December 06, 2006
Wyden Says Congress Must Vote on Iraq
Lawmakers Need to Vote on Presidents Decision to Stay Until 2009 Washington Today, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) went to the floor of the Senate to call for a vote on the Presidents plan and budget for Americans continued involvement in Iraq. Wyden, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, cited the need for Congress to have a role as a co-equal branch of government in the future of the war-ravaged nation.I rise today to offer a simple proposition: Congress should act like a co-equal branch of government and vote on whether or not to keep American troops in Iraq for at least three more years, said Wyden on the Senate floor today. I simply ask the President to come to Congress and describe his plan and his budget, in detail, and let us consider its potential to succeed before we, with our silence, consent to three more years of exceptionally costly involvement in Iraq. That vote, if held, won't be about cut-and-run. It won't be about who comes up with the best spin. It will be about holding the President and Congress accountable. The vote will hold the President accountable for presenting a plan and a budget for securing the peace. And the vote will hold Congress accountable by making it finally act like a co-equal branch of government.Wyden called for the White House to bring a plan to Congress in the coming weeks. He said: Just as the President made the case to go to war, he owes it to Congress and the American people to come to Congress and lay out his plan and a budget for achieving a lasting peace in Iraq. Congress owes it to the American people and the institution to vote. If the President refuses to come to Congress in the coming weeks with his plan and his budget to win the peace in Iraq, Congress owes it to the American people to vote up or down on whether to keep American troops in Iraq for at least three more years.Wyden outlined five concerns that the Presidents plan on Iraq should address. They include:" How the President can help make the Iraqis self-reliant so that they can defeat the deadly insurgency;" How the President intends to help Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish leaders break the political impasse so that they can form a unity government;" How the President intends to pull the Iraqi people back from the brink of all-out civil war and the specter of another Rwanda or Darfur;" How the President intends to help rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure and ensure that Iraqis have access to basic services like electricity and clean water; and" How the President intends to bring the troops home from Iraq.The Senator, who voted against authorizing the use of force again Iraq in October 2002, cited the history of the situation as a reason for deeper Congressional involvement.When the Senate voted in October 2002 to send troops to Iraq, few Americans believed then that the US military would be in Iraq in 2006, let alone 2009, or beyond. Based on what the Bush Administration said then, Americans would be justified in thinking that by now, Iraq would be free and democratic. Based on what the Bush Administration said then, Americans would be justified in thinking that by now, Iraq would be stable and self-supporting. Based on what the Bush Administration said then, Americans would be justified in thinking that by now, the vast majority of US forces, if not all of them, would be safely back home. Unfortunately, the rosy forecast put out by the White House and the Pentagon in 2002, perished in the harsh reality of Iraq.