Pelosi Remarks After Bipartisan Meeting With White House Officials on Iraq
Washington, D.C.--Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey held a press availability in the Speaker's office this morning immediately following their meeting with Republican leaders and White House officials regarding the Iraq Accountability Act. Below are Pelosi's opening remarks:
'Thank you, Mr. Leader. My condolences on the loss of your constituent. It's happening across America almost every day now. And that's why the nation's people have lost confidence in the conduct of this war. There is no question that America's families are paying the price.
'Let me associate myself with the comments of Senator Reid by saying this: the meeting was disappointing. We had come in hopeful that there could be an opportunity to enlarge the issue of this bill, to how we bring stability to the Middle East, to the region. We wanted to talk about how we help the American people by turning our soldiers back to fighting terrorism, strengthening our military, which this war is weakening. And do that in a way that we can work in a bipartisan way and with the President of the United States.
'The domestic initiatives in the original bill we sent to the President are emergencies -- Katrina, hurricane disaster assistance, health care for America's children. All of those issues are emergencies. But because the President made it an issue that they were not appropriate on the war funding bill, we said, 'OK, take those off. And then accept the bill that we sent that includes everything you have asked for our troops and more.'
'But it has accountability in it. The President's representatives said no. Then we said, 'Okay, you have a problem with timelines, we'll give you a waiver on that.' They said no.
'So it is clear that the difference between the Democrats and the President is the issue of accountability. He will not accept any accountability or responsibility for what has happened there.
'Going into the meeting, we had hopes that we could find our common ground, one where the line would be drawn on accountability, without an open-ended war without end, with a blank check. For we are speaking out with the wishes of the American people. To create a new direction in Iraq -- that can only happen with accountability.
'So it was disappointing, and we will now proceed with a bill to fund the troops before we leave here for Memorial Day weekend, to pay tribute to those that have fallen on behalf of our country. Our troops will be funded. That's the work we have between now and then.'