LEVIN STATEMENT ON US POLICY IN IRAQ

Dec 16, 2005

(Washington D.C.)- U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak) today opposed a resolution on U.S. policy in Iraq that was offered by the Republican House Leadership. The resolution, under the guise of commending the people of Iraq for their December 15 election, spends more time trying to justify an open-ended commitment of U.S. troops in Iraq than on congratulating the Iraqis.  Democrats were not allowed to offer amendments to the resolution or offer a nonpartisan resolution expressing congratulating the Iraqi people on their elections and commending our troops. The resolution offered by the House Leadership was adopted on a vote of 279 to 109, with 34 Members voting present to protest the closed procedure under which the resolution was considered by the House.  

Below are Rep. Levin's statement: 

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, millions of Iraqis went out and voted for a new, national parliament, and I applaud them for doing so.  I also commend the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, who helped the Iraqi people vote in safety.  Our troops are doing a difficult job in Iraq.

I do not favor immediate withdrawal.  Opposition to immediate withdrawal is not a substitute for a clear and detailed American strategy in Iraq, nor is blindly staying the course.  What is needed is coming to terms with what the course should be--a plan regarding completion of our presence in Iraq.

Last month, the Senate adopted an amendment to the Defense bill that requires the President to submit such a plan to Congress, an amendment I strongly support.  Indeed, I favor the more rigorous version of the amendment that was offered in the other body.  In addition to requiring the Administration to provide Congress with a detailed strategy in Iraq with measurable benchmarks, the Administration would also provide Congress with estimated dates for the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq as each condition is met.

Unfortunately, the resolution before the House is transparently political. The House should reject it.