns of stronger al Qaeda and describes al Qaeda's 
growing presence and strength along the Afghan/Pakistan border and 
reveals the consequences of our failure to complete the job against al 
Qaeda in that area.''
  Mr. Speaker, we must insist that the Iraqis assume greater 
responsibility for their own future, and we redouble our efforts 
against those who did attack us on September 11, 2001. That's what this 
bill is about.
  It's time to change direction. I urge my colleagues to adopt this 
bill.
  Mr. SHADEGG. I note the gentleman cited the Washington Post. I wonder 
if he has read the editorial today which says that we should be giving 
our troops at least until September.
  Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time I have remaining?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Arizona has 5\1/2\ 
minutes remaining.
  Mr. SHADEGG. I thank the Speaker.
  I'm pleased to yield 2 minutes to a distinguished member of the 
Republican Study Committee, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrey).

[[Page H7693]]

                              {time}  1500

  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I want to take my 2 minutes to apologize to 
a few families from my district for having to listen, once again, to 
the Democratic leadership bringing forward a cut-and-run policy when 
these families have given their loved ones in this sacrifice.
  I apologize to the Johnson family of Armuchee, Georgia, who 
sacrificed their son, Justin. I apologize to the Saylor family from 
Bremen, Georgia, who gave up their son, Paul. I apologize to the 
Clayton family of Marietta, who misses dearly their son, Captain Hayes 
Clayton. To Carey and Sally Brown, of Atlanta, I apologize to you for 
the loss of your son, Tyler. From my wife's hometown of Newnan, 
Georgia, I express my regret to Robert Stokely for the death of his 
son, Mike. Finally, I apologize to the widow of Jack Hensley from 
Marietta, a beheaded contract worker.
  Mr. Speaker, what an appalling thing to do to these families, whose 
sons gave the last full measure of devotion defending liberty and 
fighting the terrorist Islamic extremists, to pull the rug out from 
under them and say: We are not going to give victory a chance. We are 
not even willing to wait until September. I think that it is appalling. 
I am ashamed of the Democratic leadership. I apologize to these 
families from my district who have given so much.


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All Members are reminded to direct their 
remarks to the Chair and not to others in the second person.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Lee), a friend and colleague.
  Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, first let me thank Chairman Skelton for 
yielding, but also for his commitment to our Armed Forces, as the 
daughter, Mr. Skelton, of a 25-year Army veteran who loves you dearly 
and thanks you for supporting our troops.
  As a cofounder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, I rise in support of this 
bill. The President has dug us deep into a hole in Iraq. By setting a 
clear timeline for the redeployment of United States troops, we are 
standing with the American people to stop the digging. If we are to 
climb out of this deep hole, we are going to have to make sure that 
when our troops come home that they all come home. That means no 
permanent bases. It means ending our blind commitment to arming and 
training Iraqi security forces. It also means that come September, we 
must use the power of our purse, and we must begin to fully fund the 
safe redeployment of our young men and women and our contractors out of 
Iraq.
  The civil war in Iraq is raging within the very security forces we 
are arming and training. Our weapons and expertise are being used for 
sectarian violence and for killing Americans and Iraqi civilians. This 
policy only further endangers our troops and fuels a civil war.
  We must end the Bush administration's failed policy in Iraq. It has 
failed. We must reconsider this blind commitment to arming and training 
Iraqi security forces.
  Let us support our troops, and I mean support our troops in a real 
way, by bringing them home. This is the will of the American people. 
That is the goal of the Out of Iraq Caucus. That is in the national 
security interests of our country.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the chairman, once again, for his 
leadership and for yielding.
  Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Speaker, at this time it is my privilege to yield 
the balance of our time to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra), 
a member of the Republican Study Committee and the ranking member on 
the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. I thank my colleague from Arizona for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, as I listen to the debate today, I end up having a lot 
of more questions than I have answers. I have a question as to whether 
my colleagues on the other side of the aisle believe that the threat 
from radical jihadism is real or not. Have they read the latest 
Zawahiri statement, ``Advice of One Concerned,'' where he goes on to 
say in the statement, a global system, whose center and heart is the 
United States and the European Union? As for the rest of the states of 
the world, they are the outlying states.
  It goes on to say, the strategy of al Qaeda, the only way to confront 
them, the core states, according to al Qaeda's theory, is by taking the 
war from the outlying states to the central states, in which case the 
damage and consequences of this damage will all take place in the 
central states.
  Have they not read the other documents that come from al Qaeda that 
talk about what their strategy is? Their number one goal and objective 
is to defeat the United States and the coalition in Iraq, then to move 
out into the region and destabilize the other countries in the region, 
eliminate the State of Israel, establish the caliphate, Southern 
Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, stretch down into Asia and 
then establish Sharia law.
  Do my colleagues on the other side of the aisle believe that radical 
Islam is a threat to the security of the United States and our allies, 
or not? If they don't, perhaps pulling out of Iraq is a good strategy. 
If they do believe that radical jihadism is a threat to the United 
States, if they do believe that looking at the reports in London, in 
Europe that radical jihadists actually have attacked in those places 
and that they may be attacking in the United States or planning to 
attack in the United States, the question becomes, if you are not 
willing to fight the threat of radical jihadism in Iraq, where will you 
engage radical jihadism, in other parts of the Middle East? Should we 
deploy our troops to other parts of the Middle East? Maybe we should 
just write off the Middle East and deploy into Northern Africa or into 
Western Europe, or maybe what we should do is bring them all home and 
redeploy them here in the United States, because they will follow us 
home.
  So the question is, if you do believe it is a threat, where and when 
will you confront the threat that we face? Others have pointed it out. 
I have taken a look and read this resolution. I encourage all of the 
American people to read this bill. What does it say? Very, very little. 
It says that we will commence reductions of our troops. Commence 
reductions.
  Exactly how many do you want to commence reducing? 100? 5,000? 
50,000? Then by April 1 there will be a plan for a limited presence. 
What is ``limited presence''? There are some that would say that the 
number of troops we have today is a limited presence, because they may 
not be enough to get the job done. But the bill doesn't define where we 
go. This is no plan.
  If this is the way forward, we are in big, big trouble, because it 
doesn't recognize the threat and it doesn't have a plan as to how we 
are going to move forward.
  But there are other things that this Congress should be debating. As 
our minority whip said, we debated for 45 minutes as to whether cats 
should be declawed before moving into public housing.
  The previous question that was defeated earlier today would have 
enabled us to deal with a real issue, and that is the modernization of 
FISA, our ability to listen to radical jihadists in other parts of the 
world as they are communicating their plans and intentions. Today, 
there is a massive loophole in FISA for radical jihadists who are 
outside of the United States to communicate, and our intelligence 
community is prohibited from listening to them. We provide them the 
full protection of American law, even though they are not United States 
citizens, even though they are outside of the United States, and even 
though they are radical jihadists. Let us fix this problem, and let's 
make sure that we fix it before we go home in August. We should have 
done it today.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to my dear 
friend and colleague from California (Ms. Waters).
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Chairman Ike Skelton 
for getting us to this point today, 1,581 days, 53 months, over 4 years 
since this President led this Nation to war in Iraq; 3,600 American 
soldiers killed, 27,000 American soldiers seriously injured, 60,000 to 
100,000 Iraqis killed; $10 billion per month, $500 billion American 
dollars spent on this war.
  A civil war is raging in Iraq; there is no credible government in 
Iraq; Iraq is

[[Page H7694]]

totally destabilized and Iraq refugees are flooding into neighboring 
countries; there is no coalition of the willing supporting the U.S. in 
this war; and we are well on our way to destabilizing the entire Middle 
East.
  President Bush and the chief architect of this war, Vice President 
Dick Cheney, are in denial about the disastrous mess they have created. 
Some of us have known for quite some time this war must end. Barbara 
Lee, Lynn Woolsey and I and several other Members of Congress created 
the Out of Iraq Caucus over 2 years ago. We organized this caucus, but 
we were dismissed as bleeding heart liberals.
  It has taken too long to get to this point we are at today. This bill 
will at least demand a strategy to get us out of Iraq and a deadline 
will be set. This has been a long time in coming.
  However, Mr. Speaker, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. 
President Bush will apply all kinds of pressure, threaten, mislead, 
spend us blind and continue to pursue this immoral war, unless we 
decide that we are not going to fund this war anymore.
  In the words of the people on the street who are organized against 
this war, Mr. President, not another nickel, not another dime, not 
another soldier, not this time.
  Vote for this bill. It is a good start. And remember, in the final 
analysis, we have got to defund this war.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from California (Mr. Hunter) 
controls 40 minutes.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
North Carolina (Mrs. Myrick).
  Mrs. MYRICK. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 2956. 
The battle in Iraq has left many of us frustrated, and rightly so. 
Progress is not as fast as most of us would like it to be.
  Some in this House believe that we have lost the war and should 
withdraw immediately. Okay, so what happens then? We leave, then what? 
Does al Qaeda leave us alone? Can we disband the Department of Homeland 
Security? Can we announce that the threat from radical jihadism has 
ended?
  These are the questions that aren't being discussed. Why? Because the 
answers are difficult. We need a long-term strategy that goes against 
the political pandering that is preventing us from achieving long-term 
national security.
  As cochair of the House Antiterrorism Caucus, I have heard warnings 
that a withdrawal will only embolden al Qaeda and other radical Islamic 
jihad groups. They will carry out more suicide bombing attacks, behead 
more innocent Iraqi people, intimidate and suppress and ultimately 
recruit peace-loving Muslims around the world to their cause. And what 
happens to those Muslims who resist the radical jihadists? They will be 
killed.
  This is not just my view. This is what the Islamists have been 
saying, and, more importantly, doing for the past few years. Muslims in 
the Middle East do not have freedom of religion and expression, as we 
do here. And while it is convenient to blame America for the problems 
in the Muslim world, we are afraid to place the blame on those who have 
caused those problems.
  I believe passage of this bill will be a huge mistake in our long-
term national strategy and security interests, and it must be defeated.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to my friend 
and colleague from Ohio (Mr. Wilson).
  Mr. WILSON of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, this legislation provides a plan for 
responsible redeployment of our troops. This is the time to set a new 
course. Setting a date certainly gives the Iraqis the incentive to 
actually work to meet some benchmarks.
  Our military men and women are among our most precious resources. 
They are performing admirably with courage in a situation that they 
never should have been asked to be in in the first place. They are 
doing their job. Now we must do ours. We must bring them home.
  On a recent trip to Walter Reed to visit a seriously wounded marine 
from my district in Pomeroy, Ohio, I saw again the damage this war has 
done. Not just to this young man, but to his family also. They have all 
put their jobs and their lives on hold to care for him.
  His courage and conviction are not in question. That marine would go 
back to Iraq tomorrow if we asked him to. We must not ask. How much 
more blood should be shed? How many more families must we shatter? 
Enough is enough.

                              {time}  1515

  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield at this time 5 minutes 
to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Saxton). The distinguished 
gentleman has been the chairman in the past of the Terrorism 
Subcommittee and is an expert on special operations.
  Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise with great respect for the chairman of the Armed 
Services Committee and the author of this bill, but with strong 
opposition to H.R. 2956.
  Mr. Speaker, the short title of this bill is the ``Responsible 
Redeployment from Iraq Act.'' But, Mr. Speaker, this bill is not 
responsible. It is irresponsible. This bill is an irresponsible 
political act that will put our troops in danger and will result in 
catastrophic consequences for the United States, for the Iraqi people, 
for Israel, for the greater Middle Eastern region, and for the rest of 
the world.
  As The Washington Post said in this morning's paper, this bill is 
being considered today for ``reasons having more to do with American 
politics than with Iraqi reality.''
  We must oppose this bill for numerous reasons, but let me mention 
just three. First, this bill fails to highlight the consequences of 
reducing our force levels too early. Such consequences would have a 
devastating effect on Iraq, would embolden al Qaeda in Iran, and would 
have severe security impacts on Israel and throughout the Middle East.
  Al Qaeda and its proxies are engaged in a jihad against the United 
States and against the West. Al Qaeda's second in command, al Zawahiri, 
reaffirmed in a July 4 speech an al Qaeda plan to use Iraq, Afghanistan 
and Somalia for jihadi planning and training against us.
  Second, instead of putting forward legislation that offers an 
alternative to the plan being implemented by General Petraeus and 
Ambassador Crocker, this political ploy calls for a vague ``troop 
reduction'' to be a ``limited presence'' in a ``safe and orderly 
manner'' within 120 days; but it fails to define any of these terms.
  Specifically, this bill does not define what ``limited presence'' 
means. Does it mean 50,000 troops or 100,000 troops or 137,000 troops? 
What is a limited presence? No one knows. This is not a serious bill; 
it is a political bill.
  Third, the bill requires the President to address whether it is 
necessary for our Armed Forces to carry out missions such as, listen to 
this, protecting diplomatic facilities and U.S. citizens, whether it is 
necessary to carry out acts like acting to disrupt or eliminate al 
Qaeda, or if it is necessary to carry out acts including training and 
equipping members of Iraqi security forces. Let me ask my friends on 
the other side of the aisle, for goodness sake, what else would we do 
there?
  It is illogical to ask whether these missions are necessary and only 
proves once again that this bill is a political tool and not an 
alternative plan.
  There are also two other points that my colleagues should consider. 
First, the situation in Iraq is not conducive to a force reduction. As 
an example of why this is true, the British have indicated their intent 
to draw down and have pulled back to the Basra airport. And as a 
result, Basra is now in the center of a power struggle between Shiite 
elements and tribal leaders over control of oil and political power. 
Local governance control has fractured along militia lines because of a 
British redeployment like the ones we are talking about in this bill.
  Second, we need to remind ourselves of what happened in Beirut and 
Afghanistan when forces precipitously withdrew there. In October 1983, 
our Marine barracks in Beirut was bombed by Hezbollah with support from 
Iran. We withdrew our Marines in February 1984, and by that April, the 
remainder of the peacekeeping force had followed. That civil war 
continued until 1990 and Hezbollah emerged as a much stronger force, 
which to this day threatens the West. We should ask ourselves: Could 
the U.S. have prevented the rise of Hezbollah and the influence of 
Tehran

[[Page H7695]]

had we not had a precipitous withdrawal like the one provided for in 
this bill?
  Second, in the 1980s, the Afghan resistance built momentum by 
recruiting Muslim fighters to wage jihad against the Soviets. The 
Soviet withdrawal of 1989 was followed by a civil war and the collapse 
of the government. The Taliban rose in 1993 and gained control of 
Afghanistan.
  In 1996, bin-Laden moved to Afghanistan where he forged an alliance 
between al-Qaeda and the Taliban. What followed were al-Qaeda attacks 
on the WorId Trade Center, Khobar Towers, the embassies in Kenya and 
Tanzania, the USS Cole, and then September 11th. My colleagues, ask 
yourself this: ``Could the U.S. have prevented the rise of al-Qaeda by 
responding to these threats?''
  I want to urge my colleagues to keep in mind that the world is 
watching how the United States handles this tough challenge in Iraq. If 
we concede defeat and retreat, we will send a strong message of 
weakness and inability to remain committed to our allies and to our 
enemies.
  Tom Friedman noted in the New York Times this week that our 
withdrawal will mean ``more ethnic, religious and tribal killings 
across Iraq,'' adding, ``it will be one of the most morally ugly scenes 
you can imagine, no less than Darfur.'' The Post today also stated that 
a withdrawal will result in a ``full-blown civil war, conflicts 
spreading beyond Iraq's borders, or genocide.'' Picture the Iraqis who 
have helped us, picture them watch as we prepare to leave and picture 
them clinging to our vehicles in fear of their very lives as we start 
down the road from Baghdad.
  I believe this reckless abandonment of the mission in Iraq would send 
a clear message to the Iraqi people, our allies, and potential partners 
around the world that Americans are weak and cannot be trusted. In this 
world of transnational terrorism and proliferation we can not afford to 
stand alone.
  It is critical that we give General Petraeus the months we gave him 
to implement his strategy, and I urge my colleagues to vote against 
this dangerous bill. In this case national security should trump 
national politics.


                Announcement by the Speaker pro tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair reminds all Members to direct 
their remarks to the Chair, and not to others in the second person.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to an 
energetic new Member, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hare).
  Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Responsible 
Redeployment from Iraq Act.
  On January 10, President Bush announced an increase of more than 
20,000 troops in Iraq. Six months later, it is clear that the 
President's surge strategy has yielded no positive results, and Iraq 
continues to remain a battleground for sectarian violence and a hotbed 
for terrorist activity.
  But in spite of the realities on the ground, the President seems 
intent on further digging in his heels on a failed policy that has 
placed targets on the backs of our troops as they attempt to referee a 
civil war. In the 6 months that I have served in Congress, the 17th 
Congressional District of Illinois has mourned the lives of six brave 
soldiers. In the absence of any visible progress, we can no longer 
stand by as more of our troops come home in body bags.
  Mr. Speaker, President Bush started this war without a plan to win 
the peace. For the sake of our troops, our national security and our 
credibility around the world, this Congress must do what this President 
refuses to do in order to return stability to Iraq. I urge my 
colleagues to support this bill.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield 2 minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from Texas (Mr. Thornberry).
  Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Speaker, as I read this resolution, I can't help 
but think ``there they go again.''
  With approval ratings of Congress near record lows, the majority 
leadership searches the polls for any issue they can use to political 
advantage. Unfortunately, their attempt to improve their standing comes 
at the expense of troops on the ground and our country's security.
  Of course the American people are concerned about the course of 
events in Iraq. Of course they mourn each loss. Of course they want our 
troops to come home as soon as possible. Of course they do, because we 
all do.
  But responsible leadership does not permit pandering to polls and 
understandable emotions without facing up to the real consequences of 
the vote. And by the way, putting the word ``responsible'' in the title 
of a bill does not make it so. It is an understandable, though I 
believe misguided, position to require an immediate withdrawal of 
forces from Iraq. This resolution, though, is an attempt to play 
politics with the issue and avoid responsibility for the consequences 
that come from its aftermath.
  Requiring withdrawal on a congressionally mandated timetable abandons 
those who have worked with us, invites chaos and more death in Iraq and 
increases the risk to our security here at home. No one should be able 
to stick his or her head in the sand and ignore those consequences.
  Mr. Speaker, I am concerned that what goes on in this Chamber with 
resolutions like this is encouraging to our adversaries and makes the 
job of our troops on the ground even harder than it needs to be. How 
can it possibly be responsible to declare failure when all of our 
troops have only been in Iraq for just about exactly 1 month today. 
This struggle and the broader war against radical Islamist terrorists 
will require the best of us, and that requires doing our constitutional 
duty. This resolution is far from the best we can do.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I yield to a very thoughtful colleague, the 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Price), 2 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 
2956, which would compel a responsible exit of U.S. troops from Iraq.
  I voted against giving the President the authority to go to war in 
Iraq. Two years ago, Brad Miller and I introduced legislation to 
terminate the authorization and to require of the President a 
comprehensive exit strategy. The President has responded to calls for 
change by stubbornly adhering to a failed strategy that has cost our 
Nation dearly in blood, treasure and moral authority. He has rejected 
Congress's constitutional role in determining policy, and he has 
ignored the will of the American people. This obstinate, irresponsible, 
destructive course must not continue.
  Now, the President has put great stock in the recent surge in U.S. 
forces, but the surge seems mainly to have shifted the locus of the 
fighting. The intent was to create space for Iraq's political leaders 
to make the hard choices that will lead their country forward, but 
those hard choices are not being made. We can no longer leave our 
foreign policy at the mercy of sectarian and political forces we cannot 
control.
  A mission of simply biding time, at great cost in blood and treasure, 
is not one that we can or should support. We must begin to bring our 
troops home.
  Yet, as I and many others have repeatedly argued, it not only matters 
that we leave Iraq, but it also matters greatly how we leave. We cannot 
afford the same mistakes that the Bush administration made in entering 
Iraq, without a plan for protecting troops, for managing consequences 
or for giving the Iraqi people every possible chance to succeed.
  Therefore, the bill before us would provide the discipline of a 
timeline to the Bush administration for beginning and completing the 
termination of combat operations and the redeployment of our troops. It 
would also compel the development of a comprehensive strategy for 
managing the redeployment and addressing the challenges that Iraq will 
continue to present after our troops are gone.
  Mr. Speaker, the continued presence of 160,000 American troops in 
Iraq is not sustainable and does not serve our national interest. It is 
time not merely to urge but to require a change of course. This 
legislation does just that, and I urge its passage.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from Pennsylvania (Ms. Schwartz).
  Ms. SCHWARTZ. Mr. Speaker, today President Bush, as required by 
Congress, has reported on progress made by the Iraqi Government on 
political and military benchmarks. He reported that the Iraqis have not 
accomplished any of these goals.
  It is time, in fact past time, for the Iraqis to take control of 
their own future. It is time for the Iraqis to move forward, resolve 
their internal conflicts and begin the process of national 
reconciliation.
  More than 3,600 Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring 
freedom

[[Page H7696]]

and democracy to Iraq. Our military has performed exceptionally; for 
that and for their sacrifices, our Nation will be internally grateful.
  But without progress by the Iraqis themselves, there is little more 
that our military can do. And despite the stubbornness of our President 
to stay the course, it is time for us to bring our troops home.
  I am proud to be with the majority in Congress and across America in 
supporting this responsible plan to redeploy our troops, set a new 
course in Iraq, and lead our Nation towards greater security here at 
home and across the world.
  I rise in support of the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act and I 
stand in support of a change in strategy for U.S. involvement in Iraq: 
one that sets a timetable for prompt and safe withdrawal of our armed 
forces.
  For many of us on the House Floor today this is not the first time we 
have voted for such a change, or demanded a new plan from the 
President.
  In March, we voted to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, improve troop 
readiness, and demand accountability from the administration. The 
President vetoed our plan.
  In May, Congress enacted specific political and military benchmarks 
for the Iraqi government. By tying the goals to funds for military 
action in Iraq, we made it clear that progress is a prerequisite for 
continued assistance by the United States.
  Today, President Bush, as required by Congress, reported on progress 
made by the Iraqi government towards those benchmarks. He reported that 
the Iraqis have not accomplished any of these goals.
  More than 3,600 Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring 
freedom and democracy to Iraq. Our military has performed 
exceptionally. They removed a government hostile to the United States 
and took responsibility for providing enough stability to enable the 
Iraqi people to establish their own free and independent government. 
For that and for their sacrifices, our Nation will be eternally 
grateful.
  Yet, as the war enters its fifth year, sectarian violence and failure 
of political progress has put our troops in a more and more threatening 
and dangerous situation. This volatility and the President's surge 
strategy have increased U.S. and Iraqi casualties and injuries.
  It is time --well past time--for the Iraqis to take control of their 
own future. It is time for the Iraqis to move forward to establish an 
effective system of government, to resolve their internal conflicts, 
and to begin the process of national reconciliation. Without these 
actions by the Iraqis themselves, there is little more our military can 
do. It is time--well past time--for us to bring them home.
  On behalf of the American people, we are seeking to do just that. 
Today we will vote once again to end our military involvement on the 
frontlines in Iraq and bring our troops home despite the stubbornness 
of our President to stay the course.
  It is my hope that that Republicans will join us in supporting this 
responsible plan to redeploy our troops and to press the President for 
a new course in Iraq. As Democrats, we will lead this country towards a 
more responsible--more strategic path--to end our military involvement 
in Iraq. In so doing, we remain committed to protect our nation, our 
people and our strategic interests at home and around the world.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Cole).
  Mr. COLE of Oklahoma. Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose this bill because 
it is the wrong debate at the wrong place at the wrong time; and most 
importantly, it sends the wrong message.
  It is the wrong debate because it serves no useful purpose. We know 
this bill will never become law. If it passes, it will be vetoed, and 
that veto will be sustained. We are wasting the time and trying the 
patience of the American people for no useful purpose.
  It is the wrong place because it is what happens in Iraq, not here, 
that will determine the outcome of the current struggle. Our forces and 
those of the Iraqi Government are in a tough fight. We should reinforce 
them, not undercut them, and we should encourage the Iraqi Government, 
not abandon it.
  It is the wrong time because it is too early to debate the outcome of 
the current effort in Iraq. I have great respect for the author of this 
bill, but it is General Petraeus's report and assessment that should 
guide our deliberations in this body. He has asked us to wait until 
September before he offers us an assessment of the progress and 
prospects of the current effort. Having given him a tough job, we owe 
it to him to adhere to the timeline he has requested.
  It is the wrong message, most importantly, because it strengthens 
rather than weakens our enemies.

