Pelosi: 'The President Wants a Blank Check; the Congress is Not Going to Give It to Him'
Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke this evening at a press availability in the Capitol this evening after President Bush vetoed the Iraq Accountability Act. Below are Pelosi's remarks:
'Thank you, Mr. Leader. Earlier today, the leader and I sent to the President a bill that made a strong commitment to support our men and women in uniform and a strong commitment to honor our promises to our veterans.
'This is a bill that was worthy of the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. It was a bill that honored and respected the wishes of the American people to have benchmarks, to have guidelines, to have standards for what is happening in Iraq, again, out of respect for the wishes of the American people.
'We had hoped that the President would have treated it with the respect that a bipartisan legislation, supported overwhelmingly by the American people, deserved.
'Instead, the President vetoed the bill outright, and, frankly, misrepresented what this legislation does. This bill supports the troops. In fact, it gives the President more than he asked for for our troops -- and well they deserve it. They have done their duties excellently. They have done everything that has been asked of them. All of this without, in some cases, the training, the equipment, and a plan for success for them.
'The President wants a blank check. The Congress is not going to give it to him.
'The President said in his comments that he did not believe in timelines, and he spoke out very forcefully against them. Yet, in 1999, on June 5, then-Governor Bush said, about President Clinton: 'I think it's important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they would be withdrawn.'
'Despite his past statements, President Bush refuses to apply the same standards to his own activities. If the President thinks that what is happening on the ground in Iraq now is progress, as he said in his comments tonight, then it is clear to see why we have a disagreement on policy with him.
'I agree with leader Reid. We look forward to working with the president to find common ground. But there is great distance between us right now.'