[Congressional Record Volume 153, Number 72 (Thursday, May 3, 2007)]
[Pages H4469-H4470]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                              {time}  1600

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Sarbanes). Under a previous order of the 
House, the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ellison) is recognized for 5 
  Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my disappointment 
and outrage at President Bush's veto of the Iraq War supplemental bill. 
By vetoing this bill, the President has vetoed the will of the American 
people, and it is the President who is denying funding for our troops.
  The President has vetoed a responsible funding bill for the troops 
that would have provided more funding for our troops and military 
readiness than the President requested. The President rejected a bill 
that reflects the will of the American people to wind down this war. 
The American people sent this message very strongly last November.
  By vetoing this bill, Mr. Speaker, President Bush vetoed: One, fully 
funding our troops, and providing $4 billion more than the President 
requested; honoring our veterans by providing $1.8 billion more for 
veterans health care. Is $900 million for treating traumatic brain 
injury pork? Is $20 million to repair facilities at Walter Reed pork?
  By vetoing this bill, the President has vetoed accountability for the 
Iraqi Government, and he has vetoed his own benchmarks that he laid out 
January 10 in his speech to the Nation. Let me quote from that speech.
  ``A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. 
Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are 
accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and 
communities. So America will hold the Iraqi Government to the 
benchmarks it has announced.
  ``To establish its authority, the Iraqi Government plans to take 
responsibility for security over Iraq's provinces by November. To give 
every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass 
legislation to share oil revenues.
  ``To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections 
next year and allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political 
light, the government will reform de-Baathification laws and establish 
a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's Constitution. 
America will change our approach to help the Iraqi government as it 
works to meet these benchmarks.''
  Mr. Speaker, the supplemental contained these benchmarks directly 
quoted from the President's speech. So was the President's call for 
benchmarks a sincere request or what?
  Providing the President with a clean supplemental bill simply 
provides him a blank check for the same failed policies in Iraq he has 
rejected and vetoed, his own benchmarks, as I simply quoted his speech.
  New evidence keeps emerging that clearly points to a new direction in 
Iraq. Despite the President's constant claims of ``progress,'' the 
facts are otherwise. The U.S. death toll in Iraq reached 104 in April, 
making it the deadliest month of the year and one of the deadliest of 
the entire war.
  Republican Senator Chuck Hagel recently returned from Iraq and paints 
a bleak picture. ``This is coming undone quickly, and Prime Minister 
Maliki's government is weaker by the day. The police are corrupt, top 
to bottom. The oil problem is a huge problem. They still can't get 
anything through parliament.'' That is a quote from someone who just 
went there, Senator Chuck Hagel.
  Over the weekend, the Special Inspector General for Iraq 
Reconstruction released his quarterly report and paints a dispiriting 
picture of our $20 billion rebuilding efforts. For example, an audit of 
the facilities in Iraq discovered serious maintenance and operational 
problems, with seven out of

[[Page H4470]]

eight facilities audited. The report concludes that ``The U.S. project 
to rebuild Iraq remains far short of its targets, leaving the country 
plagued by power outages, inadequate oil production, and shortages of 
clean water and health care.''
  Mr. Speaker, it is time to hold the Iraqi Government accountable. 
This bill's timetable and benchmarks finally hold the Iraqis and the 
President accountable. As Major General Paul Eaton stated, ``This bill 
gives General Petraeus leverage for moving the Iraqi Government down a 
more disciplined path laid out by the Iraq Study Group. The real 
audience for the time-line language is Prime Minister al-Maliki.''
  Even Defense Secretary Robert Gates has noted that the timetable is 
helpful and sends a message that ``The clock is ticking.'' Gates said, 
``The strong feelings expressed by Congress about a timetable probably 
have had a positive impact in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that 
this is not an open-ended commitment.'' That is Secretary Gates.
  This bill represents the views of the American people. The latest CBS 
News/New York Times poll from April 26: 64 percent of Americans favor a 
timetable that provides a withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Iraqi in 
  Mr. Speaker, it is time for accountability. The veto was wrong, and 
we must stand firm.