                              {time}  1530

  They know they cannot defeat our forces, but they can and they do 
believe they can outlast this Congress. This debate and this bill will 
only strengthen them in that belief.
  By strengthening our enemies, we undercut the best efforts of our 
forces, the forces of Iraq and the Iraqi Government. The best way to 
undo the damage that this bill has already done is to defeat it, and I 
urge my colleagues to do so.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, might I inquire how much time is left on 
our side?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from New Jersey has 49\1/2\ 
minutes remaining. The gentleman from California has 29 minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to yield 1 minute at this point 
to one of our very focused new Members, the gentleman from Connecticut, 
Mr. Chris Murphy.
  Mr. MURPHY of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for 
yielding.
  For all that we disagree on here today, we agree on one thing: We all 
want a stable, independent Iraq. What I can't understand is how anyone 
can still believe that our continued, open-ended military intervention 
there will lead to a stable nation. In fact, it's doing the opposite.
  The Iraqi Parliament and ministries are in unprecedented disarray. 
The President's own report to Congress will say that we haven't met any 
of our political benchmarks there, and an estimated 13,000 Iraqis are 
dead since the escalation began.
  The fact is, as someone much wiser than I said, the Iraqis today are 
paying wholesale rather than retail for their political decisions. So 
long as we are the military bodyguard for every major Iraqi political 
group, so long as we are subsidizing the political decisions of Iraqi 
political leaders, they will never make the difficult political 
concessions necessary to create a stable society there.
  I support this bill, Mr. Speaker, because not another American 
soldier should die for a strategy that is unfathomably making Iraq less 
safe and less stable.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman who 
started the Iraq Study Group, the gentleman from Virginia, the very 
distinguished Mr. Wolf.
  (Mr. WOLF asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. WOLF. Mr. Speaker, I rise against the resolution, and I rise in 
support of the Iraq Study Group.
  Most Americans favor the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. In 
fact, most Members of this body also favor the Iraq Study Group, but 
all would favor its consideration. I have asked the Rules Committee on 
three different occasions to make the Iraq Study Group recommendations 
in order, and I have been denied.
  Let me say that we ought not blindly follow the White House, nor we 
ought not blindly follow the Democratic leadership in Congress. The 
American people have a very low opinion of this institution, as Mr. 
Thornberry just said, because all they see us doing is attacking, 
dividing, and using political rhetoric.
  The American people want us to come together. A majority of your side 
have said they support the Iraq Study Group. A majority of my side have 
said they support the Iraq Study Group. Lee Hamilton, Jim Baker, Leon 
Panetta, and Ed Meese have done an outstanding job. They have 41 
experts of all political views that have come together.
  This body ought to be voting and debating the Iraq Study Group and 
not a resolution that is preordained that it will be vetoed.
  Let's come together. Let's bring it up for a vote, but to blindly 
follow the White House or to blindly follow the Democratic leadership 
that will not give this up, we will continue to have the lowest opinion 
poll this Congress has ever had. The American people deserve better. 
The men and women who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve 
better, and their families deserve better.

[[Page H7697]]

  The 79 recommendations of the Iraq Study Group provide a 
comprehensive blueprint for dealing with the war in Iraq. Its 
conclusions were the result of consensus, and most people favor 
implementing the bipartisan panel's recommendations.
  Members of the administration, albeit anonymously, have been quoted 
as saying the ISG is the way to go. Members of the military have looked 
favorably on the report. And so have both sides of the aisle here in 
Congress.
  H.R. 2574, which would codify the recommendations of the report, and 
whose lead sponsor is a Democrat, has 58 cosponsors. 34 Republicans are 
on the bill; and there are 24 Democrats.
  Look who served on the panel: Jim Baker, Lee Hamilton, Lawrence 
Eagleburger, Vernon Jordan, Ed Meese, Leon Panetta, Sandra Day 
O'Connor, Chuck Robb, Alan Simpson and Bill Perry. Secretary Gates 
served until being appointed Secretary of Defense.
  The panel took nearly 9 months to come up with its 79 
recommendations--which were all agreed to unanimously.
  The ISG met with military officers, regional experts, academics, 
journalists and high-level government officials from America and 
abroad.
  Congress should have opportunity to debate--and discuss--the merits 
of the Iraq Study group's recommendations.
  It is not adequate to just blindly follow the whims of the White 
House or the Democrat Leadership in Congres. We need to be working 
together toward building a consensus on this issue rather trying to 
score political points.
  The American people expect more. The men and women serving in uniform 
deserve more. So do their families.
  They want to see us the Congress, the administration and the nation 
working together; not fighting each other.
  Implementing the 79 recommendations of the Iraq Study Group is the 
one thing we can do that could have an impact.
  I have tried three times now to get this Congress to adopt the 
recommendations of the ISG. Each time my efforts have been rebuffed by 
the Rules Committee. If we had acted back in January, we wouldn't be 
here today. I realize the war has created a bitter divide in our 
country. The ISG allows us to come together.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to my friend and colleague 
from Washington (Mr. Inslee).
  (Mr. INSLEE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker, the best way to stop a disastrous war would 
have been not to have started it, but the American people know that, it 
having been started, we did have a moral obligation to the Iraqi people 
to give them a reasonable chance to form a government. But after 4 
years, after 3,600 lives, after $450 billion of American money sunk 
into the sands of Iraq, that moral obligation has been fulfilled in 
spades.
  Now we have a moral obligation to our sons, a moral obligation to our 
daughters, a moral obligation to our husbands and wives. The moral 
obligation to Iraq has been completed. The moral obligation to our 
families now needs to be honored, and it could only be honored by 
passage of this resolution.
  Now, people have said that we can't just leave; we need a way 
forward. There is only one way forward to security, to reduce the 
threats from the Mideast, and that is to break our addiction to oil 
from that region of the world.
  Take one-half of the $80 billion and put it in energy efficiency, 
we'll give you security. Pass this resolution.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased at this time to yield 1 minute 
to the chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, the gentlewoman from 
New York (Ms. Velazquez).
  (Ms. VELAZQUEZ asked and was given permission to revise and extend 
her remarks.)
  Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2956. We 
must support and protect our troops, and the best way to do that is to 
bring them home.
  The American people want the troops out of harm's way. The White 
House has not met its own benchmarks, and with this resolution, the 
Iraqi leaders, for once, will know that we mean business.
  Mr. Speaker, the pain and suffering felt because of this war is 
unconscionable. New York has lost over a 150 brave young souls; yet, 
for this President, there's no ending to this war.
  There is a smarter way. Under H.R. 2956, our troops start to come 
home in 120 days. Over 70 percent of Americans want us out of Iraq. 
Democracy is about elected officials listening to the people. Democracy 
is what we are trying to teach Iraqis, how to run their own democracy. 
By voting to bring our troops home, we can show them.
  The American people want this war to be over. Put your faith and 
trust in them. Choose democracy. Choose a way forward. Vote for this 
resolution.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased at this time to yield 1 minute 
to a leader on our foreign policy issues, the gentleman from California 
(Mr. Schiff).
  (Mr. SCHIFF asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, when the President announced in January that he intended 
to escalate the number of American troops in Iraq, he sought to betray 
the increase in American combat forces as a necessary precondition for 
Iraq's government to make the political compromises necessary to 
prevent Iraq's civil war from spiraling completely out of control. In 
that speech, the President pledged to hold the Iraqi leadership 
accountable and to demand progress in two main areas: political 
reconciliation and security.
  Now, more than 6 months later, it's unfortunate but also undeniable 
that little sustainable progress has been made on either front. Even as 
we speak, the administration is downplaying the significance of an 
interim report on the effect of the surge in Iraq.
  On the security front, the heroism and sacrifices of American forces 
has caused a drop in sectarian killings, leading to an overall drop in 
the number of Iraqi deaths, but the reduction of Iraqi casualties has 
come with a horrific increase in the loss of our own troops. More than 
600 Americans have been killed since January.
  Moreover, as American troops leave cities that are quieted with their 
own blood, there is every indication that Iraqi troops will not be able 
to sustain the calm. If the past is any indicator, insurgents and 
militias are merely waiting for us to exhaust ourselves and move on 
before returning, and Iraqi security forces will be powerless to stop 
them.
  When President Bush announced in January that he intended to escalate 
the number of American troops in Iraq, he sought to portray the 
increase in American combat forces as a necessary precondition for 
Iraq's government to make the political compromises necessary to 
prevent Iraq's civil war from spiraling completely out of control.
  In that speech, the President pledged to hold the Iraqi leadership 
accountable and to demand progress in two main areas: political 
reconciliation and security.
  Now more than six months later it is unfortunate, but also undeniable 
that little sustainable progress has been made on either front. Even as 
we speak, the Administration is downplaying the significance of an 
interim report on the effect of the ``surge'' in Iraq.
  On reconciliation, the Iraqi Government has failed to meet any of the 
political benchmarks endorsed by the President in January and which 
this Congress mandated earlier this spring. These political goals are 
the best indicator of the prospects for reconciliation in Iraq and, 
tragically, all signs indicate that political reconciliation has been 
non-existent.
  The Iraqi Parliament has yet to begin consideration of the oil law or 
an associated revenue-sharing law. Given the disparate geographical 
distribution of Iraq's oil reserves, these laws are essential if Iraq 
is to have any hope of remaining a united country.
  More alarming, is the lack of progress in healing the Sunni-Shiite 
rift. Of greatest importance, is the need to reverse some of the more 
draconian edicts of the postwar de-Baathification orders promulgated by 
former Coalition Provisional Authority chief Paul Bremer. These decrees 
removed any incentive for Sunnis to participate in creating a better 
future for Iraq. Other laws--to disarm militias and to grant amnesty--
are still being formulated, and most observers believe that the 
prospect of disarming militias is so remote that it will not be 
possible in the foreseeable future.

  On the security front, the heroism and sacrifice of American force 
have caused a decline in sectarian killings and suicide bombings, 
leading to an overall drop in the number of Iraqi civilian deaths. But 
the reduction of Iraqi casualties has come with a horrific increase in 
the loss of our own troops--more than 600 Americans have been killed 
since January.
  Moreover, as American troops leave cities they have quieted with 
their own blood, there is every indication that Iraqi troops will not 
be able to sustain the calm. If the past is any indicator, insurgents 
and militias are merely waiting for us to exhaust ourselves and move

[[Page H7698]]

on before returning--and Iraqi security forces will be powerless to 
stop them.
  There has been one very positive development--in al Anbar province, 
Sunni tribal leaders have decided that al Qaeda's indiscriminate 
killing makes them a bigger problem than we are, and they have taken up 
arms against our common foe. This alliance of American forces and 
former insurgents is desirable and should be encouraged elsewhere. But, 
like most marriages of convenience, it is not sustainable and cannot 
form the bedrock of a secure Iraq or reconciliation among Iraqi sects.
  For almost two years, I have been calling for a change in our mission 
in Iraq--from policing a civil war to training, containment and 
counter-terrorism. This necessitates a responsible redeployment of our 
combat forces from Iraq, and I believe that this bill does an excellent 
job of providing a framework for that redeployment, while still giving 
our armed forces the flexibility that they need to respond to 
contingencies.
  Iraq's future must be decided by the Iraqi people and that solution 
must come from political reconciliation. Every day that we maintain our 
forces in the crossfire between warring sects is another opportunity 
for hatreds to harden and radicals to consolidate their grip on Iraq's 
ethnic and sectarian communities. We should change our mission now, and 
begin the withdrawal of our combat forces.
  In planning for the inevitable withdrawal, we must recognize that a 
poorly executed departure could result in an escalation of civil war 
violence as Iraqi sects compete for power. As we draw down our forces, 
we must make every effort to prevent a magnification of this 
catastrophic violence. In particular, we must not compound the error of 
the lack of pre-invasion planning, with an equally tragic failure to 
adequately anticipate the post-occupation environment.
  Mr. Speaker, it is long past time to begin to end the war in Iraq. I 
support this bill and urge its passage by the House today.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, at this time I'm pleased to yield 1 minute 
to a former member of our Armed Services Committee, my friend and 
colleague from Rhode Island (Mr. Langevin).
  (Mr. LANGEVIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, over the recess I had the opportunity to 
have several public hearings back home, and Iraq was one on everyone's 
mind. The overwhelming consensus was that we need a new strategy in 
Iraq, a view shared by national security experts and illustrated by 
continued violence in the region. Today, we can chart a new path so 
that we can finally bring our troops home.
  Americans know the Bush strategy isn't working, and today's Iraq 
status report confirms the lack of progress. The Iraqi Government has 
failed to promote political reconciliation, and our military is paying 
the price. Our troops have done a superb job, but they were not sent to 
Iraq to referee a civil war.
  Today's bill requires our military to start redeploying out of Iraq 
within 120 days, to be completed by April 1, 2008. We will not abandon 
Iraq, but we must implement a new strategy based on political, economic 
and diplomatic initiatives.
  I want to thank Chairman Skelton for his leadership on this measure, 
and I urge all my colleagues to support it.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, at this time I'm pleased to yield 1 minute 
to a member of the Appropriations Committee, the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Moran).
  Mr. MORAN of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend from New 
Jersey.
  I rise in support of this bill. I can't believe the argument in 
opposition to this bill, that we should continue to stay the course, 
because this is the policy that has led us in the wrong direction for 
four straight years. This has been the worst foreign policy fiasco in 
American history.
  Now we're being told that we're there to fight al Qaeda. There were 
no al Qaeda in Iraq when we went into Iraq. Saddam had nothing to do 
with 9/11. Now there are about 5,000 there out of a population of 26 
million.
  We have trained hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Many of them we've 
given them more training than we've given our own troops.
  This policy is not worthy of the sacrifice of our troops and their 
military families. It's leading us down a dead-end street. It's time 
that it was changed.
  Mr. Speaker, we are told that we need to train the Iraqis more. All 
we are doing is equipping and training them in order to kill each other 
in a civil war that I'm afraid is going to be inevitable.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, at this time I'd like to yield 2 minutes to 
the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Franks), a distinguished member of the 
Armed Services Committee.
  Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, just today, while debating this new Iraq withdrawal 
bill, reports continue to surface that al Qaeda is now restructuring 
its power.
  Like several other recent actions on the part of Democrats recently, 
this bill communicates to jihadist enemies that we are weakening and 
confirms their belief that they have a critical advantage over free 
people in the world because their will is far stronger than ours and 
they need only to persevere to break our resolve.
  Osama bin Laden himself has stated, ``The whole world is watching 
this war and the two adversaries. It's either victory and glory, or 
misery and humiliation.''
  Mr. Speaker, if Democrats continue to insist that the war in Iraq has 
nothing to do with the war on terrorism, then I wish they would explain 
that to the terrorists because they still don't understand, and they 
are continuing to be fundamentally committed to the destruction of the 
Western world and to killing us wherever they find us.
  Mr. Speaker, the premise behind this bill is that we can have peace 
tomorrow so long as we are willing to surrender today. Unfortunately, 
with jihadist terrorism, just the opposite is true. If we surrender to 
terrorism today, it will only bring greater horror and suffering to all 
of humanity tomorrow.
  So vital questions arise to those who would continue to demand that 
we surrender Iraq to terrorists. Are they also willing to allow the 
citizens and families of this Nation to face jihad and what may become 
a nuclear jihad here at home? And what will we tell our children when 
that day comes?
  Mr. Speaker, defeating radical jihad in Iraq and throughout the world 
will require the support, perseverance, patience, wisdom and prayers of 
the American people. But for the sake of those people and for our 
children, for our future generation and for people across the world who 
still hope for freedom, I pray that the Members of this body would heed 
that warning echoing down through history.
  There is no substitute for victory.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to my friend and 
colleague, the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer).
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy.
  It's not too early. It's too late, too late because the President's 
party has enabled these disastrous policies. And listening to some on 
the other side of the aisle, there are people still disconnected from 
reality.
  But each day their congressional support is slowly crumbling as 
evidence mounts of the costs of failure. It's not just 10 billions of 
dollars a month. It's more lives lost and thousands of hopes and dreams 
shattered.

                              {time}  1545

  Even those of us who opposed this from the beginning understand that 
300,000 American soldiers and contractors cannot leave overnight. But 
that's no excuse not to start now, as rapidly and as responsibly as 
possible, to get our people out of crossfire of what is now a religious 
civil war. Our soldiers have done all that they can do and can be 
expected of them.
  I call on the doubters to join us in supporting the strongest most 
direct measure possible, not just to send the President a message, but 
rein him in and bring our soldiers home from this nightmare.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to my friend and 
colleague, the gentlelady from Oregon (Ms. Hooley).
  Ms. HOOLEY. I thank my colleague.
  Mr. Speaker, today is not cause for celebration, nor is it a time for 
high rhetoric. Instead, today is a moment of conscience. Hundreds of 
billions of dollars have been spent, 3,600 of our best and brightest 
have been called upon to sacrifice in the unforgiving sands of Iraq.
  When in a hole, it is best to stop digging. We must make plans to 
protect those we can best protect, to institute a rational response 
capability

[[Page H7699]]

within the region. But first we must make immediate plans to disengage 
ourselves from Iraq.
  I urge my colleagues to find consensus on this issue. We owe it to 
the brave men and women that have sacrificed and will continue to 
sacrifice until we find and implement resolution.
  Once we have disengaged ourselves from the Iraqi civil war, maybe, 
with patience, dialogue and an open ear, we may find new relationships 
within the Middle East to help our partners secure the peace we have 
thus far found so elusive.
  Let us renew our commitment to finding a solution for Middle East 
conflict. It is time we used our heads and hearts rather than fists and 
force.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in voting once again for changing 
course in Iraq.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to our 
thoughtful friend and colleague from the State of Georgia (Mr. Scott).
  Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, let me just very briefly outline 
exactly what we are after in this bill.
  First of all, this is a responsible effort for redeployment so that 
we can refocus and fight the war on terror. The situation in Iraq is a 
civil war compounded by civil wars that have been going on ever since 
Abraham, Hagar, Sarah, Isaac, Ishmael, Esau, Mohammed and his son-in-
law, which has broken into the Shi'as and the Sunnis; hundreds of 
thousands of years, folks.
  None of the people from Iraq came to this country and asked, please 
come over and pump in $500 billion, 3,600 of the lives of your precious 
sons and daughters to make a democracy for us. That was a decision that 
was made counter to the authorization in the first place. It was a go 
against weapons of mass destruction.
  It is responsible. It is focused. We need to do it, and I urge 
passage of this bill.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Shuster).
  Mr. SHUSTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I spent the Fourth of July recess traveling to Pakistan 
and to Iraq.
  I came away with a couple of observations. First in Pakistan, our 
allies in the war on terror, the Pakistanis, have great concern about 
an early withdrawal from Iraq, because they saw first hand, after the 
defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, when America left that 
region, left Afghanistan to uncertainty and chaos, what happened was 
the rise of the Taliban, an extremist group, that then gave basis to al 
Qaeda to be able to plan and plot the 9/11 attacks on America.
  So the Pakistanis are extremely concerned about an early withdrawal. 
Our allies around the world are concerned. The word of America is at 
risk. Our allies are watching what we do here in the United States 
Congress and what America does.
  Second, traveling to Iraq, I came away with some positive reports, 
not only from our commanders, but listening to the Iraqi general, who 
is in charge of the national police. He said that the Shia, the Sunni 
and the Kurds have come together as Iraqis, standing up a national 
police force that's fighting to throw out the negative elements that 
are in Iraq today. They are standing shoulder-to-shoulder, the Shia, 
Sunni and Kurds. Our folks also told us that they need more time to 
train the police, the security of the Iraqis.
  Talking to our soldiers was the most powerful information I came away 
with. One of the sergeants in our Special Forces told us something very 
significant. Right about now, he is saddling up, he is getting ready to 
go out on a dangerous mission in Iraq tonight to either kill al Qaeda 
to take down a production facility for IEDs. He said to me, he said to 
the group of us that was there, we cannot leave Iraq prematurely 
because chaos will ensue, and what we will find is that the terrorists 
will be in the streets of America.
  So listening to that powerful statement from somebody who is putting 
his life on the line, every single night, that's powerful information. 
Those are powerful words.
  We have to allow this surge, not just to last for 3 weeks, but to go 
for 3 months. Let it go. Let us vote down this resolution.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to the 
distinguished chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, my friend 
from California (Mr. George Miller).
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong 
support of Chairman Skelton's bill to bring American forces home from 
Iraq and to begin to end this tragic war, a war borne of lies, 
ignorance and arrogance. The cost of this war has been high to our 
country, to our economy but, most importantly, to our men and women in 
uniform, for they have taken all of the sacrifice for our President's 
decision to take this country to war in Iraq.
  Our military responded honorably to the President's decision, but he 
failed to honor their sense of duty and their courage with a plan that 
was designed to succeed. His failed policy has cost their families, 
their communities, and most tragically, it has cost them their limbs 
and their lives.
  The war in Iraq cannot be won, and it cannot be lost. It can only be 
brought to an end. The President continues to display both sheer 
arrogance and tragic ignorance as he refuses to change policy. Over and 
over again, it says the same thing, to stay the same course, to give 
them more time and that success is just around the corner.
  The American people realize that staying the course in Iraq was not a 
plan, and it is not going to work. I have known, as many of my 
Democratic colleagues have, that staying the course is not acceptable. 
We honor our troops when we have the courage to bring them home and end 
this war.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased at this time to yield 1 minute 
to my friend and colleague, a Member of the Ways and Means committee 
from the State of Michigan (Mr. Levin).
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, one of my colleagues suggested earlier that 
debating the war as we are today is breaking the will of the American 
people.
  On the contrary, it's the people's will that is breaking down the 
wall of a tragically mistaken policy. It has become painfully obvious 
that the White House is incapable of changing course in Iraq.
  The Bush administration's talking points about the situation change 
from week to week, but the fundamental strategy remains the same. The 
President has determined our troops will remain in Iraq no matter what. 
The reality is that the government of Iraq is not meeting the 
benchmark.
  Six months into the surge, there is no indication that the Iraqis are 
coming together to make the political decisions necessary to end the 
sectarian violence that's tearing the country apart. They are unlikely 
to do so as long as the U.S. military commitment remains open-ended.
  We need to change course. Support this bill.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time is left 
on our side?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from New Jersey has 38\1/2\ 
minutes remaining.
  The gentleman from California has 23 minutes remaining.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to one of 
our thoughtful new Members from Florida (Mr. Mahoney).
  Mr. MAHONEY of Florida. I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, I am rising today in support of the Responsible 
Redeployment from Iraq Act. The time has come to stop this senseless 
policy of using our brave men and women in uniform as cops policing a 
religious civil war, and it's time for our country to rededicate 
ourselves to winning the war on terror.
  The data is in. The facts are irrefutable in and the conclusion 
clearly demonstrates that the President's continued resolve to engage 
in nation building in Iraq has made America weaker and has put our 
Nation in greater peril from terrorist attack. It is time that we stop 
asking our brave sons and daughters to give the ultimate sacrifice in 
support of the President's failed policies.
  It is time for the President to listen to his own advisors and the 
American people. It is time for the President to admit mistakes he has 
made and for him to show leadership by changing direction. It is time 
for the President to

[[Page H7700]]

honor our service men and women by rebuilding our military and by using 
our finest fighting force the world has ever known to bring Osama bin 
Laden to justice, to search out and destroy terrorists and to punish 
the nations that support terror.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to the 
distinguished Member of the Ways and Means committee, our friend from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Neal).
  Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, our men and women in the 
military have done everything that has been asked of them, and it's 
time for a new direction.
  The reason we're here is because the Republican party never asked a 
question of the administration for all those years, not one question. 
They forfeited their oversight responsibilities.
  Remember the briefings in the well of this House; we know where the 
weapons of mass destruction are; according to the Secretary of Defense, 
they are in south Baghdad; we were going to be welcomed as liberators; 
the insurgency, as the Vice President stated it, is in its last throws; 
and finally, mission accomplished? Now we hear: But just give us more 
time. Stay the course.
  If we had asked some questions here along the way, and not been 
subservient to the White House, we wouldn't find ourselves where we are 
today, funeral upon funeral, 26,000 Americans wounded. Yet we are told 
by the White House, just give us more time for this policy to take 
root.
  How much more time? Vote for this resolution.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to Mr. Pearce, the 
gentleman from New Mexico.
  Mr. PEARCE. I thank the gentleman from California for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, we are told today that it's time to refocus on the war 
on terror. Yet as I read this bill, and I would encourage each one of 
you to go online and read H.R. 2956, I see no refocus on the war on 
terror.
  I see nothing in H.R. 2956 which describes the threat from radical 
jihad. I see no plan.
  We are told that we need to communicate with the White House, that we 
need to send a bold message to the President. I am sorry, he's right 
down the street. It's the people who are causing terror, worldwide 
terror, that the communication needs to be sent to.
  Now, I can't tell you exactly what our troops are feeling as we 
debate these measures.
  I can tell you that I was in Vietnam flying missions in Vietnam at 
the time that Jane Fonda gave aid and comfort to our enemy, and a time 
that this Congress was withdrawing support from that war. And I can 
tell you what soldiers at that time felt. They felt dismay. They felt 
betrayal. They felt like we had been led down a path.
  If this were really an attempt by our majority party to deal with the 
situation that they are concerned about, it should have an immediate 
withdrawal date. But it lacks that because it's a political tool rather 
than an attempt to refocus on the war on terror.
  I can tell you that it does not ask key questions, key questions 
like, how will unilateral withdrawal prevent al Qaeda, Hezbollah and 
other terrorist operatives already in Iraq from establishing robust 
training facilities from which to plan and execute additional strikes 
against the United States?
  It fails to answer the question that both Israel and Jordan have 
asked when they said that unilateral withdrawal, much like the 
Democrats' plan, would have a devastating consequence on their 
countries and the region as a whole.
  What impact will our unilateral withdrawal from Iraq have on the 
safety of regional allies, such as Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, 
Kuwait? Those questions go unasked and unaddressed in H.R. 2956, 
because this is not a plan to refocus the war on terror. This is a plan 
to withdraw and hope that we can retreat home without anyone following 
us.
  It just won't happen that way. The terrorists will come with us as we 
retreat.
  I urge defeat of H.R. 2956.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to our friend and 
colleague, the hard-working new Member from Tennessee (Mr. Cohen).

