Debate on Iraq Accountability Act Conference Report

April 25, 2007
Tonight, the House will vote on the Iraq Accountability Act reported out of conference committee. The bill is grounded in the realities of the war in Iraq, recognizes the strain that this war is placing on our military, recognizes the urgency to hold the Iraqi government accountable, and honors our commitment to our veterans, instead of the failure to meet those commitments that exists now.

As part of the legislation, conferees approved a responsible plan to redeploy U.S. forces in Iraq paired with progress made by the Iraqi government in meeting diplomatic and security benchmarks. The bill will hold the President accountable for meeting his own military readiness standards for our troops. The Iraq Government will also be held accountable for meeting political, economic and security benchmarks established by the Bush Administration and the Iraqis themselves.

This bill is consistent with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and has the support of many retired military generals. The President has to face the reality on the ground in Iraq. And he has to face the reality of accountability in this Congress.

Rep. Jim McGovern:

"He refuses to listen. He refuses to acknowledge the facts. He refuses to compromise. Now he has threatened to veto this conference report. And if he does so, then this president will make perfectly clear to the American people that the only way that this war will end, the only way our troops will ever come home to their families and loved ones, the only way that the Iraqis will ever be held accountable for governing their own country and ending their sectarian violence, will be if Congress finds a way to end it."

Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton:

"But the lesson of all of this is the lack of readiness of the United States Army as it was in 1950. Our job is to see that that does not ever happen again. This bill, this rule, this resolution, is the right one for our time."

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee:

"It is not the policies of this Democratic majority that is causing this absolute disaster. It is the misdirected policies of those in the Administration who are causing harm to our soldiers. Let me thank our soldiers for their leadership, for their service and their patriotism. But as I stand here today and look at my Members, the Speaker of the House who went into the Middle East, Mr. Giuliani, there is no white flag on this side of the aisle and I reject your insult and insensitivity."

Rep. Rahm Emanuel:

"According to our military leaders, the status quo is not working in Iraq. Major General Batiste said 'the administration got it terribly wrong and I applaud Congress for stepping up.' Lt. Gen. Wm. E. Odom said our bill 'gives the president a chance to pull back from a disastrous course, re-orient US strategy to achieve regional stability, and win help from many other countries -- the only way peace will eventually be achieved.'"

Rep. Louise Slaughter:

"I couldn't believe the testimony of Tillman's brother yesterday and Jessica Lynch who said the military lied about them. What are we doing in this country? The country that fought the second World War to save this world, we've been reduced to this? We decide as long as the stock market is good, the world is good and let them go over there and die because we are going to give them some kind of government we don't even know they want. For heaven's sakes, for every man and woman and country there comes a moment to decide. This is one of those moments."