Friday, December 16, 2005

repugs once again play divisive politics instead of working for a solution

House GOP Bill Rejects Iraq Withdrawal
WASHINGTON - Republicans sought political advantage Friday by forcing a vote to put the House on record once again rejecting calls for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.

Just weeks ago, the Republican-controlled chamber voted against an immediate pullout.

Democrats called the fresh vote, like they did the previous one, a political stunt, and offered an alternative resolution that would simply congratulate Iraqis for three successful elections in Iraq this year.

But Republicans rejected that.

As a result, "the majority has chosen to give us an ugly and divisive debate," said Rep. Tom Lantos of California, the top Democrat on the House International Relations Committee.


The GOP resolution says the House is committed "to achieving victory in Iraq" and that setting an "artificial timetable" would be "fundamentally inconsistent with achieving victory."

Some Democrats objected to the frequent use of the word victory. "What is victory? Nobody has defined what victory is," Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said.

A vote would force Democrats to choose whether to support the resolution — and stand with Republicans — or oppose it, opening themselves up to criticism, on the eve of a congressional election year in which Iraq will be a focus, that they had rejected the notion of victory in Iraq.

The resolution "honors the tremendous sacrifices" of U.S. forces and praises Iraqis for voting in parliamentary elections Thursday. It says U.S. forces would be required in Iraq "only until Iraqi forces can stand up so our forces can stand down, and no longer than is required for that purpose."

The House GOP maneuvered for a vote in the face of Democratic calls for an immediate or eventual troop pullout, which have intensified since a prominent hawk, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said last month it was time for U.S. troops to start coming home. Some Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, have lined up behind him.

Seeking to kill momentum that was building behind Murtha's call for withdrawal, House Republicans forced a vote rejecting the immediate pullout of U.S. forces just before adjourning for Thanksgiving break. Democrats called the quick vote a political ploy that prevented thoughtful debate on Murtha's proposal — and almost all voted against withdrawal in what they said was a protest.

House Democrats have been voicing disparate positions on Iraq in the weeks since Murtha announced his proposal, and some members have been taking steps aimed at building a consensus position.

On Thursday, a group of 26 party members — led by Rep. Ellen Tauscher of California — sent a letter to President Bush urging him to follow four principles they say should guide future policy in Iraq.

"Over the next twelve months the United States should stand down its military personnel and participation in Iraq as the Iraqi government takes increased responsibility for its political and security needs," the letter said.

Signatories included Democratic whip Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and the senior Democrats on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, Reps. Ike Skelton of Missouri and Jane Harman of California, respectively.

Really disgusting! The Dems are attempting to come to a reasonable conclusion to this disaster that is Iraq and the repugs simply keep playing politics and coming up with absurd publicity stunts aimed at creating talking points to use against the Dems.

Via the Stakeholder - John Murtha responses