                              {time}  1600

  Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, back in February when this Congress started 
the 110th, there was a proposal up here, a resolution that passed with 
mostly Democrat support, very few Republicans, to say we supported the 
troops but we opposed the surge or the escalation. Since that time, we 
have put 20,000 or 30,000 more troops into Iraq, and since that time we 
have had some of the deadliest months that we have incurred in this 
failed war in the Middle East.
  As time has gone on, we have seen Senators Voinovich; Lamar Alexander 
from my home State; Lugar; and others on the Republican side in the 
Senate come forth and say we need a change of direction. The 
handwriting has been on the wall in both cloakrooms. The handwriter got 
to the Democratic cloakroom a lot sooner than apparently the handwriter 
got to the Republican cloakroom. Either that, or the optometrist hasn't 
made it over to the other side. But the handwriting is on the wall, and 
in the interim there are American men and women dying needlessly. Over 
3,600 have died; many, many, many, many more casualties, and the cost 
to this country will be great.
  While I was home during the home workweek, I saw a lady who told me 
her son has been at Desert Storm. He was still in the military. He had 
been in Iraq once before. And she told me he told her, Mother, I am 
proud to fight for my country. I have done it twice. But there is no 
purpose over there, there is no reason to be over there. We need to 
come home. I have heard it over and over and over again from the 
mothers of the soldiers who come home with testimony to our failed 
foreign policy.
  How many, how many, how many more must die? How many more limbs must 
be lost before the handwriting on the wall in the Republican cloakroom 
is read? I ask you to look in your own hearts. Think of the soldiers as 
your children, they are your constituents, and help redeploy them. We 
are not saying in this proposal that we come home entirely. We keep 
troops for certain causes.


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All Members are reminded to direct their 
remarks to the Chair and not to others in the second person.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I yield to my friend and colleague, the 
gentleman from California, Mr. Mike Thompson, 1 minute.
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Speaker and Members, our strategy in 
Iraq isn't working. It wasn't working 3 years ago, and it won't be 
working another year from now. This isn't about defeat; it is about 
reality.
  Our troops have done a fantastic job. But to risk more lives, more 
wounded, and to spend more than the half trillion dollars we have 
already spent far exceeds any gain we can expect.
  The best thing to do is to get our troops out, and get them out 
immediately, and to make the Iraqis take control of their country. But, 
today, I will vote for this bill which is a realistic shift in strategy 
that every Member should be able to support.
  Our focus should be on protecting our home front, stabilizing 
Afghanistan, and stamping out terrorism across the globe. And we need 
to start looking ahead by developing a containment plan to keep Iraq's 
civil war from spilling over into other countries throughout the 
region. Mr. Speaker, that is the only way to achieve victory.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentlelady from Virginia (Mrs. Drake).
  Mrs. DRAKE. A March 2007 Los Angeles Times editorial posed the 
question: ``Do we really need a General Pelosi? Too many lives are at 
stake to allow Members of Congress to play the role of Eisenhower or 
Lincoln.''
  How unfortunate that less than a month after the fifth and final 
brigade of this surge effort has arrived in Iraq we sit here once again 
prepared to put bad politics in front of sound policy and undercut that 
mission, putting the lives of our troops, our coalition partners, and 
millions of Iraqis at risk.
  Once again, the leadership of this institution wants to play general, 
so it chooses to circumvent the committee process to rush a hastily 
written piece of legislation to the House floor, one that has no chance 
of becoming law.

[[Page H7701]]

And so the question that I and many Americans have is: Why?
  You can find the answer in today's Washington Times. According to 
this body's majority leader, we are here because ``if we don't do 
anything, these groups,'' meaning MoveOn and affiliates, ``will feel 
like we haven't done anything.''
  So that's it. We are here to appease MoveOn.org. Where is the policy? 
Where is the plan? Are we to believe that this bill will bring an end 
to violence in Iraq? Are we to believe that our withdrawal will make 
our Nation or the world any safer? Thus, politics replaces policy. We 
are a Nation at war against Islamic terrorists who have no intention of 
giving up the fight. We must defend this Nation. We cannot afford to 
play politics. This legislation carries no plan for securing Iraq or 
the Middle East, only politics.
  Mr. Speaker, we have authorized our military to execute this surge 
and to report to us in September on its status. Why should we cut the 
rug out from under them now? Our troops will not give up on us; let's 
not give up on them. I urge rejection of this resolution.
  Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield to one of the leaders 
of our 30-something younger members, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
Meek), 3 minutes.
  Mr. MEEK of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my good 
friend from the Garden State.
  It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, and I will point to this L.A. Times 
editorial since now the L.A. Times is an authority on this issue. The 
newspaper said it reluctantly endorsed the U.S. troop surge when it 
began. But at the bottom it says: ``We feel that the time has come now 
for us to leave Iraq.'' That is the L.A. Times.
  I also want to point out another thing as we talk about this 
redeployment, a responsible redeployment, the act that is up before the 
House right now that we are considering. I just want to make sure the 
Members of the House know exactly what they are doing, because when 
they get back home in their districts and they start talking to the 
heroes and sheroes that have been deployed two to three times and talk 
to Americans about why they can't meet the needs that they have to meet 
here domestically, I want them to reflect on this:
  I want them to look at the fact that you have $120 billion a year 
that we are spending in Iraq; per month, $10 billion; per week, $2.3 
billion; per day, $329 million; per hour, $13 million since we have 
been here on the floor, Mr. Speaker; per minute, which I only have two, 
$228,000. And you have to look at per second, as I take a breath, 
$3,816.
  Also, I want to point out to the Members here, Mr. Speaker, the last 
time we passed a measure on behalf of the men and women in harm's way 
and to send the message to the Iraqi Government, they can go on 
vacation and they don't meet and they don't do the things that we have 
put forth as benchmarks that they have to meet in a bipartisan way, 
then why should we reward bad behavior?
  And I have this picture here, Mr. Speaker, of when the President 
called a lot of the Members of the minority here in this House down to 
the White House and they had a meeting and the President came out, 
mikes and everything, not one Democrat here, saying that we stand with 
the President, this is what the minority president said: ``We stand 
with the President in not overriding his veto.''
  I want to know, Mr. Speaker, how many times the Members of the 
minority party are going to go down to the White House and stand on the 
schoolhouse door of allowing us to move in a new direction. The 
American people are way ahead of us on this issue.
  I am so happy that Chairman Skelton has brought this to the House 
floor. I am hoping that we have a bipartisan vote on it. I am 
encouraging every Member of the House, and I do mean every Member of 
the House, even my good friends on the other side of the aisle, to vote 
for a commonsense new direction. And I think that is very, very 
important as we look at this responsible redeployment act.
  Once again, it takes courage to be a Member of the House. It takes 
also leadership to be a Member of the House. And some of us have to go 
see the wizard and pick up both of those values that we all hold and 
that we should hold. So I encourage you to cast an affirmative vote on 
the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield to Dr. Gingrey, the gentleman from 
Georgia, 3 minutes.
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the ranking member for 
yielding. He would make a great Commander in Chief.
  Mr. Speaker, I also want to salute my close friend and chairman of 
the Armed Services Committee, Chairman Ike Skelton. I hold him in the 
highest regard and I admire him dearly, though I must oppose his bill 
and encourage my colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. This bill does not seek to clarify 
our objectives or a path to victory. It does not offer an alternative 
to the current plan being implemented by General Petraeus and 
Ambassador Crocker.
  Nowhere to be found are any new ideas or solutions or any talk of 
curbing violence or compelling political reconciliation. Why? Because 
there is no pressure on the Democrats to put forth any meaningful 
ideas. They know that this bill is dead on arrival. The President has 
vowed to veto it, and rightly so. This is a defeatist measure that 
serves only to placate the Democrats' liberal base.
  Mr. Speaker, a few things about this plan immediately jump out to me. 
According to this legislation, a date certain withdrawal is to commence 
120 days after the enactment of this bill. So why then does the bill 
wait another 2 months before asking the President to formulate a 
strategy? It is like asking a quarterback to throw Brother Ben passes 
until the offensive coordinator can come up with a game plan.
  Essentially, this bill says that after our troops have packed their 
bags and have begun to come home, or maybe to deploy to Okinawa per the 
Murtha plan, then we will receive this master plan detailing how to 
provide for the security interests in Iraq.
  As a physician, that is akin to calling a patient in for surgery 
before you have done the exam, yanking somebody's heart out before you 
have inspected the coronaries. In short, Mr. Speaker, it is a recipe 
for disaster.
  Mr. Speaker, the last troop surge deployed just 3 weeks ago, hardly a 
significant time period for us to be here today judging the plan. 
However, I do believe Congress should engage in an ongoing, rational 
dialogue outlining the expectations of both our troops and the Iraqi 
Government and the security forces. Nobody is here suggesting that we 
shouldn't. And we will do it in September when we get the Petraeus 
report based on that report. But, Mr. Speaker, we cannot capitulate to 
extremist views and sinister plans, which is what this bill would do by 
sending a message to the terrorists that capitulation begins in 120 
days.
  I urge my colleagues, oppose this bill.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
South Carolina, who is the chairman of the Budget Committee and also a 
senior member of the Armed Services Committee, a friend, my colleague, 
Mr. Spratt.
  Mr. SPRATT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution.
  I will be frank to say that I think the time lines are too tight, the 
details are too sketchy; but I recognize this resolution for what it 
is. It is not a general order or master plan for the redeployment of 
our troops in Iraq. This is simply a way to frame the debate with the 
President over how we can most effectively reduce and redeploy the 
170,000 troops now on duty in Iraq. We are, after all, in the 5th year 
of this war.
  So far, 3,611 Americans have given their lives, 27,000 have been 
wounded in action. We have spent $450 billion through May, and continue 
spending now at a rate of $10 billion a month. Had we the foresight 3 
years ago, 4 years ago to see these costs, the War Powers Resolution 
would not have secured 100 votes in this House.
  Opponents of this resolution claim that we are encroaching on the 
powers of the President as the Commander in Chief. Those who think that 
should read the resolution and read it carefully.
  First of all, it does not call for an immediate withdrawal. It allows 
4 months for the reduction in forces to begin. Second, it does not call 
for withdrawal at all. It calls for a reduction of the

[[Page H7702]]

number of troops deployed or transition to a limited mission. Third, it 
spells out the limited missions. These include force protection, 
diplomatic protection, pursuit of terrorists, training of Iraqi forces. 
The resolution, far from interfering, defers to the President, allows 
the Pentagon to decide just what is the minimum force level for the 
mission it specifies, provided it justifies its decision.
  For the past 3 years, the President has assured us that we would 
stand down American troops as soon as Iraqi troops stood up. Well, that 
is essentially what this resolution does; 135 Iraqi battalions have 
been trained. Many may lack things like logistics to make them 
freestanding fighting units, but surely this is a capacity we can 
supply over the next 6 months or even longer through embedded advisers 
who will remain after April 2008.
  This resolution sends the Iraqi troops the message that we are not in 
their country, Iraq, indefinitely, and that the day is fast approaching 
when they must take responsibility for the security of their own 
country.

                              {time}  1615

  For the past 2 years the President has told us that benchmarks or 
milestones have been laid down for the Iraqi government to accomplish. 
This week we received a progress report on those metrics showing few 
measurable gains.
  So here's our dilemma: Our presence in Iraq, with 170,000 troops, 
allows the Iraqi government an ability to operate, the freedom of 
action it would not otherwise enjoy absent our support. But the Iraqi 
government has exploited that security to avoid doing the very steps 
that are necessary to its becoming a true government of national 
reconciliation, which commands the allegiance of all Iraqis.
  Yesterday the Deputy Director for Analysis in the Office of National 
Intelligence told us, ``current political trends are moving the country 
in a negative direction.'' One way to make Iraqi leaders take the reins 
of their own government, establish their government, is to announce 
reduction of our forces in front-line combat troops and their 
transition to a limited mission and make it clear that our commitment 
to their country is not open-ended.
  Three or 4 months ago, we were told by the administration it was 
going to undertake a new strategy, a new plan for securing Iraq called 
a surge, concentrated primarily in Baghdad. We now have the early 
results from that. We were told we would know in 3 or 4 months. Three 
or 4 months have passed, and we've only seen casualties increase. There 
have been some successes, sure, and we're thankful for them. And I hope 
it succeeds. But we need a new strategy. We do not have one, and this 
calls for a rethinking of everything. And for these reasons I will vote 
for this resolution, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3\1/2\ minutes to my colleague, my 
friend, the gentleman from Illinois who is the chairman of the 
Democratic Caucus, Mr. Emanuel.
  Mr. EMANUEL. Mr. Speaker, this morning the President noted with a 
report that we were at the starting line; 3,600 American lives, $485 
billion spent, $10 billion a month, 5 years into the war. If that is 
the starting line, then I ask you, what is the cost to get to the 
finish line? If the President describes today that we are at the 
starting line, I ask you, what is the cost to get to the finish line 
after all those lives?
  That would not be the words I would choose to tell the American 
families who've lost their loved ones. That would not be the words I 
would choose to tell the people who've put up close to a half a 
trillion dollars that we are at the starting line after 5 years, and 
our reputation sullied around the world.
  Our American men and women in uniform have done brilliantly. 
Everything we have asked them to do, they have done. They have defeated 
an army. They have seized a nation, deposed a dictator, taken a castle. 
There is not one thing we've asked our men and women in uniform and 
their leadership to do. The only thing they've asked is that their 
civilian leadership do what they have done, and they were let down. 
They have won the war, and this administration has failed in the 
occupation.
  Now, President Kennedy once said, ``to govern is to choose; choices 
are between bad and worse.'' And my colleagues on the other side are 
not all wrong. They fear that if we leave precipitously, there could be 
real violence, worse than we're seeing; not totally wrong.
  Those of us have said, after 4 or 5 years of more money, more troops, 
more time and more of the same, at a certain point, you have to 
understand that there are costs to that because today we see in the 
report that, in fact, al Qaeda is reconfiguring and stronger than ever. 
There are costs to staying, and there are costs to leaving.
  So what are the choices we all have to make? They are choices between 
bad and worse. There are those who want to stay and fight the war in 
Iraq, and there are those of us who want to fight al Qaeda. This is a 
road to fighting al Qaeda.
  There are those who want to police a civil war between Sunnis and 
Shia, and those of us who believe in fighting the war on terror. That 
is the choice. Neither is easy. There are consequences to both, but all 
of us recognize that.
  But after 5 years, 3,600 American lives, $485 billion, you have to 
ask yourself, are we getting stronger, or are we diminishing our 
reputation and our power?
  As our military's stretched, as we see al Qaeda reconfiguring and 
stronger than ever before, that is the choice before us. And I do 
agree; it's not a free choice. But staying blindly, without ever having 
asked a question, only more money, more time, more troops and more of 
the same with no other clear policy has consequences to America.
  In that sense, as we measure the Iraqi progress, as the President 
noted today, there are also ways to measure our progress.
  We were told the insurgency was in its last throes. Not happening. We 
were told, at another point, they were placing democracy is the 
Mideast. Not happening. We were told that we were going to find WMD, 
weapons of mass destruction. Not happening. At every point that this 
administration has put a benchmark down for itself, it is not 
happening.
  There are consequences to moving just down this path that has been 
traveled. Too costly. It is time for a new direction for America and 
Iraq.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to yield to Mr. McKeon, the 
gentleman from California, for a unanimous consent request.
  (Mr. McKEON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. McKEON. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this 
resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the motion being 
considered. Yet again, I find myself standing in defense of our 
military leaders and our honorable men and women in uniform. Today's 
ill-conceived resolution is another example of partisan maneuvering by 
the Democrats. I think it is important to remind my colleagues exactly 
what is being sought by this resolution and the negative effect it will 
have. While our troops are fighting in Iraq, Democratic leadership is 
attempting to draw attention from any signs of progress and ignore the 
sound strategy that we laid out earlier this year. What happened to the 
promise of a New Way Forward in Iraq?
  General Petraeus has honorably taken on this leadership role in this 
war with the support of Democrats in the other body, and yet, here 
today the Democrats seek to publicly undermine him. It is shameful. He 
was given a job to do--to execute the Baghdad Security Plan--and he is 
doing it alongside our troops. The plan is still underway and today's 
interim report indicates a reduction in violent attacks in Baghdad. We 
should be standing with him, with our plan, and allowing for its full 
implementation. Instead, however, we see today the real Democratic 
agenda in this resolution: the truth is the Democrats aren't interested 
in whether or not the security plan will work.
  Mr. Speaker, I question whether this resolution would do more harm 
than good. A precipitous withdrawal of troops would seriously endanger 
our soldiers and would signal defeat to our enemies around the world.
  Mr. Speaker this House speaks loudest when it speaks with purpose, 
and voting to remove troops before receiving the report in September, 
that we asked for, is contradictory and bad policy. This bill does not 
honor the sacrifice and dedication of our troops who have fought to 
implement the plan we approved.
  We should never miss the opportunity in this House to act in the best 
interest of our foreign

[[Page H7703]]

policy and our men and women in harm's way. We should--at every 
opportunity--reject undermining the faith and dedicated work of our 
brave men and women in uniform.
  Mr. Speaker, I encourage my colleagues to join me in opposing this 
dangerous resolution. It is the duty of this House and of this Congress 
and of this Nation to give our men and women the support they need to 
see this conflict through. We have allocated a timeframe for our new 
General, and now we must allow our military leaders the opportunity to 
prevail.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, at this time I'd like to yield 2 minutes to 
the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Conaway).
  Mr. CONAWAY. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to say a few 
words. There's a movie out called ``Groundhog Day'' in which the same 
thing happens over and over for a particularly long period of time.
  We've had this debate once recently. We're having it again today, and 
I understand the leadership on the other side intends to have these 
conversations once a week for the next 4 weeks. I don't anticipate that 
much different information will be said.
  I have the profoundest respect for the chairman of the committee and 
the man whose name is on this resolution, but I'm going to have to 
oppose it.
  Much of what gets said here today, Mr. Speaker, is doublespeak. It's 
doublespeak to talk about the failure to get benchmark progress on the 
civilian scene, on the political scene in Iraq, and yet to strip $2 
billion out of the State Department's funding request, part of the CR, 
to strip another $500 million out of the 2008 appropriations request, 
money that would go to do the nation-building part, the provincial 
reconstruction team part in Iraq, and then to call it a failure. That's 
doublespeak in a classic sense.
  It's doublespeak, Mr. Speaker, to talk about how wonderful our troops 
are, and they are. They are magnificent, and even more magnificent are 
the families who support them and let them do what they do. And then to 
turn around and say that the implementation of this policy has failed, 
but somehow they've not failed as a result of that; I think that's 
doublespeak as well.
  It's also doublespeak to say the current policy says we're going to 
have a report in 60 days from David Petraeus, the right man at the 
right spot to give us that report, and then vote on a resolution that 
says 120 days we're going to start getting out, when we'll have the 
better information in September, in 60 days. That's doublespeak. It's 
disingenuous, I believe, to do it that way.
  The majority has the ability to get out of Iraq today. And all of the 
talk about failure, all of the talk about the lost lives, all of the 
talk about the costs, by extending this another 120 days, as they 
intend to do, leaves additional lives at risk. And somehow to me, that 
just seems to be at counter purposes of what the conversation is.
  I encourage my colleagues to vote this resolution down.
  Mr. SKELTON. May I inquire, Mr. Speaker, of the time remaining?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Pomeroy). The gentleman from Missouri 
has 23 minutes remaining. The gentleman from California has 14 minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my friend from 
California (Mr. Baca).
  (Mr. BACA asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. BACA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today as a veteran who served in the 
101st and 82nd Airborne Division in support of H.R. 2956, the 
Responsible Redeployment From Iraq Act.
  This war is a failure, and it's time to bring back our troops. We can 
no longer stay the course.
  Mr. Speaker, the President's policy has been a complete failure. We 
have lost too many lives. There are too many wounded who will never 
have normal lives.
  We're proud of our troops and the service they have provided to our 
country. But our troops are now trapped in the middle of a civil war 
that we cannot end.
  This is something that the Iraqi people must do for themselves. Our 
military presence in Iraq is not making our country safer. Instead, the 
war has taken the lives of 3,610 soldiers.
  In my district alone, we have lost 13 brave men and women, and when I 
see their faces and their families that have to deal with these 
individuals that have lost their lives, we're proud of them, but 
they've lost their lives, and the families who continue to suffer.

