House Democratic Leaders Call President's Attention to Crucial Facts in Iraq War Debate
Below is the text of the letter:
April 20, 2007
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As you know, Congress is working to produce a supplemental appropriations bill that will provide for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Disclosures this week by officials in the Department of Defense contradict repeated claims made by officials in your Administration in an effort to influence the outcome of congressional deliberations and public opinion. We therefore wanted to make sure you were aware of the facts on two critical issues relating to the supplemental.
First, on the value of timelines for redeployment of our troops from Iraq, Secretary of Defense Gates said this week: "The debate in Congress...has been helpful in demonstrating to the Iraqis that American patience is limited...the strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable probably has had a positive impact... in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment."
Given the consideration that Secretary Gates has to give on a daily basis on how best to advance U.S. policy interests in Iraq, his views on the value of debating timetables for redeployment should be given great weight. Unlike some in your Administration who have been playing politics by criticizing the debate in Congress over responsible timelines, Secretary Gates recognizes that debating the timelines is constructive because it exerts pressure on Iraq's leaders to forge political compromises.
Second, despite claims by some in your Administration that our troops in Iraq would be harmed if additional funding is not provided quickly, the Comptroller of the Army has made clear this week that money currently available to the Department of Defense can pay for the war until the end of June. Although it is the intention of Congress to send you an appropriations measure next week, should you follow through on your threat not to sign it, it is clear that there is ample time to work together to devise an alternative.
Congressional leaders are willing to work cooperatively with you on all matters relating to the war in Iraq. The bill we will send you provides for our veterans, protects our troops, rebuilds our military, holds the Iraqi government accountable, and responsibly winds down this war.
To work cooperatively, all parties must acknowledge what the facts are. We hope that you will take this letter in the spirit of clarifying the facts on these two vital matters.
Thank you for your consideration of our views.
Speaker of the House
Steny H. Hoyer
James E. Clyburn
John B. Larson
Caucus Vice Chairman
Assistant to the Speaker