Pelosi: Democrats Urge the President to Work With Us on Iraq

December 5, 2006
'Good morning. During the election the American people spoke out for a New Direction. They said that no place was a New Direction more necessary than in the war on Iraq.

'So it is fitting that today we have come together, including our incoming freshman class, to focus on policy regarding Iraq. We heard from leaders in the field: Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Dr. Jessica Mathews, Major General John Batiste, Congressmen Ike Skelton, the Chair of the Armed Services Committee, and John Murtha, the Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

'What we heard today is that there are no easy answers in Iraq. It's a difficult challenge for our country and it requires our fullest attention and decision-making that is hard-nosed to make a New Direction.

'We predicated some of the conversation in a letter that Senator Reid, myself and others in the leadership sent to the President on October 20. At that time, we reiterated our concern that 'stay the course' was not a strategy, but a slogan. We urged the President to work with us in a bipartisan way and we presented four changes to current policy: first, redeployment and transition of our troops out of Iraq; second, disarm the militia; third, have an international conference to discuss with the countries in the region the stability and reconstruction of the region, especially Iraq; and fourth, to amend the constitution to relieve some of the civil strife and to spread some of the political advantages that the elections there promised.

'We have not heard back from the President on that. We still extend the hand of friendship to him in a bipartisan way to make our country safer, to make the region more stable, and to strengthen our military.'