                    CA-43's Fallen Soldiers in Iraq


                                 Rialto

       Staff Sgt. Jorge A. Molina Bautista: Hometown: Rialto, 
     California, U.S. Age: 37 years old. Died: May 23, 2004 in 
     Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unit: Marines, 1st Light Armored 
     Reconnaisance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine 
     Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif. Incident: Killed 
     by hostile fire in Anbar province.
       Spec. Luis D. Santos: Hometown: Rialto, California, U.S. 
     Age: 20 years old. Died: June 8, 2006 in Operation Iraqi 
     Freedom. Unit: Army, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd 
     Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort 
     Carson, Colo. Incident: Died of injuries sustained when a 
     makeshift bomb exploded near his Humvee during combat 
     operations in Buritz.
       Spec. Victor A. Garcia: Hometown: Rialto, California, U.S. 
     Age: 22 years old. Died: July 1, 2007 in Operation Iraqi 
     Freedom. Unit: Army, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 
     4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat 
     Team), Fort Lewis, Wash. Incident: Killed by enemy small arms 
     fire in Baghdad.
       Pfc. William A. Farrar Jr.: Hometown: Redlands, California, 
     U.S. Age: 20 years old. Died: May 11, 2007 in Operation Iraqi 
     Freedom. Unit: Army, 127th Military Police Company, 709th 
     Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 
     Darmstadt, Germany. Incident: Killed when a makeshift bomb 
     device detonated near his vehicle in Iskandariyah. Son of 
     Rialto Police Captain Tony Farrar.


                              Bloomington

       Cpl. Joseph A. Blanco: Hometown: Bloomington, California, 
     U.S. Age: 25 years old. Died: April 11, 2006 in Operation 
     Iraqi Freedom. Unit: Army, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry 
     Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, 
     Fort Hood, Tex. Incident: Died of injuries sustained when a 
     makeshift bomb exploded near his Bradley fighting vehicle and 
     he subsequently came under small arms fire during combat 
     operations in Taji.


                                Fontana

       Lance Cpl. Fernando S. Tamayo: Hometown: Fontana, 
     California, U.S. Age: 19 years old. Died: December 21, 2006 
     in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unit: Marines, 3rd Battalion, 4th 
     Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine 
     Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif. Incident: Died 
     while conducting combat operations in Anbar Province.
       Sgt. Bryan A. Brewster: Hometown: Fontana, California, U.S. 
     Age: 24 years old. Died: May 5, 2006 in Operation Enduring 
     Freedom. Unit: Army, 3rd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 
     10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum N.Y. 
     Incident: Killed when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed 
     during combat operations east of Abad, Afghanistan.


                             San Bernardino

       Cpl. Nicanor Alvarez: Hometown: San Bernardino, California, 
     U.S. Age: 22 years old. Died: August 21, 2004 in Operation 
     Iraqi Freedom. Unit: Marines, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 
     1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp 
     Pendleton, Calif. Incident: Killed by enemy action in Anbar 
     province.
       Pfc. Alex Oceguera: Hometown: San Bernardino, California, 
     U.S. Age: 19 years old. Died: October 31, 2006 in Operation 
     Enduring Freedom. Unit: Army, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry 
     Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, 
     Fort Drum, N.Y. Incident: Killed when a makeshift bomb 
     detonated near his vehicle in Wygal Valley, Afghanistan.
       Cpl. Sean R. Grilley: Hometown: San Bernardino, California, 
     U.S. Age: 24 years old. Died: October 16, 2003 in Operation 
     Iraqi Freedom. Unit: Army, 716th Military Police Battalion, 
     101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky. 
     Incident: Killed while negotiating with Iraqis congregating 
     near a mosque after curfew in Karbala when the Iraqis opened 
     fire.
       Spec. Timothy D. Watkins: Hometown: San Bernardino, 
     California, U.S. Age: 24 years old. Died: October 15, 2005 in 
     Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unit: Army, 2nd Battalion, 69th 
     Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort 
     Benning, Ga. Incident: Killed when a makeshift bomb exploded 
     near his Bradley fighting vehicle during combat operations in 
     Ar Ramadi.


                                Ontario

       Spec. Jose R. Perez: Hometown: Ontario, California, U.S. 
     Age: 21 years old. Died: October 18, 2006 in Operation Iraqi 
     Freedom. Unit: Army, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 
     2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, 
     Germany. Incident: Killed by enemy small arms fire in Ramadi.
       Sgt. 1st Class Rudy A. Salcido: Hometown: Ontario, 
     California, U.S. Age: 31 years old. Died: November 9, 2006 in 
     Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unit: Army National Guard, 1114th 
     Transportation Company, Army National Guard, Bakersfield, 
     Calif. Incident: Killed when an improvised explosive device 
     detonated near his convoy vehicle in Baghdad.

  As a veteran, I say that this war was wrong because you could not 
convince me why we were there in the first place. The President sent 
our troops away without proper training or equipment or proof of 
weapons of mass destruction.

[[Page H7704]]

  The President believes that Iraq is making our country safer. This is 
not true. It has put more of us in greater risk. Our military is 
stretched too thin. We are at risk of not being prepared for any future 
emergency.
  The Iraq war has cost billions of dollars, $650 billion, $10 billion 
a month. The money could be used to defend homeland security, for 
police officers, for highway patrol officers, for fire fighters, for 
sheriffs, for education, for health care and our seniors.
  A change in course in Iraq is overdue. We must bring our troops home 
now. It's time for a new direction. We must support this resolution.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from South Carolina (Mr. Wilson), whose son has served a tour of duty 
in Iraq.
  Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Thank you, Congressman Hunter. Thank 
you for your leadership on behalf of our troops. And I appreciate that 
your son, Duncan, Jr., has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  Mr. Speaker, just today we received President Bush's report to 
Congress on progress in Iraq. I find it sad for American families that 
on the same day the House is considering legislation that sets 
arbitrary deadlines and timelines for retreat, the provisions of H.R. 
2956 mandate a hasty troop withdrawal starting within 120 days.
  Additionally, the bill states that this withdrawal would be conducted 
in a safe and orderly way. Logistically, it would be impossible to 
remove our troops safely from Iraq in this short time line. Such rapid 
retreat would embolden the enemy, leaving American forces subject to 
ambushes, rockets and IED attacks.
  As a 31-year veteran of the Army National Guard, and as a father of 
four sons in the military, my oldest an Iraq veteran, I especially 
understand the threats to our troops. In my seven visits to Iraq and 
three to Afghanistan, I've been continually inspired by the competence 
of our military leaders and the dedicated troops.
  In today's edition of the Washington Post, the lead editorial makes 
the case against arbitrary withdrawal. It states, ``The generals who 
have devised a new strategy believe they are making faithful progress. 
Before Congress begins managing rotation schedules and ordering 
withdrawals, it should at least give those generals the months they ask 
for to see whether their strategy can offer some new hope.''
  Additionally, al Qaeda has stated that Iraq is the central front in 
the global war on terrorism. And I believe to withdraw our troops 
before their mission is complete would invite future attacks at home. 
The Washington Post editorial states, ``Advocates of withdrawal would 
like to believe that Afghanistan is now a central front in the war on 
terror, but Iraq is not; believing that doesn't make sense.''
  In conclusion, God bless our troops. We will never forget September 
the 11th.
  I urge defeat of H.R. 2956.

                              {time}  1630

  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to my friend and 
colleague, a veteran of the war in Iraq and member of the Armed 
Services Committee, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Patrick J. 
Murphy).
  Mr. PATRICK J. MURPHY of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, for the sixth 
time, I rise calling for a change of direction in Iraq. For the sixth 
time, I call on the President to stop sending our brave men and women 
to referee a religious civil war. For the sixth time I call on this 
administration to focus our efforts in fighting the central front on 
the war on terror by killing Osama bin Laden and destroying al Qaeda in 
Afghanistan.
  Mr. Speaker, last week countless folks back in Pennsylvania stopped 
me and asked, Aren't you frustrated by this President who refuses to 
listen to Congress and the American people?
  I told them, I am frustrated that our President refuses to follow the 
advice of military experts and the will of the American people. I am 
frustrated because my fellow paratroopers are still fighting and dying 
in the 138-degree heat of a Baghdad summer. I told them that I will 
refuse to stop fighting for the best policy for our troops and our 
families back here at home.
  Mr. Speaker, leaving our troops in the middle of a religious civil 
war isn't resolute. It's reckless. No question that change is slow, but 
take heart, America. Change is coming. Congress is not going to stop.
  President Bush, the legislative branch of government is back and we 
are not going to go away. We will change the course in Iraq and fight 
for a smarter global war on terror.
  Some Republicans have questioned the patriotism of my fellow 
Democrats. Even former soldiers here in the House floor. But those 
types of Republicans are the exception and not the rule. In my short 
time in Congress, I have learned that most of my colleagues across the 
aisle are good, decent, and patriotic Americans. Mr. Speaker, I know 
how much pressure my friends across the aisle are under from the 
President, from their party leaders to just stay the course.
  But I ask you as a soldier, as a father, and as a colleague to 
acknowledge what the status quo entails. That means additional 
warnings, walking to our desks here in the Halls of Congress, holding 
our breath and hoping we don't get word of another fallen soldier.
  Mr. Speaker, I implore my Republican colleagues who know in their 
heart that we need a change. I implore you to think about how many more 
of these calls you have to make, how many more calls to wives, to 
fathers, to mothers we all will be forced to make if we don't take 
action.
  I have heard the other side say 4 more months. This President has had 
his 4 months. He has had his 4 years and 4 months. In 2004, the 
President said we are turning the corner. In 2005, the Vice President 
said the insurgency was in its last throes. In 2006, that was the year 
in transition. And now in 2007, the President says just be patient.
  In the last month alone in Bucks County, we have buried four of our 
finest sons. Four names have been added to the memorial board outside 
my office. I, for one, don't want to add any more names.
  My Republican colleagues, you have the power today to stop these 
tragic phone calls, to stop adding faces and names to our memorials. 
Let's change the direction in Iraq and get back to fighting a smarter 
war on terror together, not as Democrats and Republicans, but as 
Americans.


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members are reminded to address their 
comments to the Chair, not to others in the second person.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to my colleague and 
friend, the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Corrine Brown).
  Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I stand in strong support 
of this legislation, H.R. 2956.
  I have to remind my colleagues that I am from Florida and it does 
matter who is the President, and we should never forget the 2000 
election because it matters who is the President of the United States.
  President Bush intentionally misled the American people by supplying 
false grounds for going to war, and I personally never supported the 
war in Iraq.
  This war has cost over a half trillion dollars. This war is now 
costing over $12 billion per month.
  I stand with the American people and I wholeheartedly support our 
troops; yet I cannot support a truly senseless war that has killed 
3,600 Americans and left over 26,000 severely wounded.
  The soldiers did not vote for this war, but when given a mission, 
they do the best they can to complete it. The military is doing the job 
they were sent to do. There was a flaw in the mission from the 
beginning, and the flaw lies with us.
  I want to be clear. The President's checking account has been 
overdrawn. The Bush administration's manipulation of taxpayer dollars 
to fund this war is over, and 70 percent of the American people oppose 
this war. This war needs to come to an immediate end.
  I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the bill. Let's redeploy our 
men and women.


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair must remind all Members that 
remarks in debate may not engage in personalities toward the President 
or Vice President.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to our distinguished 
leader, the

[[Page H7705]]

gentleman from Maryland, my friend and colleague (Mr. Hoyer).
  Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding.
  We have no more serious matter to debate than war and peace. I thank 
the gentleman for his extraordinary leadership and for bringing this 
bill to the floor.
  I must remark that how different I think the debate would be if not 
one of the facts were changed but one: that if it were Bill Clinton in 
the Presidency and all the other facts were the same, I ask my friends 
on the other side of the aisle what would their comments reflect.
  I have said it before many times on this House floor and I will say 
it again today. Every Member of this great body who swears an oath to 
support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and 
domestic, is committed to fighting and defeating terrorism. We must not 
lose sight in this debate that terrorism is a real threat to our people 
and to our country. We do not lose sight of that on this side of the 
aisle. We are committed to defeating terrorists and protecting America. 
Any suggestion otherwise demeans our discourse and is beneath, frankly, 
the dignity of the Members of this institution and the American people.
  After nearly 4\1/2\ years in Iraq, a war that has been, I think, 
superbly peopled by our men and women in uniform but they have been 
trying to pursue an incompetently planned policy, this is what our 
Nation has to show for its efforts:
  More than 3,600 brave American servicemen and women have been killed 
in action. More than 26,000 others have been maimed and injured. The 
American taxpayer has spent $450 billion on this war, with a pending 
request by the administration for an additional $147 billion.
  And yet the President's policy in Iraq is not succeeding. Just today 
the administration released the ``assessment report'' on Iraq demanded 
by this Democratic Congress. The bottom line is the Iraq Government has 
failed to meet a single one of the security, political, and economic 
milestones for success. Perhaps most jarring, the administration rates 
as ``unsatisfactory'' the number of Iraqi security units capable of 
operating independently. That is over 50 months later.
  The report states: ``There has been a slight reduction in units 
assessed as capable of independent operations since January, 2007.'' In 
other words, the administration says we are going backwards in terms of 
the capability of the Iraqi forces.
  While the administration and congressional Republicans try to put a 
positive spin on the so-called ``progress'' in Iraq, other respected 
voices are not so optimistic. Yesterday, Thomas Fingar, the Deputy 
Director for Analysis at the National Intelligence Council, told the 
House Armed Services Committee that there have been ``few appreciable 
gains'' in Iraqi political progress. Even General David Petraeus, our 
top commander in Iraq, a gentleman that all of us respect as a military 
leader, told the New York Times that ``while some measures of violence 
showed a downward trend, it was too early to suggest that there has 
been a lasting turnaround in the war.'' That is over 50 months later.
  Mr. Speaker, last January in an address to the Nation, President Bush 
stated: ``America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it 
has announced.'' We have not done so. We said we would do that, but we 
have not done so. Today the President shows no intention of changing 
course even as the Iraqis fail to meet those benchmarks.
  Our fight against terrorism must and will be tough, but it also must 
be smart. And it is long past time that we recognize the following: The 
President's stay-the-course strategy is not working. The Iraqis must 
take responsibility for their own country. This war has severely 
diminished our military readiness and diverted our attention in the war 
on terror. If that were not the case, Osama bin Laden would still not 
be at large and al Qaeda would not be reported as being back at the 
strength that it had on September 11 of 2001.
  After $450 billion and precious blood being spilled by American 
troops and others, we must change course by voting for this 
legislation, which calls for a responsible redeployment of American 
forces in Iraq and a comprehensive plan in U.S. policy in Iraq and the 
broader region.
  Mr. Speaker, we must have a specific strategy for missions our 
remaining forces would undertake as well as plans to engage Iraq's 
neighboring states and to locate and eliminate al Qaeda and allied 
terrorist networks, which seek to destabilize and destroy the United 
States and other democracies. Jonathan Alter at Newsweek just a week 
ago referred to this as a ``pull and strike'' strategy. Redeploy so 
that our forces are able to focus on the terrorists, not on the civil 
war in which they find themselves embroiled.
  Mr. Speaker, the American people and an increasing number of our 
friends on the other side of the aisle have lost confidence in the 
President's Iraq strategy because we have yet to see demonstrable, 
sustainable progress in that effort. Our troops have done everything we 
have asked them.
  I'll tell you that we are so proud of those of you who have served in 
the Armed Forces of the United States. I was so proud of Patrick 
Murphy's statement that he gave here today, so proud of all of those 
who have served not only in Iraq but in every theater of conflict to 
which Americans have responded.
  But as Senator Domenici told the Baltimore Sun yesterday, one of the 
senior Members of the United States Senate and a leader in the 
Republican Party, he said this: ``There is no reason to wait . . . I am 
trying to tell the President that he must change his ways because there 
is nothing positive happening.''

                              {time}  1645

  That is not a Democratic Member of the Senate speaking, that is a 
senior Republican leader saying there is no reason to wait.
  This bill is on this floor this day because there is no reason to 
wait. Hopefully this body will overwhelmingly respond to the will and 
focus of the American people, which are pleading for a change in 
strategy, a new direction, a policy of success against terrorists, and 
ensuring the safety of our Nation and its people. Let's change our 
strategy and demand that the Iraqis step up and be responsible for 
their country.
  Our presence there, General Casey observed, has been undermining 
their taking responsibility, not enhancing it. Let's be responsibly 
redeploying our troops. And let's focus our resources and efforts on 
disrupting and destroying the terrorist networks that threaten our 
national security. This legislation allows us to accomplish that 
mission.
  I urge my colleagues, for this body, for their constituents, for this 
country, and for our troops, pass this legislation.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Whitfield).
  Mr. WHITFIELD. You know, every Member of this House has great respect 
for the chairman of the Armed Services Committee from Missouri and the 
ranking member from California. And like the American people, most 
Members of this House are torn in different directions on this issue of 
our involvement in Iraq and what steps we should take. But this 
resolution says as a requirement that the Secretary of Defense shall 
commence the reduction of the number of Armed Forces in Iraq no later 
than 120 days after the enactment of this act.
  General Petraeus was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate, and in 
the supplemental, there was a requirement that, on September 15, 
General Petraeus would make a report to the Congress on the conditions 
in Iraq. And I believe that it is premature to come forth with this 
resolution today. But if it comes back at the end of September, after 
General Petraeus has made his report, the commanding general in Iraq 
with the responsibility, I think that all of us have the responsibility 
to read his report, to make an assessment which would be best for the 
American people.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I have, and I offer as part of the Record, Mr. Speaker, a letter I 
just received dated July 12 from Lee H. Hamilton from the Woodrow 
Wilson International Center of Scholars, who is the national president 
thereof. And I will

[[Page H7706]]

read just part of it and not take any more time. But it says, ``Dear 
Ike, thank you for sharing H.R. 2956 on responsible redeployment from 
Iraq. The legislation outlines the right change in mission for U.S. 
forces in Iraq, and redeployment within a responsible time frame. It 
effectively outlines the functions of the residual force that would 
remain in Iraq after redeployment, and makes an important contribution 
by focusing on the need for an accounting of U.S. interests in both 
Iraq and the wider region.''
  I offer this letter at this time.

                                      Woodrow Wilson International


                                          Center for Scholars,

                                    Washington, DC, July 12, 2007.
     Congressman Ike Skelton,
     Committee on Armed Services,
     House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Ike: Thank you for sharing HR 2956 on responsible 
     redeployment from Iraq. The legislation outlines the right 
     change in mission for U.S. forces in Iraq, and redeployment 
     within a responsible timeframe. It effectively outlines the 
     functions of the residual force that would remain in Iraq 
     after redeployment, and makes an important contribution by 
     focusing on the need for an accounting of U.S. interests in 
     both Iraq and the wider region.
       Beyond what is outlined in the bill, much needs to be done 
     in Iraq. The training of Iraqi Security Forces must be 
     intensified. An aggressive diplomatic offensive is urgently 
     needed to press for national reconciliation in Iraq, and to 
     advance stability in the region. And some measure of 
     consensus needs to be reached in the country--and between the 
     President and Congress--so that we can move forward with 
     unity of effort.
       The American people want a responsible transition for U.S. 
     forces out of Iraq. This resolution provides that transition. 
     It is not perfect, but it moves our national debate forward.
       With best wishes,
           Sincerely,
                                                  Lee H. Hamilton.

  At this time, Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my friend and 
colleague, the gentleman from South Carolina who is our distinguished 
majority whip, Mr. Clyburn.
  Mr. CLYBURN. Let me thank our chairman for yielding me this time.
  To date, we have spent almost half a trillion dollars on the Iraq 
war. Over 3,600 American lives have been lost, and more than 26,000 
Americans have been wounded. When the President announced his 
escalation plan 6 months ago, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it 
would only last a few months. Majority Leader Boehner said we would 
know whether or not the escalation succeeded or failed within 90 days. 
And Secretary Rice said we would not stay married to a plan that is not 
working.
  Since the President announced this surge, we have lost nearly 600 
American troops and spent more than $60 billion. In fact, the monthly 
cost in lives and resources has increased dramatically since the war 
began.
  Today, the American people received an interim report from the 
President on his escalation plan. This was the verdict: None of the 18 
benchmarks he outlined in January have been reached. In fact, it 
clearly illustrated how far the Iraqi Government is from political 
progress and national reconciliation.
  A recently released national intelligence report concludes that al 
Qaeda has reconstituted its core network and may be a stronger 
terrorist organization than it was a year ago. In fact, it could be 
closer to pre-9/11 strength and reach.
  Republicans have spoken out against this war, failed policies in Iraq 
yet, out of fear of being called names, are reluctant to vote against 
this resolution.
  What have we come to when if people express their consciences, they 
are called names? It's beneath the dignity of the sacrifices of our men 
and women, and I ask my colleagues to vote for this resolution.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, it's been asked that we consider this debate 
in such a way that our sons and daughters are involved, and that's why 
the gentleman who just spoke, Mr. Wilson's son has done a tour in Iraq. 
The gentleman I am going to announce now, Mr. Kline, has a son who has 
done a tour as a helicopter pilot in Iraq.
  I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Minnesota.
  Mr. KLINE of Minnesota. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, the proponents of this bill are fond of citing 
historical examples as they declare the futility of combat operations 
in Iraq. The Congressional Record is full of stories describing the 
failed British invasion of Gallipoli or the far more popular 
comparisons to the American experience in Vietnam.
  Another more prescient historical comparison, however, was made by 
the British author George Orwell. Contemplating the defeatist rhetoric 
of the English intelligentsia during the German offensive against 
Britain in World War II, he remarked, ``The quickest way of ending a 
war is to lose it. And if one finds the prospect of a long war 
intolerable, it is natural to disbelieve in the possibility of 
victory.'' Those in favor of the bill presented on the floor today, Mr. 
Speaker, do not believe in the possibility of victory, despite the 
protests of the soldiers and Marines returning from the battlefield 
saying otherwise.
  By advocating a rapid withdrawal, they endorse the quickest way of 
ending the war, by losing it. It has been less than a month since the 
full force of troops requested by military commanders arrived in Iraq, 
but already some have declared the operation to be a failure. General 
Petraeus arrived in Baghdad in February with a new strategy designed to 
reinforce the Iraqi security forces confronting al Qaeda, terrorists 
and Iranian-supplied insurgents. Rather than giving him the opportunity 
to fully implement his surge strategy, opponents in Congress 
immediately sought to undermine his credibility and his ability to 
command.
  Mr. Speaker, our troops serving in Iraq don't need 435 armchair 
generals dictating the tactical movements of troops, as this 
legislation would surely do. They have true commanders whose 
professional military skills have been honed by decades of military 
service. They need us to renew our commitment to them and their 
commanders. And more importantly, they need us to trust their 
commanders' decisions.
  General Petraeus said in a letter to his troops, ``Success will 
require discipline, fortitude and initiative, qualities that you have 
in abundance.'' The question before us today, Mr. Speaker, is, do we 
have those qualities?
  Mr. PATRICK J. MURPHY of Pennsylvania. I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Kucinich).
  Mr. KUCINICH. I rise in opposition to the bill.
  We've lost over 3,600 of our brave service men and women; 1 million 
innocent Iraqis have perished in the war. We're now telling Iraqis, 
whose country the U.S. destroyed, whose reconstruction funds the U.S. 
mishandled, whose social networks have been shredded, stand on your own 
feet, while we try to steal their oil under the cover of occupation.
  This bill will not end the war. This bill will not end the 
occupation. It doesn't take a vote to end this war. We must inform the 
administration that the $97 billion appropriated last month is the end 
of the financing for the war. Use the money that is in the pipeline 
through October 1st to bring the troops home. Compel the President to 
put together an international peacekeeping security force which would 
move in as our troops leave.
  We could have our troops home by October 1. The question is whether 
we're ready to take a stand to do that, or whether or not we're going 
to vote on resolutions that give the American people the appearance 
that we want to end the war, without actually addressing the central 
issue that will end the war: Stop the funding.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow our other two 
speakers who have sons who have served in Iraq with another gentleman, 
Mr. Akin, the gentleman from Missouri, whose son Perry has served a 
tour in Iraq in the United States Marine Corps.
  I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman.
  Mr. AKIN. Mr. Speaker, I believe that the reason that Americans send 
us here to Congress is to have us to solve problems. And I don't think 
any of us mind, and I certainly don't mind, the accusation by Democrats 
to say that the war and the situation in Iraq is incompetently planned, 
or that we should change course, or that we should have bold, new 
initiatives. In fact, I think that's what we should be discussing. But 
unfortunately, what we have here today is not a matter of solving 
problems but rather of playing politics. Because the bill in front of 
us is not a bold plan. It doesn't have any segment of a plan at all. It 
just simply says, we're going to pull a bunch of troops out at a 
particular time. It

[[Page H7707]]

doesn't say how many; it just says we are going to pull some troops 
out. You know, the people who fought World War II would have liked very 
much to have ended the war more rapidly if they could just put 
something on a wish list and say, we're going to bring some troops 
home. But you can't do that until you win a war. And what we have 
before us is not a bold plan, and it's not a constructive suggestion to 
say, hey, you've incompetently managed the war, so here's a better way. 
There's no better way. It offers nothing other than just a bunch of 
wishes.
  Now, if we want to send this to whoever it is that wants to grant 
wishes, that might be useful, but it's absolutely useless in terms of 
solving problems. And that's why we should be here.
  I have to take the Democrats to task. You forgot, you guys are in the 
majority. The people elected you to solve problems. This doesn't solve 
a problem, it just simply says we want to bring some troops home. It 
doesn't say how or what we're going to do or what the strategy is. It 
says, oh, we've already done this one thing for a month, and now we 
just want to turn around and bring the troops home.
  I think one thing that we can understand and one thing that we need 
to do is to stand away from this problem a little bit and put it in the 
broadest terms, and that is the terms as Americans.
  There is one thing that has joined us together that we just 
celebrated, and that's the Fourth of July. And the Fourth of July we 
signed a Declaration of Independence, and the heart of that document, 
the heart of what America believes in is the fact that it says we hold 
these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and 
endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; among these 
is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And we stand tall on the 
Fourth of July when we remember that set of principles.
  So the job of government is to protect those rights. And who is it 
that our sons and daughters are now fighting? They're people who 
believe that we blow up innocent people to make a political statement. 
They're people who believe that we use terror to compel people so that 
they don't have freedom and that people cannot pursue happiness and 
women cannot be educated. And so, is it so odd that we find ourselves 
fighting against people who believe the diametric opposite of 
everything America has ever stood for?
  I taught those principles to my little kids when they were children. 
And they started the ``Marine Club.'' Here is a picture of them at a 
flag ceremony in their rag-tag uniforms bought from their Army surplus 
store, a bunch of little kids. Now what has happened is they have 
implemented those ideas. Well, what has happened is this little kid 
here is now Special Forces Air Force Academy, just graduated last 
month. And this other one, my son, has graduated from the little Marine 
club to the big Marine club. Here is a cache of weapons found in 
Fallujah. There is my son. And the reason that they are there and the 
reason that he risked his life numerous times is because he does 
believe there is a God that gives rights to all people, and that 
governments should protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 
And when we, as Americans, forget that, then we start to lose our sense 
of direction in what we're doing.
  Until there is a specific proposal, then there is nothing being 
offered at all. There is not leadership. And this is merely politics.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to my colleague, my 
friend, the gentlelady from Ohio (Mrs. Jones).

                              {time}  1700

  Mrs. JONES of Ohio. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
  Mr. Speaker, there is a statement that says: ``To believe that God 
will do everything while you do nothing is not faith but 
superstition.'' We have an opportunity to do something, not to wait for 
God to do it.
  But let me start where I was. On May 21, I buried my dad, a veteran 
of the Korean War. He died at age 87. As I stood before that flag-
draped coffin, I thought about all the mothers and fathers, aunts and 
uncles, children, nieces and nephews who have buried their loved ones 
as a result of this Iraqi war--3,600. I don't want to go to another 
funeral, I have been to five. Not another deployment, I have been to 
three. Not another memorial, I have been to six.
  I want our soldiers to come home as soon as possible. We have an 
opportunity to do a deployment that makes sense, that fits within all 
that we can do as Members of Congress. Members of Congress, step up to 
the plate. Don't be afraid. Vote in favor of this redeployment.
  Mr. HUNTER. How much time do we have left, Mr. Speaker?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from California has 5\1/2\ 
minutes remaining. The gentleman from Missouri has 9\1/2\ minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield myself 4\1/2\ minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to vote against this bill. I have 
great respect for my friend, the chairman of the Armed Services 
Committee. We work on many bills together, many pieces of legislation, 
and 99 percent of the time we find common cause in supporting the men 
and women who wear the uniform of the United States.
  This bill is not one of them. I think that this bill, Mr. Speaker, is 
a call to retreat by the Democratic leadership of the House, which can 
only hurt this country.
  Now, Mr. Speaker, I have been here before. I have listened to my 
colleagues on the Democrat side declare that the operation that we were 
undertaking in El Salvador to provide a little shield around that 
fragile government back in the 1980s was going to be ``America's next 
Vietnam.'' Yet we persevered. We kept that shield in place. We stood up 
a democratic government. Today, the free government of El Salvador 
supplies troops who stand side by side with Americans in Iraq.
  I was here when Ronald Reagan stood up against the Soviet Union when 
they were putting SS-20 missiles around our allies, Germany and France, 
in Europe. Many people on the other side of the aisle said he was going 
in the wrong direction. He was going to start World War III. We were 
going to have a nuclear war because of the fact that the President was 
standing up to the Soviet Union. Yes, he did that, moving Pershing II 
and ground-launched cruise missiles to offset the Soviet missiles. At 
one point, they picked up the telephone and said, Can we talk? 
Ultimately we brought down the Berlin Wall. We freed, with American 
perseverance, hundreds of millions of people.
  Now, we all agree that if Iraq works, it is to the benefit of the 
United States. When I say that ``if Iraq works,'' I mean if we have a 
nation which has a modicum of freedom for its people, a nation which 
will not be a state sponsor of terrorism, a nation which will be a 
friend to the United States, then we win. That is in our interest. That 
is what we are trying to build in Iraq.
  We all agree that it is rough and tough and difficult. Mr. Speaker, 
it is dangerous. We all know that. That is why I had the last three 
speakers being fathers of Americans who have served in Iraq in the 
Marine Corps and in the United States Army. So we know it is difficult.
  But, you know, every time I hear good news coming out, every time I 
hear that, I saw the message from one of our senior Marine commanders 
who said, We are crushing al Qaeda in Anbar province, then I pick up a 
statement by one of the Democrat leaders saying, We have lost. We have 
lost the war. I put this piece of legislation in that same category.
  Twenty-seven days, less than 4 weeks after we put the surge in full 
force, we are already being called to leave. Now, we were just 
criticized, the President was criticized, for saying, This is the 
starting line. Well, I think we should criticize the Democrats for 
saying, This is the finish line. I have heard so many Democrat leaders 
say, We are going to stop the war. That has been said over and over.
  Mr. Speaker, there is no Democrat leader here or anywhere who can 
stop the war. The only thing we can do is leave this battlefield. We 
can't stop this war any more than the people of Great Britain stopped 
the war when they just had this incident last week in Scotland. We 
can't stop this war any more than the victims in the Kobar Towers 
stopped the war. We can't stop this war any more than the marines in

[[Page H7708]]

the Beirut barrack had the power to stop the war. We can't stop this 
war any more than the sailors of the USS Cole had any ability to stop 
the war. This war has been forced on us. The only way we should end it, 
the only way we can end it, is to win.
  Now we have the surge going on. It has been going on for 27 days. The 
leader in whom we all vest great confidence, General Petraeus, is to 
speak to us about the policies, about the tactics, about the 
strategies, and he will suggest adjustments on September 15. The idea 
that only 4 weeks after we have fully funded and we have fully deployed 
this surge we are somehow going to sound the retreat is a real 
disservice to this mission.
  Mr. Speaker, what I would ask of all of our Members, Democrat and 
Republican, is vote against this call to retreat. If we stop fighting 
the terrorists, we will start losing this war against the terrorists.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Pelosi), my friend, my colleague, the Honorable Speaker 
of the House of Representatives.
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Missouri for 
yielding, and I want to express the appreciation of so many in this 
Congress and this country to him for his tremendous leadership. For 30 
years, he has been a great champion for our men and women in uniform; 
for the quality of their lives and their families as they serve our 
country; for their readiness as they prepare to go to war; for their 
well-being as they fight for our country; for his appreciation of the 
sacrifice that they and their families are willing to make.
  Thank you, Mr. Skelton, for being such a great leader, and thank you 
for giving us this opportunity today to speak on behalf of the American 
people, to take a step to end the war in Iraq and to have a vision of a 
strategic plan for stability in the Middle East.
  Your bill is excellent and your timing, Mr. Skelton, is perfect, 
because today the Bush administration released a progress report on the 
Iraq benchmarks required by the supplemental appropriations bill passed 
in May. The report makes clear that not even the White House can 
conclude that there has been significant progress on the Warner 
resolution benchmarks.
  This is hardly surprising, given what is publicly available each day 
in the media: truck bombs killing scores of people in the markets; the 
supposedly secure Green Zone is rocked by a 30-inute mortar and rocket 
barrage; despite 30,000 additional American troops to increase 
security, Iraqi leaders are urging their people to arm themselves for 
their own protection; legislation to make the Iraqi political process 
more inclusive is stalled in the Iraqi legislature; and the cost of the 
war in precious lives and wounded American heroes continues to rise. 
Since the surge began, we have lost nearly 600 American troops.
  The benchmarks that are being reported on today were endorsed by 
President Bush and the Government of Iraq to measure political 
reconciliation and the promotion of security in Iraq. In the 5th year 
of the war, the President's strategy has failed to meet those key 
benchmarks.
  President Bush continues to urge patience, but what is needed and 
what the American people are demanding is a new direction. Remaining 
bogged down in a sectarian civil war in Iraq continues an unacceptable 
strain on our military and serves as an effective recruiting tool for 
al Qaeda. Reports about the resilience of al Qaeda in Iraq are 
alarming, but assessments that the global al Qaeda network is 
reconstituting its capabilities describes a far greater threat.
  The war is not making our military stronger to protect our interests, 
the American people safer or the Middle East more secure. It prevents a 
refocusing of our efforts on the real war on terrorism in places like 
Afghanistan, and it hinders the development of a new direction strategy 
for greater stability in the Middle East.
  As General Batiste has said, ``Iraq is distracting America from what 
should be the focus of main effort. It is in America's best interests 
to rethink our national strategy, deliberately disengage from Iraq, 
refit and rearm our military, get serious about homeland security, and 
prepare to win the next phase of the struggle against worldwide Islamic 
extremism.''
  The American people see the danger of clinging to an untenable 
situation in Iraq. That is why by large margins they favor a 
redeployment of our troops. Passage of Chairman Skelton's bipartisan 
bill will reflect the will of the American people and reaffirm the 
judgment of the House that the redeployment of our troops is a central 
element and an effective way forward in Iraq.
  We will repeat that judgment legislatively as often as necessary, 
hopefully with an increasing level of support from our Republican 
colleagues, until pressure from the American people causes the 
President to change his mind and his policies.
  To those who urge that we wait until September, I say that it has 
been 4\1/2\ years and half a trillion dollars, at least. We have 
already waited too long. The troops in their third and fourth tours in 
Iraq, those who have been so grievously wounded and the families of 
those who have died, deserve far better than that.
  After more than 3,600 lives have been lost to a flawed strategy, we 
have a responsibility to create a new direction. After spending $329 
million every day, $329 million every day on the war in Iraq, on a war 
that is not making our country safer, we have an obligation to change 
course. After 5 years of a failed policy in Iraq, we have a duty, not 
just to voice our opposition, but to vote to end the war.
  Chairman Skelton's bipartisan bill offers a step we can take today 
toward bringing the troops home, to creating a strategic vision for 
stability in the Middle East and for beginning to rearm our military.
  Let us pass this bill and those that will follow in the coming weeks 
and provide the new direction on Iraq that the American people demand 
and that is so urgently needed. I urge a ``yes'' vote on the Skelton 
bill.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to our final speaker, the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Boehner), the Republican leader.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, let me thank my colleague from California 
for yielding and thank all of the Members for what has really been a 
very serious debate about our efforts in Iraq.
  When we think about what we went through this past spring, the fight 
over funding our troops that went on for about 112 days here in the 
House, I had thought that we had come to some resolution. Forty-eight 
days ago we sent to the President of the United States a bill passed by 
this House, passed by the Senate and signed into law that would fund 
our troops through the end of September.

                              {time}  1715

  That same bill, we asked General Petraeus to report back to the 
Congress on July 15 his interim report and asked him to give a more 
complete report by September 15 of this year. And here we are some 48 
days later saying, we give up.
  One can only imagine why this bill is on the floor today. If Members 
were serious about this bill, we would have seen it come through 
committee, come through the Rules Committee. No, no, this bill showed 
up Tuesday night about 9 o'clock out of thin air that we were going to 
have this debate this week. One can only look at what is happening on 
the floor of the House and describe it as a partisan political stunt, 
because that is exactly what it is.
  This House voted to support our troops, to fund our troops, and to 
fund our effort in Afghanistan and in Iraq. And here we are, once 
again, back here posing for holy pictures, as our good friend from 
Wisconsin would say.
  This bill that we have before us makes our troops pawns in a partisan 
political battle. I don't think that is what anyone wants. I think this 
bill on the floor today undermines General Petraeus and undermines the 
mission that he has to help make Iraq and America safe.
  So what we have here is not leadership; it is negligence. My 
colleague, the majority leader, my friend from Maryland, and the 
Speaker of the House both say we want to fight the terrorists; we want 
to fight them where they are. Well, who is our biggest enemy in

[[Page H7709]]

Iraq today? Who is the biggest fight that we have in Iraq today? It is 
al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is losing, and that is why we see the bigger bombs 
going off and the bigger demonstrations and the bigger casualties, 
because they are losing and trying to influence public opinion here in 
the United States.
  But what surprises me about what we are doing here today is the 
willful ignoring of the consequences of failure in Iraq. If we fail in 
Iraq, we know what happens, we make America less safe. We know that we 
will provide a safe haven for al Qaeda to operate around the world out 
of their new safe haven that they will have in Iraq. We will 
destabilize the Middle East, we will endanger Israel. We will embolden 
the Iranians even more than they have already been emboldened, and we 
will allow al Qaeda to be stronger and to be able to recruit more 
people to kill Americans and our allies around the world. These are 
serious consequences for the American people and our allies around the 
world, and we can't shrink from our responsibility here.
  General Petraeus is making progress. Not as much progress as we would 
all like for him to make, but he is making progress on the ground, as 
he reported in the report that came out today. The Iraqi government has 
made some progress. Not nearly enough, but to just pull the rug out 
from under General Petraeus, to pull the rug out from under our troops 
that are in Iraq fighting for our freedom and fighting for the freedom 
of the Iraqi people at this moment is absolutely the most negligent 
action that I have seen this House take yet on this issue.
  Why can't we sit back and allow General Petraeus's plan to have a 
chance to succeed? Why can't we wait until September 15, as we had all 
agreed, for his final report to come forward and to assess the progress 
that is being made and what, if any, new direction ought to be taken?
  I believe, and I think the American people believe, that we ought to 
allow the generals on the ground in Iraq to make those suggestions to 
us and not sit back and let politicians here in Washington make 
decisions about our future and about our safety.
  But while we are sitting here debating this meaningless bill that we 
have before us, we could be acting on serious legislation to help make 
America safer. There is a giant loophole in the terrorist surveillance 
program that means that activity between terrorists overseas cannot be 
acted upon and cannot be listened to by this government. There is 
information that would help make America safe, that would bring more 
terrorists to justice; information that is being left on the table 
because of partisan political games in this House. Why don't we bring 
the FISA modernization bill to this floor? Why don't we give the NSA 
the terrorist surveillance program and other agencies the ability to 
track these terrorist activities and these terrorist phone calls and 
information movement that we know today that we can't touch and we 
can't use?
  We all know through reports over the last couple of days that al 
Qaeda has increased in its strength. We also know from news reports 
over the last couple of days that there has been increasing chatter 
among terrorists around the world. And yet here we are debating a 
meaningless bill that undermines our troops, ignoring the fact that 
there is information that could help keep America safer that we can't 
touch because this House will not act. I think that is negligent, and I 
think it is irresponsible.
  I would urge my colleagues to let's let General Petraeus and the 
troops have a chance to succeed. Let's help them in their mission to 
help make Iraq safer and to make America safer, and the way we do that 
is to take this bill that we have before us and defeat it.
  Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  I just heard the minority leader say that we are willfully ignoring 
the consequences of Iraq. That is what I'm talking about, the willful 
consequences of Iraq when I spoke a few moments ago about the stretch 
and the strain and the difficulty of gluing our Army and Marines back 
together again.
  This is serious business. We have a readiness crisis due to our 
extended operations in Iraq. Readiness in the Army's combat units has 
fallen to a dangerous level. Half of the Army's active brigades are in 
combat, and the remaining units are preparing for deployment. Units 
preparing for combat do not have all of their assigned personnel or 
equipment when preparing for combat. Combat units are experiencing 
equipment shortfalls; and let me mention that we have lost over 2,000 
trucks and Humvees, over 100 tanks and armored vehicles, and over 100 
aircraft. Combat units' readiness is being sustained at the expense of 
nondeployed units through the use of emergency war stocks.
  I am worried. My heart breaks because no one seems to be listening on 
the other side, and no one who is opposed to this legislation mentioned 
in this debate anything about the stretch and the strain on our ground 
forces of the United States. That concerns me. That is the willful 
ignoring of consequences of Iraq. Something must be done.
  Lee Hamilton, the co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, spoke in a 
letter to me, which I read a few moments ago, endorsing this 
legislation as a responsible bill: We must do something, and it must be 
done today. This is serious business.
  Let me salute the eloquence of my friend from California, Mr. Hunter. 
He asked us to wait until September. We have had four Septembers 
already in Iraq. And you know what? It reminds me, and maybe some of 
those who have a little gray in their hair, Mr. Speaker, will recall a 
song that was popular decades ago, and that line in that song, the 
September song, that says, we haven't got time for the waiting game. We 
don't have time for the waiting game.
  This is the right time, the right measure, the right issue. It is 
right for our ground forces. It is right for those in uniform. It is 
right for their families. It is right for our country. We have been 
engaged in Iraq since March of 2003. We have threats yet unforeseen.
  If we continue to strain our ground forces as they are, we will not 
be ready for them. Hopefully they never come, but as sure as God made 
little green apples, those threats will be there. That's the purpose of 
this. The readiness of our forces and the capability of what they need 
to do for us in the days ahead, that is our job under the Constitution, 
to raise and maintain. That's what we are doing.
  So with that, Mr. Speaker, I say that we need to pass this 
legislation. We need to do so to pass the responsibility back to the 
Iraqis, to keep our forces in a higher state of readiness, and to make 
sure that the future is all the more safer for those of us here in our 
country.
  Ms. BORDALLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this renewed 
debate on the war in Iraq. Iraq is today's signature issue, and it is 
one of the most divisive and complex ones before this Congress. The 
choices we make regarding Iraq will establish a legacy for the United 
States that will define our policy toward the Middle East region for a 
generation or longer. For that reason, it is my hope that we, as an 
institution and, indeed, as a country can agree upon a policy that will 
best protect our national interests and those of our allies and 
supports those servicemembers and civiians--and their families--who so 
bravely serve our country today in Iraq and elsewhere around the world.
  If enacted, H.R. 2956, the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act, 
the legislation before us today, would significantly change the 
direction of current operations in Iraq. Notably, this legislation 
would require the Secretary of Defense to commence the reduction of the 
number of United States Armed Forces personnel deployed in Iraq--
beginning as early as 120 days after enactment of this bill--to a more 
limited presence by April 1, 2008. Also notable, this legislation would 
require the President to submit to Congress a new comprehensive 
strategy that would guide future operations in Iraq and that would 
include specific plans for diplomatic initiatives to engage United 
States allies and others in the region to bring stability to Iraq.
  This strategy, according to H.R. 2956, would be written to reflect an 
honest assessment of the United States' national security interests in 
Iraq and the broader Middle East region. The document would be written 
to include the diplomatic, political, economic, and military components 
of a comprehensive strategy to maintain and advance such interests as 
the Armed Forces are redeployed from Iraq. This bill takes into account 
the importance of protecting United States diplomatic personnel and

[[Page H7710]]

combating terrorism in Iraq in any redeployment strategy. The strategy 
would also include a justification of the minimum force levels required 
to protect United States national security interests in Iraq after 
April 1, 2008, based upon a description of the specific missions of the 
Armed Forces to be undertaken. Of those missions, the strategy would 
require an assessment of the extent to which military personnel would 
fulfill roles traditionally performed by diplomatic personnel.
  H.R. 2956 will generate Significant debate. Withdrawal timelines and 
a date have been discussed during recent debate on this issue. 
Consensus on this aspect of this bill will remain hard to reach. But 
this bill helps advances our national discussion with respect to the 
war in Iraq by calling for a new comprehensive strategy. Such a 
comprehensive strategy is long overdue.
  I introduced H.R. 744, the Iraq Policy Revitalization and 
Congressional Oversight Enhancement Act on January 31, 2007. H.R. 744 
would help enhance congressional oversight of Operation Iraqi Freedom 
by requiring the President to transmit periodically to Congress a 
consolidated, comprehensive report that would detail the terms of 
completion for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The bill would also require the 
President to seek to enter into a multilateral agreement--based on that 
plan--to help provide for the completion of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I 
am encouraged that the legislation before us today would require a 
similar plan be drafted by the President and communicated to Congress. 
Our soldiers and diplomats need a comprehensive, actionable plan that 
defines what it is that they need to accomplish in order to 
successfully complete their missions.
  It is true the Government of Iraq must increasingly shoulder the 
burden of, and better fulfill its obligation to, govern from moderate 
positions, with uniformity, and with regard to the rule of law. But 
recent history tells us that we cannot rely on the Government of Iraq 
to govern in that manner. As H.R. 744 notes, the inability or 
unwillingness of the Government of Iraq to govern in moderate terms 
contributes to violence against United States servicemembers and 
Coalition forces, creates barriers to national reconciliation in Iraq, 
and impedes the expeditious completion of Operation Iraqi Freedom and 
the return of our servicemembers to their peacetime duty stations. The 
outcome of policies that are overly dependent upon a reportedly broken, 
corrupt, and sectarian government delivering on complicated policies, 
against great odds, and during a compressed period of time is 
uncertain. This fact underscores the importance of and the need for a 
new comprehensive strategy.
  I believe that continued, honest and open exchange of views on the 
substance of what our country and our allies must achieve in Iraq in 
order to complete Operation Iraqi Freedom is needed. Finding an 
achievable, expeditious, and honorable way to complete Operation Iraqi 
Freedom should be a primary goal for all of us. We owe this to those 
who have sacrificed so much for this mission. But the situation in Iraq 
will not yield a solution easily. Nevertheless, we must endeavor to 
find one. In doing so we will be helping shape in the best way possible 
the legacy future generations of Americans will inherit and the one we 
will have to defend to history. The United States assumed a moral 
obligation to bring a minimum of order to Iraq when we, in a pre-
emptive manner, attacked that county four years ago. History will judge 
us harshly if we act to abandon this obligation. The consideration of 
H.R. 2956 allows us an opportunity to formulate a national strategy 
that more effectively addresses the realities of Iraq.
  Mrs. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support 
of H.R. 2956, the ``Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act.''
  This legislation would accomplish what the majority of the American 
people have said over and over that they support--the redeployment of 
American troops from Iraq. H.R. 2956 would require this redeployment to 
begin within 120 days, with completion to a limited presence by April 
1, 2008.
  The evidence continues to mount that the surge is not working. More 
than 3,500 troops have lost their lives and more than 26,000 have been 
wounded since this war began. The costs are too great to continue this 
failed policy.
  The progress report that was presented to Congress today states that 
the Iraqi government has made limited progress in meeting political, 
economic, or security benchmarks and in some instances has made 
virtually no progress at all. The President said that when the Iraqis 
stand up, our troops will stand down. More than four years later, we 
are still waiting.
  Increasingly, Republican senators are coming forward to announce that 
they support a change in policy in Iraq. I am glad that they are 
finally accepting what many of us have been saying for months. Yet the 
President continues to dig in by promoting his failed policy against 
the will of the American people and despite dwindling support within 
his own party.
  This bill establishes a new direction for our forces in Iraq. I urge 
my colleagues to listen to their constituents and support this 
legislation.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation 
calling for the safe and responsible redeployment of U.S. troops from 
Iraq. Make no mistake about it: The administration's incompetence in 
planning and executing the post-war occupation has brought us to this 
point. It is now Congress's responsibility to stand up for the majority 
of American voices who seek an end to this war. This bill provides for 
a redeployment of our troops not only so that they will be safe, but 
also so they will be focused on securing our Nation, not caught in the 
crossfire of a sectarian civil war in Iraq. We must provide for our men 
and women in uniform and their families.
  Some assert with no basis that the war in Iraq has made us safer 
when, in fact, the opposite is true. I am deeply troubled by today's 
report from the National Counterterrorism Center which states that al-
Qaeda is stronger now than at any point since 9/11. Terrorist cells 
capitalized on our preoccupations in Iraq to reestablish a presence in 
the Middle East and beyond. For years, the Administration has 
stubbornly insisted that Iraq is the central front of the War on 
Terrorism, but today's report clearly indicates just how damaging this 
war has been to our national security.
  The President's progress report on Iraq issued today shows 
unsatisfactory improvement of security benchmarks. The report predicts 
a rise in insurgent violence in the coming months and an increased 
effort to disrupt life for Iraqis. In addition, there appears to be no 
improvement in eliminating the sectarian influences that have 
infiltrated Iraqi security forces. This is not acceptable. The 
administration has not delivered on its promises in Iraq and now we 
must move forward to establish a new direction. It simply is not fair 
to ask our soldiers and marines to continue to police someone else's 
civil war. It is especially irresponsible when considering the 
mountains of evidence from our own intelligence agencies pronouncing 
that this conflict cannot be solved by our military might alone. We 
must refocus our attention on the true threats to our Nation and our 
citizens.
  Americans owe a debt of gratitude to our troops and their families 
for the sacrifices they have made during this difficult time. 
Servicemembers have had to endure difficult assignments and failed 
civilian leadership; but they have done so with honor and dignity. We 
must not forget the families who had to go without their loved ones for 
months at a time; the missed birthdays, baseball games, long nights 
away.
  Mr. Speaker, the time for talking has ended; we must act, without 
delay, to redeploy our brave troops out of Iraq.
  Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this 
legislation.
  The American people are not happy with the conflict in Iraq; I am not 
pleased either. Every day, my constituents tell me their concerns with 
Iraq, and I can understand their desire to put this behind us.
  The reality is, however, that we cannot snap our fingers and make 
things all better; it's not simply going to go away.
  My friends on the other side of the aisle have argued for years that 
we rushed headlong into Iraq without seriously considering the long-
term consequences. Yet with this legislation they are repeating the 
very same mistake, only in reverse.
  Staying the course is not a viable option, but neither is the fallacy 
of the orderly, phased withdrawal proposed by this legislation. You 
cannot gradually blow up a dam; once we begin to leave, chaos will 
immediately ensue. So I ask my colleagues, what do you propose to do 
after you order our troops away? What's your plan? Where's your 
responsible and workable strategy and vision?
  Unfortunately, such a scenario may prove inevitable. But my 
colleagues hold forth this legislation as a plan: it's not. It's 
political pabulum. It might give politicians cover, but it exposes our 
servicemen to danger even greater than they already face. Ethnic, 
tribal, and religious killings will increase by an order of magnitude. 
The current refugee situation, already a disaster for Iraq's neighbors, 
will be dwarfed by the exodus to come. Our own men and women in uniform 
will be standing in front of a tsunami of violence.
  What is required is a thoughtful, deliberative plan to make the best 
of an undeniably bad situation. Such a plan is embodied in the 
recommendations of the Iraq Study Group--the product of a concerted, 
bipartisan and sincere effort on the part of some of our brightest 
citizens.
  I have long advocated we seriously follow--or at least debate--the 
recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. Foreign policy and diplomatic 
issues are usually complicated, nuanced and multi-leveled; the 
situation in Iraq is no different. Yet all we have been given to 
consider are all-or-nothing propositions.

[[Page H7711]]

  I would welcome a bona fide discussion regarding how to move forward 
in Iraq and in the Middle East generally--that is what we owe the 
American people. What we have today is nothing but four hours cooing to 
the other side's base. This is not leadership. No amendments were made 
in order. There was no reaching out to Republicans like myself who felt 
the surge was a mistake and are looking for another direction. What we 
have is a framed ``take it or leave it,'' ``my way or the highway'' 
approach. That approach got us where we are--a healthy dialogue with 
options is needed to appropriately disengage.
  Two months remain until General Petraeus will be summoned before 
Congress. He will give us--as we have charged him to do--an honest 
assessment on where this ``surge'' has lead our troops and the Iraqi 
people. I hope at that time, whether his testimony reveals success or 
failure, this body will have the wherewithal to have a serious, open 
debate on what options we have left.
  Mr. CASTLE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the legislation 
before us today mandating a hard deadline for the Secretary of Defense 
to significantly reduce our troop presence in Iraq.
  Over the last several months, similar attempts on the part of the 
Democratic leadership to require an arbitrary date for troop withdrawal 
have gone nowhere, wasting precious time debating legislation that 
would be vetoed by the President. While I believe strongly that we must 
change course in Iraq and bring our men and women home, it would be a 
mistake for Congress to think it could disregard the complexity of this 
conflict by simply picking a random date for withdrawal. Forcing such 
an important decision without considering the advice of military and 
foreign policy leaders, could lead to the loss of many more lives and 
open the door for sectarian chaos to spread across the entire Middle 
East.
  For this reason, I have been a leading supporter of the Iraq Study 
Group, also known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission, which in December 
2006 outlined a comprehensive approach for bringing a responsible 
conclusion to the conflict in Iraq. In fact, in early 2007, I went to 
the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and called on the Bush 
Administration to change course in Iraq and implement the Study Group's 
recommendations for a new, robust diplomatic offensive in the Middle 
East. Since then, Secretary of State Rice has taken several encouraging 
steps to open the lines of communication with key nations like Iran and 
Syria, and I am hopeful that my efforts, and those of my colleagues, 
have prompted the White House to improve its diplomatic efforts in the 
region.
  This September, Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will 
submit a very important report regarding the conflict in Iraq. While I 
am hopeful that this report will show progress, I also feel strongly 
that we must begin developing a responsible postsurge strategy. 
Therefore, on June 5, 2007, I joined over forty other Members of 
Congress--Republicans and Democrats--in introducing the Iraq Study 
Group Recommendations Implementation Act. The Study Group 
recommendations, which would bolster diplomacy, improve political and 
economic reconstruction, and handoff the combat mission to the Iraqis, 
represent the first truly bipartisan proposal for ending this conflict 
and bringing Americans home.
  Clearly, there is no easy solution in Iraq. Still, it is extremely 
discouraging that the Democratic leadership continues to hold votes on 
``symbolic'' withdrawal timelines, while refusing to consider the 
bipartisan Iraq Study Group proposal--legislation that as of today has 
been cosponsored by 25 Democrats and 33 Republicans in the House.
  Mr. Speaker, the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton Commission serves as a 
model for how we must work together in a responsible fashion to 
stabilize Iraq and get our brave soldiers off the streets. Rather than 
wasting time debating arbitrary timelines that disregard the complexity 
of the situation, it is critical that we come together now in support 
of a responsible exit strategy. I am encouraged that thirteen 
additional Members of Congress have signed-on to the Iraq Study Group 
Implementation Act since we introduced it over a month ago and I am 
hopeful that Members from across the political spectrum will join me in 
uniting behind this crucial effort.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 2956 which, while 
a well-intended attempt to reduce our nation's seemingly unlimited 
military commitment in Iraq, is in so many respects deeply flawed.
  I have been one of the strongest opponents of military action against 
Iraq. I voted against the initial authorization in 2002 and I have 
voted against every supplemental appropriations bill to fund the war. I 
even voted against the initial ``Iraq regime change'' legislation back 
in 1998. I believe our troops should be brought back to the United 
States without delay. Unfortunately, one of the reasons I oppose this 
legislation is that it masquerades as a troop withdrawal measure but in 
reality may well end up increasing U.S. commitments in the Middle East
  Mr. Speaker, this is precisely the debate we should have had four 
years ago, before Congress voted to abrogate its Constitutional 
obligation to declare war and transfer that authority to the president. 
Some in this body were rather glib in declaring the constitution 
antiquated while voting to cede the ability to initiate hostilities to 
the President. Now we see the result of ignoring the Constitution, and 
we are bringing even more mayhem to the process with this legislation.
  To those who believe this act would somehow end the war, I simply 
point to the title for Section 3 of the bill, which states, 
``Requirement to reduce the number of armed forces in Iraq and 
transition to a limited presence of the Armed Forces in Iraq.'' However 
the number of troops are limited, this legislation nevertheless will 
permit an ongoing American military presence in Iraq with our soldiers 
continuing to be engaged in hostilities.
  I also wish to draw attention to Section 4(b)(1), which mandates the 
President to submit a ``Strategy for Iraq'' by the beginning of next 
year. This ``strategy'' is to include:

       A discussion of United States national security interests 
     in Iraq and the broader Middle East region and the 
     diplomatic, political, economic, and military components of a 
     comprehensive strategy to maintain and advance such interests 
     as the Armed Forces are redeployed from Iraq pursuant to 
     section 3 of this Act.

  In other words, far from extricating ourselves from the debacle in 
Iraq, this bill would set in motion a policy that could lead to a wider 
regional commitment, both financially and militarily. Such a policy 
would be disastrous for both our overextended national security forces 
and beleaguered taxpayers. This could, in fact, amount to an 
authorization for a region-wide ``surge.''
  Congress' job is to change the policy on Iraq, not to tell the 
military leaders how many troops they should have. I have attempted to 
do this with H.R. 2605, a bill to sunset after a six month period the 
authorization for military activity in Iraq. During this period a new 
plan for Iraq could be discussed and agreed. Plan first, authorization 
next, execution afterward. That is what we should be doing in Iraq.
  In summary, Mr. Speaker, this legislation brings us no closer to 
ending the war in Iraq. It brings us no closer to bringing our troops 
home. It says nothing about withdrawal, only about redeployment. It 
says nothing about reducing U.S. presence in the Middle East, and may 
actually lead to an expanded U.S. presence in the region. We have no 
guarantee the new strategy demanded by this legislation would not 
actually expand our military activities to Iran and Syria and beyond. I 
urge my colleagues to reject this legislation and put forth an 
effective strategy to end the war in Iraq and to bring our troops home.
  Mrs. JONES of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, today the administration released 
its ``Assessment Report'' on Iraq. While attempting to tout 
``progress,'' it is plain to see that this is more of the same rhetoric 
that has become so commonplace in this administration. The sad truth is 
that since President Bush launched this war, more than 3,600 American 
service men and women have been killed in Iraq, more than 26,000 have 
been injured, and the American taxpayer has spent nearly half a 
trillion dollars on this war.
  The report highlights that the Iraqi government has not met a single 
one of the 18 security, political, and economic milestones that the 
Congress laid out as measurements for success. It also substantiates 
the fact that of the 18 benchmarks Congress laid out, Iraqis are making 
progress on only eight. The report also shows us that Iraqi security 
forces are not providing even-handed enforcement of the law and that 
Militia presence is still a prevalent force within the security 
services of a number of ministries.
  It is for this reason that I am in support of the Responsible 
Redeployment from Iraq Act. In addition to requiring the redeployment 
of American forces this legislation requires the development of a 
comprehensive strategy for U.S. policy in Iraq and limits missions any 
remaining forces in Iraq may undertake to duties such as counter-
terrorism, and protecting American personnel at the embassy in Iraq.
  It has been said that faith without action is merely superstition. We 
now have the opportunity to change course in this war. My father was a 
World War II veteran. He died a few months ago at the age of 87. As I 
looked at the flag draped across his coffin, I thought about the many 
mothers, fathers and families that had to bury their loved ones, many 
of them barely adults, and see that flag draped across their caskets.
  I, along with the American people, have no more patience with regards 
to this war in Iraq. I've been to three deployments, five funerals and 
countless memorial services; I don't want to go to any more. I want to 
be able to go to one last homecoming celebration when we can bring an 
end to this war.

[[Page H7712]]

  Mr. ETHERIDGE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation.
  As a veteran of the U.S. Army myself, I strongly support our troops, 
our veterans and their families. Our troops have done everything they 
have been asked to do and done it exceptionally well. I am tremendously 
proud of all the troops from North Carolina and across America who have 
done their duty so admirably. They are our heroes, and we salute them. 
But as the Representative for Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base, I am 
very concerned about the state of readiness of America's armed forces.
  I have traveled to Iraq twice, and after I returned last year, I said 
the Administration must change this failed policy. Specifically, I said 
that we need more focus on the threat of international terrorists. The 
National Counterterrorism Center has released a report today entitled: 
``Al-Qaida Better Positioned To Strike the West'' that concludes Osama 
Bin Laden's network has been reconstructed while America's military is 
bogged down in the civil war in Iraq, with no end in sight.
  H.R. 2956, written by Chairman Ike Skelton of the Armed Services 
Committee, one of the most respected Members of this body and an expert 
on military policy, is a good first step for this needed new direction. 
It requires the Iraqi leaders to begin to provide for the security of 
their own country by redeploying American combat troops from the 
sectarian civil war and reconstituting our readiness and transitioning 
American forces to the mission of effective counterterrorism anywhere 
in the world where radical jihadists threaten America and our 
interests. Let me be clear that H.R. 2956 maintains the flexibility of 
the Commander in Chief to direct the operations of the armed forces. It 
simply calls for a change in policy and public accountability for a 
comprehensive U.S. strategy for Iraq.
  North Carolina's senior Senator stated it well this week when she 
said, ``It is my firm hope and belief that we can start bringing our 
troops home in 2008.'' This bill begins to do just that. I urge my 
colleagues to join me in voting for it.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of ``H.R. 2956, The 
Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act,'' and had I been on the floor 
today, I would have voted ``yes.''
  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to the fact that I was 
given the high honor of receiving the NAACP Spingarn Award. However, 
this is an extremely important piece of legislation. One of our 
greatest responsibilities is the protection of our soldiers. The 
Democrats are determined to end this war and bring our young men and 
women back home. H.R. 2956 will now provide such a policy that will 
allow us to meet our national security interests in Iraq and the 
broader Middle East region by maintaining a minimal force. The 
Administration has provided a failed policy and it is time for a new 
direction. We understand that this transition must be well thought out 
and handled responsibly; with a view toward an enduring national 
security interest in the region.
  This legislation, acknowledges that our military has accomplished the 
mission they were given in the original 2002 authorization to use force 
and that Iraq must now take leadership for its own future. For years 
Democrats have advocated for the responsible redeployment of American 
forces from Iraq. The relocation and redistribution of our soldiers is 
long overdue and enough American lives have been sacrificed for a 
failed policy. Democrats have argued that the Iraqis must take primary 
accountability for their country and their security. American presence 
in Iraq must be re-focused away from playing referee in a civil war. We 
must focus and limit our efforts to military missions such as counter-
terrorism, training Iraqi security forces and protecting American 
personnel at the embassy.
  The bill requires American forces to begin redeploying within 120 
days and to complete the transition to a limited presence by April 1, 
2008. The bill also requires a comprehensive strategy by January 1, 
2008 for U.S. policy in Iraq, including a discussion of American 
national security interests in Iraq and the broader region, the 
specific missions remaining forces would undertake, and minimum force 
levels required to accomplish them. Finally, it requires the President 
to submit updates on the use of and need for any forces remaining in 
Iraq every 90 days starting on July 1, 2008. The President has been 
given ample time to bring our soldiers home. It is now time for us to 
act on their behalf.
  I am committed to the homecoming of our brave men and women who have 
so valiantly completed their mission. So, I am honored to support this 
legislation.
  Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2956, 
Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act of 2007.
  For months, I, along with many of my colleagues in this chamber, have 
been calling on the President to forge a new direction with the war in 
Iraq. Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
  Despite failing to meet his own benchmarks of progress, despite new 
reports of the unsustainable cost of this war, despite the tremendous 
dissatisfaction and disenchantment of the American people and members 
of his own party--the President recently made public statements to the 
effect that he is unwilling to change the course and try a new 
strategy.
  The American people are dissatisfied with the deteriorating situation 
in Iraq. They are tired of finger-pointing and political gamesmanship. 
They want some answers, and they quite rightly expect and deserve one. 
As their elected representatives and leaders, I believe it is our 
responsibility in Congress to work together to move this country 
forward to an honest solution.
  It is clear that American troops have accomplished their military 
mission. Yet we have now tasked them with forging political compromise 
as well, leaving them in the middle of a burgeoning civil war in Iraq. 
It is widely recognized that the sectarian strife taking place in Iraq 
right now cannot be solved through military means alone, and the 
President's refusal to entertain any new strategies has put our troops 
in an untenable position. I cannot continue in good conscience to ask 
our brave troops to risk their lives because I don't believe their 
sacrifice is being met with an equal commitment from the Iraqi people. 
The tough but necessary political compromises are not being made.
  While the Iraqis are moving toward a transparent and effective 
government, what is missing is the necessary political accommodation to 
move the country towards reconciliation. Unfortunately, Iraqis by 
themselves appear incapable of achieving political progress. Instead, 
years later, they continue to lean on the United States and our 
military for stability, teetering on the brink of full-blown civil war 
without the will to make the political compromises necessary to peace.
  Be assured that I am the last person in this chamber that wants to 
take irresponsible actions that would take the country into complete 
chaos. But American military power is not the solution to the war. More 
troops, more time, more money--these are not the answers. Congress 
needs to understand, as the American people do, that we must begin 
planning for a responsible withdrawal and redeployment of U.S. troops 
from Iraq. H.R. 2956 provides for a safe and orderly reduction of 
troops in Iraq and a transition to a limited presence of American 
troops in country for force protection, training of Iraqi Security 
Forces, and counterterrorism missions. I urge my colleagues to support 
this measure.
  We must send a clear message to the Iraqi government that the 
patience of the American people is not endless, and that they must take 
control of their future. Passage of H.R. 2956 will help send that 
message.
  I believe strongly that we must not wait any longer to send this 
message. The time to act is now, to force the hand of this 
Administration and the Iraqi government. Waiting any longer will simply 
lead to more fatalities for U.S. soldiers, Iraqi military, and 
civilians.
  Finally, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks and undying 
admiration for our men and women in uniform for their service to our 
country. May God bless them and their families during this difficult 
time. May God provide his special blessings and care for those who fell 
in the line of duty. And may God continue to bless these United States 
of America.
  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bill 
because I strongly support a responsible redeployment of our troops 
from Iraq.
  It should not have been necessary for us to consider this bill today. 
Back in March, I voted for, and Congress passed, legislation that would 
have begun a draw-down of combat troops in favor of a disengagement 
strategy in Iraq. Regrettably, however, the president vetoed that 
legislation and then moved in exactly the opposite direction by 
escalating the number of troops committed to Iraq.
  So, while a war can't be effectively led by committee, by failing to 
exercise responsible leadership, the president continues to make it 
necessary for Congress to assert itself. And thus the House is acting 
again today--and whatever the outcome, we will act again and again 
until we find the necessary support to change course in Iraq.
  The war in Iraq has cost this Nation the blood of its soldiers, the 
treasure of its citizens, and the good will of our allies around the 
world. The average number of attacks, Iraqi civilian deaths, and 
coalition deaths are all at their highest levels since the invasion. 
Over 3,600 American soldiers have died in Iraq, and we are spending 
over $10 billion every month to continue this failed policy.
  As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I must point out that 
the time is rapidly approaching when we will not be able to sustain the 
numbers of troops now deployed in Iraq without calling back our 
National Guard and Reserve for second or third tours or extending the 
tours of current active duty troops beyond the already extended 15 
months.

[[Page H7713]]

  And our increasing military and financial commitment to Iraq limits 
our options for addressing other critical national security concerns 
even as a new intelligence report indicates that al Qaeda is 
operationally stronger than a year ago. The most disturbing news is 
that al Qaeda has regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001.
  Proponents of the President's escalation--the so-called ``surge''--
say we haven't given it a chance to succeed. But it has been under way 
since January, with the Iraqi government fully aware of the steps 
toward reconciliation it needs to take to enable U.S. forces to stay--
and still, those steps aren't being taken. Today's interim report from 
the Pentagon tries to make a bad situation look better, listing 
``satisfactory'' progress on a number of benchmarks required by the 
Congress several months ago. But in reality, as the report states, 
``the security situation in Iraq remains complex and extremely 
challenging,'' the ``economic picture is uneven'' and political 
reconciliation is lagging.
  I had hoped that by holding the president and the Iraqi government 
accountable for achieving these benchmarks, we would gain the leverage 
necessary to pressure the Iraqi government to forge the political 
solution we all know is required. But it appears that the Iraqi 
government is either unable or unwilling to bring its feuding factions 
together to achieve these goals.
  The Pentagon's report blames those of us pushing for redeployment for 
the lack of progress toward political reconciliation, saying it has 
been hampered by ``increasing concern among Iraqi political leaders 
that the United States may not have a long term-commitment to Iraq.''
  But if the Iraqis won't make progress when we're there--and then 
threaten that they can't make progress if we leave--under what 
conditions will we see progress? The president has asked Congress to 
wait to act for the next progress report due in September. But what are 
we waiting for? He has dressed up his new approaches in many different 
ways since this war started over four years ago, and yet little has 
changed.
  What we need--and what many Democrats and Republicans alike are 
calling for--is a responsible redeployment from Iraq. That is what the 
bipartisan Iraq Study Group ultimately called for, and that is the main 
reason I introduced legislation to implement its recommendations. I 
continue to hold out hope that we can forge a bipartisan consensus in 
favor of adopting the ISG as a foundation for a phased withdrawal 
strategy. I believe in this approach because responsible redeployment 
would allow Iraqis to take control of their own security by reducing 
U.S. combat forces while limiting the U.S. military to missions such as 
counter-terrorism, protecting U.S. Embassy personnel, and training 
Iraqi security forces. This bill will also allow necessary flexibility 
for our military forces to continue strikes against al Qaeda in Iraq.
  This legislation calls for the beginning of redeployment and a troop 
draw-down within the next four months. It takes a different approach 
from H.R. 2237, the bill introduced by Representative Jim McGovern (D-
MA) that I opposed two months ago, in that it would not prohibit 
funding for our troops already in Iraq, and it requires the president 
to submit a comprehensive strategy providing specific plans for 
diplomatic initiatives and justifying the number of U.S. troops who 
would remain and explaining their missions.
  I do question whether we can extricate all combat troops by April 
2008, as it calls for--it could take as long as six months to move over 
one hundred thousand soldiers and their gear and to do this safely. 
This is one military exercise that we have to take seriously and spend 
time and resources to plan--because it could mean life or death for our 
men and women in uniform. But I believe we should set a target date now 
and begin this planning. This bill would force a change in strategy and 
mandate the start of a phased withdrawal and redeployment, and that is 
why I will vote for it.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support 
of the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act. Delivering the solemn 
promise we made to set a new direction in Iraq, this legislation 
provides us with the opportunity to reaffirm our support for the 
responsible redeployment of our troops and a refocusing of our efforts 
on the real threat that is facing America--fighting al-Qaeda in 
Afghanistan, tracking down Osama bin Laden, and preventing another 
terrorist attack against America.
  Along with a great many of my colleagues, I spoke out against the 
President's surge strategy when it was announced in January. We argued 
then, as we reiterate today, that Iraq is engaged in a civil war and 
thus political, not military, solutions are needed to address the 
problems facing the region. Yet, the President continues to operate 
under the assumption that somehow, some way, there is a military path 
to success. In other words, his strategy continues to be ``stay the 
course'' writ large.
  It has now been seven months since the President announced his surge 
strategy, with the stated goal of providing stability in Iraq so that 
the political reforms that are needed to secure the region can take 
place. Since then, more than 25,000 additional troops have deployed to 
Iraq, of whom 600 have been killed and more than 3,000 have been 
wounded. All of this while the Iraqi government has failed to meet any 
of the benchmarks endorsed by the President in January, violence rates 
are at an all time high, and a recent government report estimates that 
al Qaeda is the strongest it has been since the aftermath of the 
September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
  Simply put, it is long past time for our involvement in this tragic 
episode to come to an end. The Iraqi people are the only ones that can 
bring a peaceful conclusion to this war.
  It is unfair to ask our troops and their families to continue to 
sacrifice while Iraqi leaders have done so little to achieve the 
political and security goals asked of them. Therefore, it is imperative 
that we begin the gradual redeployment of troops as soon as possible to 
protect their lives and ensure the safety of America.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate my opposition to this war. I believe 
the decision to invade Iraq is the single most devastating and 
misguided foreign policy decision our Nation has ever made. I will vote 
for the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act because I believe it is 
time to bring our troops home and end our involvement in this civil 
war.
  Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of 
The Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act, and I thank Chairman 
Skelton for his leadership and his dedication to the readiness of our 
troops and the continuing excellence of the United States armed forces.
  The President continues to ask this Congress and the American people 
to ``stay the course'' in Iraq. Well, Mr. President, today the American 
people and the Congress say, ``No more!!''
  Instead, I add my voice once again to the growing number of retired 
military generals, the Iraq Study Group, and untold thousands of rank-
and-file on the front lines who are calling for a new direction in 
Iraq.
  The success of our military depends on a sound strategy. Yet, instead 
of fighting terrorists in the mountains of Afghanistan, our armed 
forces are overextended after four years of refereeing a civil war in 
the sands of Iraq.
  The President's escalation of this war,--his so-called ``surge''--is 
not working. That much is clear. Since the escalation of this war 6 
months ago, more than 25,000 troops have been sent to Iraq, 600 more 
U.S. soldiers have died and more than 3,000 troops have been wounded. 
Countless thousands of Iraqis are dead, and today the violence in Iraq 
is at an all-time high!
  Our troops have performed heroically in Iraq, but the Iraqi 
government has failed to meet any of the benchmarks endorsed by the 
President in January. Political reconciliation within Iraq is non-
existent. A change of course is long overdue.
  The time has come for the United States to responsibly re-deploy our 
troops from Iraq and to refocus our efforts on protecting Americans 
from terrorism. The time has come for Iraqis to take primary 
responsibility for their country and their security.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill will do exactly that.
  Let me be clear on one additional point. Democrats support the 
troops. As a Member of the Appropriations Committee, I have 
consistently voted to fund our troops and provide our soldiers in the 
line of fire with the resources they need.
  I do this because our brave service men and women are not risking 
their lives each and every day for one political party or the other. 
They are risking their lives for America.
  Our Nation owes our troops a strategy that is worthy of their 
sacrifice. But ``stay the course'' is not that strategy. It is a slogan 
that continues to fail them.
  No, Mr. Speaker, if we really want to support our troops, it is now 
time to get them out of Iraq and re-deploy them to other areas where 
they can fight the terrorists who have attacked, and who continue to 
threaten our Nation.
  Ms. DeGETTE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2956, the 
``Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act.''
  This legislation mandates that we begin withdrawing our troops from 
Iraq within 120 days of enactment. This redeployment would have to be 
completed by April 2008. This is a commonsense measure to bring an end 
to our military involvement in Iraq. Frankly it is mindboggling that 
American troops are still fighting there in the first place.
  For over 4 years we have worked to establish a secure, safe, and 
peaceful democracy in Iraq. Our military has done a valiant job in 
doing everything we asked of it. We have lost over 3,600 soldiers and 
more than 26,000 have been wounded in this effort. We have spent about 
$450 billion. Unfortunately, death and destruction still reign in Iraq.
  President George W. Bush's plan is not working and the evidence of 
failure is mounting. President Bush announced his troop

[[Page H7714]]

``surge'' 6 months ago. During that time about 600 troops have been 
killed, 3,000 have been wounded, and $60 billion has been spent. The 
recently released White House interim report shows there to have been 
unsatisfactory progress by the Iraqi government in meeting many of the 
benchmarks laid out by President Bush back in January.
  With respect to President Bush's political benchmarks, the Iraqi 
government has made unsatisfactory progress on all of them. What this 
Iraqi civil war requires is an Iraqi political compromise, but the 
available evidence suggests that no one within the government is 
willing to make the sacrifices needed to make that happen. Why should 
American soldiers continue to sacrifice under such circumstances? Not 
one more drop of American blood should be shed in pursuit of President 
Bush's failed Iraq policy.
  The American people agree. Recent polling shows that over 60 percent 
of the American people now believe sending troops to Iraq was a mistake 
and 71 percent support withdrawing our forces by April 2008, just as 
H.R. 2956 would require.
  Despite the views of the American public and the clear evidence on 
the ground that our continued military presence in Iraq is not the 
solution, President Bush stubbornly refuses to change course and bring 
our troops home. Congress has the power and obligation to do what is 
right and force a new policy. Passing H.R. 2956 is the first step on 
that road, and I encourage all of my colleagues to vote in favor of 
this reasoned legislation.
  Mr. ORTIZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bill to begin a 
responsible redeployment of our forces now in Iraq. The defense of our 
homeland is paramount and we are vulnerable for an attack. The war in 
Iraq has damaged the readiness of our military. Our ability to defend 
our Nation is at stake.
  Today's report on benchmarks is further evidence that this 
Administration can only see the situation in Iraq through rose-colored 
glasses. It's time for serious policy makers--for American patriots--to 
find a way out of Iraq so we can focus on defending our Nation against 
al Qaeda, as well as other threats to national security.
  This administration has no plan to defend the United States, and they 
did great damage to the defense of this country with the ``catch and 
release'' operation they had on our southern border. ``Catch and 
release'' sent all non-Mexicans who came in illegally to the interior 
of the Nation with a paper compelling them to return for deportation.
  By virtue of ``catch and release'' we face the prospect of possibly 
hundreds of cells already in country awaiting an attack order.
  What happens if al Qaeda attacks a nuclear facility? Do we have a 
plan for that? Who moves into defensive and containment posture? Do we 
even have the troops presently in country to provide that defense and 
containment?
  What happens if there is an attack on a military base? There will be 
military officials nearby, but how will they respond?
  What happens if there is a bio-chemical attack in an American city? 
Who responds--and how will our citizens be protected?
  A shoulder launched weapon from a building top in New York, 
Washington DC, or another major American city would be devastating . . 
. and show our lack of preparation 6 years after 9/11 when many of us 
ran from these buildings, not sure we would ever see them again.
  Today's report about the resurgence of al Qaeda is no surprise for 
us. Ever since Congress was deliberately misled by the President into 
authorizing the Iraq war in 2002, the war in Iraq sucked precious 
resources away from our focus on al Qaeda. When we invaded Iraq in 
2003, the Iraq al Qaeda presence was in a single village in Kurdistan 
along the Iranian border. Today, it is impossible to estimate the 
number of al Qaeda fighters we have drawn to Iraq through our invasion.
  We inadvertently aided al Qaeda through our invasion of Iraq by 
giving al Qaeda a recruitment opportunity for radical Muslims 
throughout the Middle East; giving al Qaeda the means to perfect urban 
warfare; tying down our military in Iraq, giving al Qaeda space to grow 
and operate, and most urgently, deeply damaging the readiness of the 
U.S. military and making the U.S. less safe for ourselves and our 
children.
  At least one branch of this government must begin the painfil process 
of finding an ending to our involvement in a civil war we facilitated.
  Many colleagues here seem to believe our withdrawal will leave behing 
an even bloodier civil war. I agree; but that will be the case whenever 
we leave there . . . be it today, tomorrow, next year, or a decade from 
now. The only difference we can make in that regard is how many 
American souls will die on the Iraqi battlefield between now and the 
day our forces withdraw.
  Others have pinned all hope on the fledgling Iraqi government seated 
on March 16, 2005 . . . a government that has been unable to elect a 
Speaker for their Parliament and rarely produces a quorum. We have lost 
1,282 American soldiers during the same time.
  Bear in mind, al Qaeda is not the only threat we face in the future . 
. . North Korea, the militarization of South America . . . and many 
other threats are a reality for this nation in the decade to come. We 
must be prepared for all of them.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge the adoption of this bill.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution.
  It is long past time that the disaster in Iraq is brought to an end.
  The President's failed policy in Iraq has been repudiated by the 
bipartisan Iraq Study Group, his inability to extricate the United 
States from a quagmire in the desert has been rejected by the voters, 
and we must change course. The President has proven himself to be 
either blind to the reality on the ground in Iraq or simply uncaring of 
what that reality means for the stability of the Middle East and the 
security of the United States of America.
  The President took this country to war on false premises. There were 
no weapons of mass destruction, there was no imminent threat, there 
were no operational ties to al-Qaeda. And the administration knew, 
because we had U.N. weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq for months 
before the invasion, that the so-called ``intelligence'' pointing to an 
active and dangerous Iraqi WMD program was simply wrong. Over and over 
again, Hans Blix and his teams of inspectors would launch surprise 
visits on sites that the CIA had pointed them to, and over and over 
again the U.S. intelligence would be proved incorrect.
  We have been fighting in Iraq longer than we fought in the Second 
WorId War. Within a few months, we will have spent more money in Iraq 
than we did in the more than 10 years we were in Vietnam. And while a 
very small segment of our citizenry is being asked to make the ultimate 
sacrifice for this adventure by sending their loved ones to war, the 
Bush administration has given billions of dollars in tax breaks to the 
richest Americans. If this war were truly a national struggle, 
underpinned by the faith and support of the public, the sacrifices 
would be shared by all instead of borne by the few.
  Since President Bush infamously declared ``Mission Accomplished'' 
over 4 years ago, the situation has only gotten worse and worse. The 
administration never had a plan to win the peace, and still does not, 
and as a result the peace cannot be won. Our brave men and women in 
uniform are caught in the midst of a multifaceted civil war which can 
only be brought to an end with political reconciliation, not military 
engagement.
  Unfortunately, the President stubbornly refuses to understand the 
nature of the conflict into which he has dragged us. He refuses to 
change course, but more of the same cannot any longer be an option. We 
must extricate ourselves from a sectarian civil war which is bleeding 
our military every single day. This bill will begin the responsible 
redeployment of US forces out of Iraq within 120 days, and complete 
that deployment by April 1, 2008. On that date, we will have been in 
Iraq for more than 5 years.
  Mr. Speaker, I commend Chairman Skelton for bringing this resolution 
before us and I urge its adoption.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the rule and urge my 
colleagues to support the bill.
  It has become painfully obvious that the White House is incapable of 
changing course in Iraq. The Bush administration's talking points about 
the situation in Iraq change from week to week, but the fundamental 
strategy remains the same. The President is determined that our troops 
will remain in Iraq no matter what.
  The latest White House talking points are aimed at getting the 
American people to believe that the surge in Iraq just began a couple 
weeks ago, instead of 6 months ago. In fact, the President announced 
the surge back on January 10, and the troop escalation began in early 
February.
  The White House is emphasizing today that it finds that Iraq is 
making ``satisfactory'' progress in some areas, such as the cooperation 
between U.S. forces and tribal sheiks in Anbar province as well as the 
formation of a Constitutional Review Committee, although the 
constitutional review itself is not complete. The reality is that the 
Iraqi Government has not approved a law to share Iraq's oil wealth. It 
has not enacted legislation to reform the De-Ba'athification laws. It 
has not disarmed the militias. It has not made progress on ensuring 
that Iraqi Security Forces are providing even-handed enforcement of the 
law. It has not made progress toward increasing the number of Iraqi 
Security Forces units capable of operating independently. It has not 
made satisfactory progress toward establishing a date for provincial 
elections.
  In the past 6 months, nearly 600 of our troops have died. More than 
13,000 Iraqis have died. The level of violence in Iraq has not 
decreased. The violence and attacks have

[[Page H7715]]

simply shifted away from places where our forces are concentrated.
  Six months into the surge, there is no indication that the Iraqis are 
coming together to make the political decisions necessary to end the 
sectarian violence that is tearing their country apart. Time has shown 
that whatever small chance there is of the Iraqi factions coming 
together, it will not happen as long as the U.S. military commitment in 
Iraq remains open-ended. We need to change course. The bill before the 
House does just that. It requires the Department of Defense to begin a 
phased and orderly redeployment of our combat troops from Iraq starting 
in 120 days of enactment, with the troop reduction to be complete by 
April 1, 2008. No other way has worked to convince the Iraqis that they 
need to step up and reach a political settlement to end the sectarian 
violence.
  Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, I commend my good friend and colleague, Armed 
Services Chairman Ike Skelton, for authoring H.R. 2956, the 
``Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act.'' the Democratic Congress has 
drawn a line in the sand with this bill. It requires accountability 
from the Administration that the American people demand and deserve: 
stop the open-ended commitment in Iraq; stop the surge; and, stop 
sending our brave men and women in uniform to fight a ``winnable'' war. 
We have given this Administration enough time, enough U.S. blood, and 
too much hard-earned American dollars.
  Let's call this war what it is--a civil war.
  The solution for Iraq is not military. The solution for Iraq is 
political and diplomatic. We must once again engage our allies and 
Iraq's neighbors to renew a quest for a peaceful solution in Iraq. I 
urge my colleagues to support H.R. 2956. Support our valiant troops by 
voting to bring them home. Now.
  Mr. MITCHELL. Mr. Speaker, in January, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-
Maliki publicly committed to meeting a set of benchmarks, including 
quelling sectarian violence, disarming sectarian militias and 
developing a plan to share oil revenues equitably among all Iraqis.
  In May, Congress, in a bipartisan way, made clear that the Iraqi 
government should be held accountable for meeting those benchmarks and 
required the President to report on the Iraqi Government's progress in 
meeting those goals.
  That report, which was released today, demonstrates the President's 
surge is failing and that the Iraqi Government is failing to meet the 
benchmarks it agreed to meet 7 months ago.
  The Iraqi Government has not moved toward national reconciliation. 
This morning, we learned that Director of Central Intelligence General 
Michael Hayden, an accomplished four-star general, told the bipartisan 
Iraq Study Group 8 months ago that Iraq's leaders are ``unable to 
govern.''
  Now, the inability of the Iraqi Government to govern seems 
irreversible. If there is no functioning government in Iraq, how do we 
expect to fix the problems in that country militarily?
  We continue to see the serious consequences that result from that 
inability to govern. Sectarian violence has not been quelled; it 
continues to escalate. Sectarian militias have not been disarmed; they 
continue to wreak havoc. There has been no progress on a plan to share 
oil revenues equitably among all Iraqis.
  The situation is rapidly deteriorating and American troops are caught 
in the crossfire.
  Continued U.S. involvement in Iraq must be contingent on the Iraqi 
Government keeping its word. Benchmarks without accountability are not 
benchmarks at all. They are blank checks. And I refuse to allow the 
Iraqi Government, or any government, to have a blank check on American 
lives.
  The time has come to redeploy American troops from Iraq and reduce 
the U.S. military role in Iraq. We must do so in a responsible way that 
will help us better meet our strategic objectives and renew our fight 
against global terrorism.
  I am convinced that this course, combined with stepping up our 
diplomatic efforts, provide the best opportunity to achieve our 
strategic objectives, reduce sectarian violence and force Iraq's 
leaders to get serious about Iraqi reconciliation and stabilization 
efforts.
  As their failure to meet the benchmarks clearly illustrates, Iraq's 
leaders are unwilling and incapable of moving toward national 
reconciliation. If the United States allows the Iraqi government to 
have an open-ended timetable to meet these benchmarks, and demands no 
accountability, our troops may literally be in harm's way forever. We 
cannot continue to allow the safety of our troops to be placed in the 
hands of Iraqi leaders who have failed to keep their word or are 
incapable of meeting their obligations.
  Make no mistake: the deteriorating situation in Iraq is not a result 
of military failure. Our nation's armed forces crushed Saddam Hussein's 
regime in one of the most complete and impressive military victories in 
the history of our country.
  The disaster in Iraq is a result of the Bush Administration's failure 
to plan and failure to listen. It is a result of misplaced trust in the 
Malaki government. It is a result of mismanagement and incompetence.
  Even worse, the administration's failed policy in Iraq has limited 
the success of our mission in Afghanistan, and hindered our ability to 
destroy al Qaeda's international operations. As a result, U.S. 
intelligence analysts say al Qaeda is the strongest it has ever been 
since the September 11, 2001, attacks. We must renew our commitment to 
leading the fight against global terrorism and destroying al Qaeda.
  Our Nation is at a critical crossroad in Iraq, and Congress has a 
difficult choice to make. But one thing is clear: staying the course is 
not an option. We can ill afford to continue down the same course of 
failure that has undermined our mission in Iraq, and undermined our 
ability to protect our Nation from terrorist threats.
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bill. If enacted, 
this act would compel the President to begin redeploying our troops 
from Iraq not later than 120 days after it becomes law. It creates the 
appropriate framework and mechanisms for ensuring an orderly withdrawal 
of our forces, and it puts the responsibility for Iraq's security where 
it belongs--on the Iraqis.
  But once again, the President has declared--long before this bill was 
brought to the House floor--that he would veto it or any other measure 
that attempted to correct his failed policy in Iraq. He has become 
intransigent and disconnected from the reality on the ground in Iraq, 
and indifferent to the will of the American people.
  The President's much-vaunted ``surge'' has been underway for 6 months 
now, and the results are obvious: Iraq is no less violent and chaotic 
than before the ``surge'' began. Indeed, American casualties--both 
killed and wounded--have been on the rise for nearly a year, long 
before the surge started. By pouring more troops into Iraq, the 
President has simply given the insurgents more targets to shoot at.
  Perhaps, even worse, he is ruining our ability to work with other 
countries to foster peace in the Middle East, and he is fanning the 
flames of a conflagration that is now likely to engulf other countries 
around Iraq.
  The President's refusal to change course in Iraq is an enormous 
injustice to the brave Americans he has put in harm's way. Our troops 
accomplished the goal of removing Saddam Hussein from power more than 4 
years ago. They accomplished the mission that they were given--and then 
were given another mission for which they were not provided the proper 
equipment and resources: being forced to act as referees in Iraq's 
growing civil war. Our troops deserve better.
  Moreover, the President and his advisors have continued their well-
established pattern of moving the goal post on his Iraq policy. Every 
year, the Congress has been told that Iraq's security forces would be 
ready to assume responsibility for their country's security in 12 to 18 
months. And every time we reached that 12 to 18 month benchmark, the 
Administration would reset the goal post another 12 to 18 months down 
the road. The American people have had enough of this bait-and-switch 
game. Iraqis must accept responsibility for their country's future.
  Indeed, the President's troop increase has played into the hands of 
Iraq's current government, which continues to claim that the additional 
American forces are needed to quell the violence--without mentioning 
that it is Prime Minister Maliki's own policies that are helping to 
fuel that violence. Prime Minister Maliki's refusal to purge his 
security forces of militias and sectarian death squads is a prime 
reason why Sunni insurgents continue their attacks against Iraq's 
security forces. Prime Minister Maliki's refusal to compromise on the 
distribution of power and oil revenue among Iraqis is why the 
insurgency has only gained in intensity over the past year. How long 
will we continue to provide military and financial support to his 
corrupt and ineffectual government? How much longer should our brave 
fighting men and women serve as referees in the middle of a spreading 
civil war?
  If passed, this bill would compel Iraq's leaders to face the fact 
that we will not continue to indefinitely provide for their country's 
security with the lives of America's military men and women, and that 
they must take the necessary political steps needed to end the 
violence. It is for all of these reasons that I urge my colleagues on 
both sides of the aisle to support this bill.
  Mr. STARK. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of ending the War in Iraq.
  Last November, the American people demanded a new direction for Iraq. 
Today, the new Democratic Congress is taking a concrete step toward 
bringing our troops home.
  The Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act sends a loud and clear 
message to President Bush. It requires the President to begin 
withdrawing American forces in the next 120

[[Page H7716]]

days and to complete the transition to a limited presence by April 1, 
2008.
  This legislation is an important and historic step forward, but it 
does not go far enough. I support the immediate withdrawal of all 
American troops.
  Not next year. Not next month. Today.
  I oppose additional funding for the war because the situation in Iraq 
isn't getting better, it's getting worse. Since Bush announced his 
intent to escalate the war and deploy an additional 20,000 American 
troops, 600 have been killed and more than 3,000 have been wounded.
  And for what? The administration just acknowledged in a 
congressionally mandated report that since the ``surge,'' there has 
been little to no progress on a host of political, security and 
economic benchmarks proposed by the President himself.
  In total, the war has taken the lives of more than 3,600 American 
service men and women and injured more than 26,000. Countless innocent 
Iraqis have been killed or maimed.
  This loss of life is obscene and must stop.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 2956 and commit to 
withholding additional money for Iraq when Congress debates the next 
war funding bill in September.
  Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Mr. Speaker just a little over a week ago I 
traveled to Fort Bragg in North Carolina to see yet another 100 men and 
women of the Virgin Islands National Guard off to Iraq.
  Among those who left on Sunday and are now deployed, there are 
several who are doing their second tour as well as a father and his 
daughter.
  It was not easy, but I put my best face forward while there because I 
knew that it was much harder--extremely difficult--for their families.
  Mr. Speaker, the only reason I could smile and be upbeat in my 
message to them is because I knew Democrats would be here today, 
passing this measure to set a time limit for our troops to be deployed 
in Iraq and to begin their return home.
  And so Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this resolution as the first 
step to ending U.S. involvement in the civil war that Iraq has become. 
And I will be here in full support on the efforts that will follow to 
close Guantanamo and to ensure that the White House responds in a 
timely and appropriate manner to what they are being directed to do in 
H.R. 2956 today.
  And I hope we will insist that he does so long before January 2008.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to once again applaud 
your leadership and that of Chairman Ike Skelton.
  Because of H.R. 2956, ``The Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act'', 
and the measures that will follow, I am confident we will see a day, in 
the not too distant future, when no other American or son or daughter 
of our allies will die for a war we cannot justify.
  Ms. KILPATRICK. Mr. Speaker, the Greek historian Herodotus is often 
called the ``father of history.'' In his work, The Histories, he 
attempted to chronicle the origin and outcome of the Greco-Persian War 
so that future generations could learn from experience. Unfortunately, 
for the men and women in Iraq and their families and for the American 
people, President Bush refuses to use what we have learned to revise 
our strategy for Iraq, redeploy our troops, and refocus on the 
priorities and protection of America's families.
  The President continues to insist that America's involvement in the 
war in Iraq is an integral part of the war on terrorism. The Iraq Study 
Group, among other objective observers, repeatedly refuted this 
statement. Perhaps worse than this statement is that, despite the 
President's claims, the evidence indicates that progress is not being 
made in Iraq:
  America's families unjustly continue to bear the burden of war; they 
have paid the price with the loss of 3,600 lives and with injuries to 
26,000 service men and women. The order of nature has been violated--
fathers and mothers are burying their sons and daughters. How many more 
of our loved ones will pay the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of 
others?
  America's families have paid more than $450 billion in taxes that 
have been use to fund failure instead of our future. We build stronger 
families and a stronger America when we provide our citizens with 
access to quality education, affordable housing and healthcare, well-
paying jobs, and financial security. How much more will we spend before 
we realize that the very foundation of our future has crumbled beneath 
our feet?
  The Iraqi Government has failed to meet critical benchmarks endorsed 
by the President in January. The President has said, ``when they stand 
up, we'll stand down.'' The Iraqis have not amended their Constitution, 
passed an equitable oil sharing law, reformed laws to provide 
government jobs to former members of the Ba'ath Party, or held 
provincial elections. When are the Iraqis going to stand up?
  Seventy percent of Americans support withdrawing almost all U.S. 
troops from Iraq by April 2008; half do not believe that the increase 
in U.S. forces since January of this year has made a difference. In 
addition, several Republicans have joined Democrats in calling for a 
new direction in Iraq. However, the President continues to wage a war 
with complete disregard for the concerns of the American people and the 
counsel of military leaders. When will the President connect the dots 
and see that the picture he has drawn is not a pretty one?
  The Iraq Study Group stated that the use of the military in Iraq has 
passed; it is time for diplomacy to take place. Regrettably, diplomacy 
has not been seriously considered by the President, and internecine 
warfare and outright civil war has filled the vacuum of this viable 
option in Iraq. Also, the refugee problem in Iraq has worsened the 
situation in the Middle East; to date, the United States has taken in 
less than 200 refugees from Iraq after promising to take in thousands. 
Why haven't we taken in more refugees or fully allowed diplomacy to 
bear fruit?
  These are among the many reasons why I support H.R. 2956, the 
Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act. I have opposed this war from 
the beginning and have been engaged in a continuing fight to change 
course. While our troops have performed heroically, violence remains 
high, and we must remove them from harm's way; we must require Iraqis 
to take responsibility for their own fate, and we must refocus on 
investing in America's families. This legislation--which is consistent 
with the advice of military and foreign policy experts, ensures the 
safety of our men and women in uniform, addresses our commitment to 
fighting terrorism, and reflects the will of the American people--
allows us to do just that. This bill:
  Acknowledges that our military has accomplished the mission they were 
given in the original 2002 authorization to use force and that Iraq is 
now responsible for its own future.
  Requires American forces to begin redeploying within 120 days and to 
complete the transition to a limited presence by April 1, 2008.
  Reiterates that the redeployment must be done in a safe and orderly 
way, with maximum attention paid to the protection of American forces.
  Requires a comprehensive strategy by January 1, 2008, for U.S. policy 
in Iraq, including a discussion of American national security interests 
in Iraq and the broader region, the specific missions remaining forces 
would undertake, and minimum force levels required to accomplish them.
  Names specific missions that the President must consider, but it does 
not require or authorize those missions.
  Requires the President to submit updates on the use of and need for 
any forces remaining in Iraq every 90 days starting on July 1, 2008.
  Dag Hammarskjold, a Swedish statesman and United Nations official, 
once said, ``There is a point at which everything becomes simple and 
there is no longer any question of choice, because all you have staked 
will be lost if you look back. This is life's point of no return.'' 
Certainly, the President and administration have reached that point. 
For them, the decision to stay the course is simple because it is too 
difficult to admit failure. However, as the representative for 670,000 
of God's best in Michigan's 13th Congressional District, I am willing 
to make the hard choices. I believe the majority of my colleagues are, 
too.
  The President can no longer afford to let his pride get in the way of 
making the right decision. Our troops, our families, our international 
reputation, and our future are at stake.
  In the Bible, we read in Chronicles 7:14 that ``If my people, which 
are called by my name, shall humble themselves . . . and turn from 
their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and . . . will heal 
their land.'' The international community--the billions of us who 
inhabit our home of planet earth--are children of God. We must learn to 
walk in the light and in love. It is out of my love of God, my love of 
the Constitution, my love of this country, and my love of my 
constituents, that I ask my colleagues to join me in support of the 
Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act.
  Ms. LINDA T. SAENCHEZ of California. Mr. Speaker, today we take a 
firm stand against the President's tragic war policy in Iraq. Today we 
vote on H.R. 2956--the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act.
  This legislation is another appeal to a tone-deaf administration that 
our current path in Iraq is failing. The American people have had 
enough. They have had enough of the needless bloodshed; they've had 
enough of the misleading explanations; they've had enough of the broken 
promises; they've had enough of the lack of vision from this President.
  The President's policy is based on false pretenses, for which there 
are now only imperfect options. After losing more than 3,500 of our 
servicemembers, and spending close to half a trillion dollars, it is 
time to bring our troops home. I salute the courage and professionalism 
of our soldiers who have served our country in Iraq. They overthrew an 
authoritarian regime and captured a dictator. Now it

[[Page H7717]]

is time for our commander-in-chief to bring them home. The ongoing 
instability in Iraq is a political problem that requires a political 
solution.
  To continue to ask our service men and women to make the ultimate 
sacrifice for this misguided policy is simply immoral. I urge my 
colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation because we must 
bring our troops home.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 533, the bill is considered read and the 
previous question is ordered.
  The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.


        Motion to Recommit Offered by Mrs. Wilson of New Mexico

  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I offer a motion to recommit.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentlewoman opposed to the bill?
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. In its present form, I am.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion to 
recommit.
  The Clerk read as follows:
       Mrs. Wilson of New Mexico moves to recommit the bill, H.R. 
     2956, to the Committee on Armed Services with instructions to 
     report the same back to the House forthwith with the 
     following amendment:
       Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
     following:

     SEC. 1. ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE.

       Section 101(f) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 
     of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801(f)) is amended to read as follows:
       ``(f) `Electronic surveillance' means--
       ``(1) the installation or use of an electronic, mechanical, 
     or other surveillance device for acquiring information by 
     intentionally directing surveillance at a particular known 
     person who is reasonably believed to be in the United States 
     under circumstances in which that person has a reasonable 
     expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for 
     law enforcement purposes; or
       ``(2) the intentional acquisition of the contents of any 
     communication under circumstances in which a person has a 
     reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be 
     required for law enforcement purposes, if both the sender and 
     all intended recipients are reasonably believed to be located 
     within the United States.''.

                              {time}  1730

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. For what purpose does the gentleman from 
Missouri rise?
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I have just received the motion just a few 
moments ago, and I reserve a point of order against the motion now 
pending.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. A point of order is reserved.
  Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from New Mexico is recognized 
for 5 minutes in support of her motion.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


                             Point of Order

  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, let me make the official point of order, if 
I may.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Speaker. 
Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Missouri is recognized. 
He has the right to insist upon the point of order.
  Mr. SKELTON. I do insist on it as of this moment, Mr. Speaker.


                         Parliamentary Inquiry

  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. For what purpose does the gentlewoman from 
New Mexico rise?
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, was I not recognized to 
explain my motion to recommit?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman raised a point of order, and 
he had a right to insist upon the point of order, which he so put to 
the Chair.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. May I speak on the point of order, Mr. 
Speaker?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. At the appropriate time.
  The gentleman from Missouri.


                             Point of Order

  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I raise the point of order that the motion 
to recommit that was just handed to me moments ago, a motion to 
recommit with instructions, relates to electronic surveillance and is 
not germane to the bill in front of us, which deals with Iraq, and I 
claim the point of order that it is not germane and should be stricken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Does any other Member wish to be heard on 
the point of order?
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I wish to be heard on the 
point of order.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from New Mexico is 
recognized.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
  This motion to recommit would do one very simple and vital thing that 
is critical to the security of this country, more critical than the 
underlying resolution itself, and I am begging you and pleading with 
you to take up this issue.
  The motion to recommit would do a very simple thing. It would say 
that the United States can listen to phone conversations of terrorists 
overseas without a warrant. Why does that matter? It matters because 
intelligence is the first line of defense in the war on terror, and we 
are now knowingly operating with our fingers in our ears and our hands 
over our eyes.
  Recent testimony in front of this Congress by Director McConnell----
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman will suspend.
  The gentleman from Missouri.
  Mr. SKELTON. The gentlelady is not addressing the point of order. 
She's giving a closing argument. I urge the Chair to rule that she must 
confine her remarks to the point of order that I have raised.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is correct.
  The Chair reminds the gentlewoman that debate on the point of order 
must address the point of order and only the point of order.
  The gentlewoman from New Mexico.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
  I am addressing the point of order and why it is germane, and I think 
that that's important for this House to understand, and I will continue 
with my explanation.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman may continue provided the 
remarks are confined to the point of order.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. My remarks will be confined to the 
importance of the point of order and its germaneness.
  Director of National Intelligence McConnell recently said in 
testimony to this House that we are actually missing a significant 
portion of what we should be getting. That is true not only in Iraq and 
Afghanistan but for the war on terror in its whole.
  This is critical to the security of this country.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman will suspend.
  For what purpose does the gentleman from Missouri rise?
  Mr. SKELTON. I urge the Speaker to have the lady confine her remarks 
to the point of order that is pending before the House.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from New Mexico is once 
again reminded that the remarks on the point of order must be confined 
to the point of order.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is what I am 
attempting to do.
  The question in the point of order has to do with germaneness and the 
relevance of my motion to recommit to the underlying bill with respect 
to the Iraq resolution. That is what I'm trying to explain to the 
House. If my colleague from Missouri would give me a little latitude, I 
will continue to explain.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Missouri is right. The 
gentlewoman's remarks are not confined to the point of order at issue 
before this House.
  The gentlewoman may address the point of order.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
  We have a responsibility in this House to do things that matter, the 
things that are in our lap and our responsibility. There is something 
squarely in the lap of this House, and it

[[Page H7718]]

is our responsibility to deal with the national security matters at 
hand.
  We all remember where we were on the morning of 9/11 and what we were 
doing, who we were with.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman will suspend.
  For what purpose does the gentleman from Missouri rise?
  Mr. SKELTON. I, again, urge the Chair to request the gentlelady to 
address the point of order, that this is not germane to the bill 
regarding Iraq that is before us.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman's point is taken.
  The gentlewoman is once again advised that the remarks on the point 
of order must confine themselves closely to the point of order. If not, 
the Chair will recognize other Members to speak on a point of order. If 
no others seek recognition, the Chair will rule.
  Does the gentlewoman from New Mexico wish to proceed?
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would wish to 
proceed.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman is recognized.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. The question of germaneness is very 
important here. The reality is that this underlying bill deals with an 
issue of national security vital to this country, and the most 
important vital issue that this body must deal with today is to make 
sure we have the ability to listen to our enemies. That is the first 
line of defense in the war on terror, and that is what we are willfully 
ignoring.
  I would urge my colleagues to vote for the motion to recommit, and if 
this point of order is sustained, I would ask my colleagues to vote to 
challenge the ruling of the Chair.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I respectfully request a ruling on my point 
of order on the motion to recommit.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Does any Member wish to speak on the point 
of order? If no other Member wishes to address the point of order, the 
Chair is prepared to rule.
  The gentleman makes a point of order that the instructions contained 
in the motion to recommit offered by the gentlewoman from New Mexico 
are not germane.
  Clause 7 of rule XVI, the germaneness rule, provides that no 
proposition on a ``subject different from that under consideration 
shall be admitted under color of amendment.''
  One of the central tenets of the germaneness rule is that an 
amendment should be within the jurisdiction of the committees whose 
jurisdiction is reflected in the bill.
  The bill, H.R. 2956, was referred to the Committees on Armed Services 
and Foreign Affairs.
  The instructions in the motion to recommit offered by the gentlewoman 
from New Mexico address the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 
1978, a law within the jurisdictions of the Committee on the Judiciary 
and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  Because they address a matter outside the jurisdictions broached by 
the bill, the instructions in the motion to recommit are not germane.
  The point of order is sustained. The motion is not in order.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I move to appeal the ruling 
of the Chair.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is, shall the decision of the 
Chair stand as the judgment of the House?


                 Motion to Table Offered by Mr. Skelton

  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I move to table the motion.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion to table.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and 
nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XX, this 15-
minute vote on the motion to lay the appeal on the table will be 
followed by a 5-minute vote on the question of passage, if arising 
without further debate or proceedings in recommittal.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 224, 
nays 197, not voting 10, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 623]

                               YEAS--224

     Abercrombie
     Ackerman
     Allen
     Altmire
     Andrews
     Arcuri
     Baca
     Baird
     Baldwin
     Barrow
     Bean
     Becerra
     Berman
     Berry
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Blumenauer
     Boren
     Boswell
     Boucher
     Boyd (FL)
     Boyda (KS)
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Brown, Corrine
     Butterfield
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardoza
     Carnahan
     Carson
     Castor
     Chandler
     Clarke
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Cooper
     Costa
     Costello
     Courtney
     Cramer
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Cummings
     Davis (AL)
     Davis (CA)
     Davis, Lincoln
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delahunt
     DeLauro
     Dicks
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Donnelly
     Doyle
     Edwards
     Ellison
     Ellsworth
     Emanuel
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Etheridge
     Farr
     Fattah
     Filner
     Frank (MA)
     Giffords
     Gillibrand
     Gonzalez
     Gordon
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hall (NY)
     Hare
     Harman
     Hastings (FL)
     Herseth Sandlin
     Higgins
     Hill
     Hinchey
     Hinojosa
     Hirono
     Hodes
     Holden
     Holt
     Honda
     Hooley
     Hoyer
     Inslee
     Israel
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Jefferson
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Jones (OH)
     Kagen
     Kanjorski
     Kaptur
     Kennedy
     Kildee
     Kilpatrick
     Kind
     Klein (FL)
     Kucinich
     Lampson
     Langevin
     Lantos
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lipinski
     Loebsack
     Lofgren, Zoe
     Lynch
     Mahoney (FL)
     Maloney (NY)
     Markey
     Matheson
     Matsui
     McCarthy (NY)
     McCollum (MN)
     McDermott
     McGovern
     McIntyre
     McNerney
     McNulty
     Meek (FL)
     Meeks (NY)
     Melancon
     Michaud
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Mitchell
     Mollohan
     Moore (KS)
     Moore (WI)
     Moran (VA)
     Murphy (CT)
     Murphy, Patrick
     Murtha
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal (MA)
     Oberstar
     Obey
     Olver
     Ortiz
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor
     Payne
     Perlmutter
     Peterson (MN)
     Pomeroy
     Price (NC)
     Rahall
     Rangel
     Reyes
     Rodriguez
     Ross
     Rothman
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruppersberger
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Salazar
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schwartz
     Scott (GA)
     Scott (VA)
     Serrano
     Sestak
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Shuler
     Sires
     Skelton
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Snyder
     Solis
     Space
     Spratt
     Stark
     Stupak
     Sutton
     Tanner
     Tauscher
     Taylor
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tierney
     Towns
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Van Hollen
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walz (MN)
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters
     Watson
     Watt
     Waxman
     Weiner
     Welch (VT)
     Wexler
     Wilson (OH)
     Woolsey
     Wu
     Wynn
     Yarmuth

                               NAYS--197

     Aderholt
     Akin
     Alexander
     Bachmann
     Bachus
     Baker
     Barrett (SC)
     Bartlett (MD)
     Barton (TX)
     Biggert
     Bilbray
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (UT)
     Blackburn
     Blunt
     Boehner
     Bonner
     Bono
     Boozman
     Boustany
     Brady (TX)
     Brown (SC)
     Brown-Waite, Ginny
     Buchanan
     Burgess
     Burton (IN)
     Buyer
     Calvert
     Camp (MI)
     Campbell (CA)
     Cannon
     Cantor
     Capito
     Carney
     Carter
     Castle
     Chabot
     Coble
     Cole (OK)
     Conaway
     Crenshaw
     Culberson
     Davis (KY)
     Davis, David
     Davis, Tom
     Deal (GA)
     Dent
     Diaz-Balart, L.
     Diaz-Balart, M.
     Doolittle
     Drake
     Dreier
     Duncan
     Ehlers
     Emerson
     English (PA)
     Everett
     Fallin
     Feeney
     Ferguson
     Flake
     Forbes
     Fortenberry
     Fossella
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gallegly
     Garrett (NJ)
     Gerlach
     Gilchrest
     Gillmor
     Gingrey
     Gohmert
     Goode
     Goodlatte
     Granger
     Graves
     Hall (TX)
     Hastert
     Hastings (WA)
     Hayes
     Heller
     Hensarling
     Herger
     Hobson
     Hoekstra
     Hulshof
     Hunter
     Inglis (SC)
     Issa
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones (NC)
     Jordan
     Keller
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kingston
     Kirk
     Kline (MN)
     Knollenberg
     Kuhl (NY)
     LaHood
     Lamborn
     Latham
     LaTourette
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (KY)
     Linder
     LoBiondo
     Lucas
     Lungren, Daniel E.
     Mack
     Manzullo
     Marchant
     Marshall
     McCarthy (CA)
     McCaul (TX)
     McCotter
     McCrery
     McHenry
     McHugh
     McKeon
     McMorris Rodgers
     Mica
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Moran (KS)
     Murphy, Tim
     Musgrave
     Myrick
     Neugebauer
     Nunes
     Pearce
     Pence
     Peterson (PA)
     Petri
     Pickering
     Pitts
     Platts
     Poe
     Porter
     Price (GA)
     Pryce (OH)
     Putnam
     Radanovich
     Ramstad
     Regula
     Rehberg
     Reichert
     Renzi
     Reynolds
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Roskam
     Royce
     Ryan (WI)
     Sali
     Saxton
     Schmidt
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shadegg
     Shays
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Souder
     Stearns
     Sullivan
     Terry
     Thornberry
     Tiahrt
     Tiberi
     Turner
     Upton
     Walberg
     Walden (OR)
     Walsh (NY)
     Wamp
     Weldon (FL)
     Weller
     Westmoreland
     Whitfield
     Wicker
     Wilson (NM)
     Wilson (SC)
     Wolf
     Young (FL)

[[Page H7719]]



                             NOT VOTING--10

     Berkley
     Conyers
     Cubin
     Davis (IL)
     Davis, Jo Ann
     Jindal
     Lowey
     Paul
     Tancredo
     Young (AK)

                              {time}  1803

  Messrs. TURNER, TOM DAVIS of Virginia, SHUSTER, Mrs. MYRICK, and Mr. 
TERRY changed their vote from ``yea'' to ``nay.''
  Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California, and Messrs. ISRAEL, DINGELL, RUSH, and 
GORDON of Tennessee changed their vote from ``nay'' to ``yea.''
  So the motion to table was agreed to.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the bill.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. This will be a 5-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 223, 
nays 201, not voting 8, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 624]

                               YEAS--223

     Abercrombie
     Ackerman
     Allen
     Altmire
     Andrews
     Arcuri
     Baca
     Baird
     Baldwin
     Bean
     Becerra
     Berman
     Berry
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Blumenauer
     Boswell
     Boucher
     Boyd (FL)
     Boyda (KS)
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Brown, Corrine
     Butterfield
     Capps
     Capuano
     Cardoza
     Carnahan
     Carson
     Castor
     Chandler
     Clarke
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Cooper
     Costa
     Costello
     Courtney
     Cramer
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Cummings
     Davis (AL)
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (IL)
     Davis, Lincoln
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delahunt
     DeLauro
     Dicks
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Donnelly
     Doyle
     Duncan
     Edwards
     Ellison
     Emanuel
     Emerson
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Etheridge
     Farr
     Fattah
     Filner
     Frank (MA)
     Giffords
     Gilchrest
     Gillibrand
     Gonzalez
     Gordon
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hall (NY)
     Hare
     Harman
     Hastings (FL)
     Herseth Sandlin
     Higgins
     Hill
     Hinchey
     Hinojosa
     Hirono
     Hodes
     Holt
     Honda
     Hooley
     Hoyer
     Inslee
     Israel
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Jefferson
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Jones (NC)
     Jones (OH)
     Kagen
     Kanjorski
     Kaptur
     Kennedy
     Kildee
     Kilpatrick
     Kind
     Klein (FL)
     Lampson
     Langevin
     Lantos
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lipinski
     Loebsack
     Lofgren, Zoe
     Lowey
     Lynch
     Mahoney (FL)
     Maloney (NY)
     Markey
     Matsui
     McCarthy (NY)
     McCollum (MN)
     McDermott
     McGovern
     McIntyre
     McNerney
     McNulty
     Meek (FL)
     Meeks (NY)
     Melancon
     Michaud
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Mitchell
     Mollohan
     Moore (KS)
     Moore (WI)
     Moran (VA)
     Murphy (CT)
     Murphy, Patrick
     Murtha
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal (MA)
     Oberstar
     Obey
     Olver
     Ortiz
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Pastor
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peterson (MN)
     Pomeroy
     Price (NC)
     Rahall
     Rangel
     Reyes
     Rodriguez
     Ross
     Rothman
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruppersberger
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Salazar
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schwartz
     Scott (GA)
     Scott (VA)
     Serrano
     Sestak
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Shuler
     Sires
     Skelton
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Solis
     Space
     Spratt
     Stark
     Stupak
     Sutton
     Tanner
     Tauscher
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tierney
     Towns
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Van Hollen
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walz (MN)
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters
     Watson
     Watt
     Waxman
     Weiner
     Welch (VT)
     Wexler
     Wilson (OH)
     Woolsey
     Wu
     Wynn
     Yarmuth

                               NAYS--201

     Aderholt
     Akin
     Alexander
     Bachmann
     Bachus
     Baker
     Barrett (SC)
     Barrow
     Bartlett (MD)
     Barton (TX)
     Biggert
     Bilbray
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (UT)
     Blackburn
     Blunt
     Boehner
     Bonner
     Bono
     Boozman
     Boren
     Boustany
     Brady (TX)
     Brown (SC)
     Brown-Waite, Ginny
     Buchanan
     Burgess
     Burton (IN)
     Buyer
     Calvert
     Camp (MI)
     Campbell (CA)
     Cannon
     Cantor
     Capito
     Carney
     Carter
     Castle
     Chabot
     Coble
     Cole (OK)
     Conaway
     Crenshaw
     Culberson
     Davis (KY)
     Davis, David
     Davis, Tom
     Deal (GA)
     Dent
     Diaz-Balart, L.
     Diaz-Balart, M.
     Doolittle
     Drake
     Dreier
     Ehlers
     Ellsworth
     English (PA)
     Everett
     Fallin
     Feeney
     Ferguson
     Flake
     Forbes
     Fortenberry
     Fossella
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gallegly
     Garrett (NJ)
     Gerlach
     Gillmor
     Gingrey
     Gohmert
     Goode
     Goodlatte
     Granger
     Graves
     Hall (TX)
     Hastert
     Hastings (WA)
     Hayes
     Heller
     Hensarling
     Herger
     Hobson
     Hoekstra
     Holden
     Hulshof
     Hunter
     Inglis (SC)
     Issa
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jordan
     Keller
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kingston
     Kirk
     Kline (MN)
     Knollenberg
     Kucinich
     Kuhl (NY)
     LaHood
     Lamborn
     Latham
     LaTourette
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (KY)
     Linder
     LoBiondo
     Lucas
     Lungren, Daniel E.
     Mack
     Manzullo
     Marchant
     Marshall
     Matheson
     McCarthy (CA)
     McCaul (TX)
     McCotter
     McCrery
     McHenry
     McHugh
     McKeon
     McMorris Rodgers
     Mica
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Moran (KS)
     Murphy, Tim
     Musgrave
     Myrick
     Neugebauer
     Nunes
     Pearce
     Pence
     Peterson (PA)
     Petri
     Pickering
     Pitts
     Platts
     Poe
     Porter
     Price (GA)
     Pryce (OH)
     Putnam
     Radanovich
     Ramstad
     Regula
     Rehberg
     Reichert
     Renzi
     Reynolds
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Rohrabacher
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Roskam
     Royce
     Ryan (WI)
     Sali
     Saxton
     Schmidt
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shadegg
     Shays
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Snyder
     Souder
     Stearns
     Sullivan
     Taylor
     Terry
     Thornberry
     Tiahrt
     Tiberi
     Turner
     Upton
     Walberg
     Walden (OR)
     Walsh (NY)
     Wamp
     Weldon (FL)
     Weller
     Westmoreland
     Whitfield
     Wicker
     Wilson (NM)
     Wilson (SC)
     Wolf
     Young (FL)

                             NOT VOTING--8

     Berkley
     Conyers
     Cubin
     Davis, Jo Ann
     Jindal
     Paul
     Tancredo
     Young (AK)


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (during the vote). Members are advised that 2 
minutes remain in this vote.

                              {time}  1813

  So the bill was passed.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________