Monday, April 02, 2007

Reid co-sponsors bill to redeploy troops

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced today that if President Bush vetoes a supplemental appropriations bill which includes a timetable for withdrawing troops then Iraq, then he will co-sponsor a bill which would cut off funding for the war in one year's time.

According to a press release sent to RAW STORY, the bill co-sponsored by ­U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) "requires the President to begin safely redeploying U.S. troops from Iraq 120 days from enactment, as required by the emergency supplemental spending bill the Senate passed last week" and "ends funding for the war, with three narrow exceptions, effective March 31, 2008."

"I am pleased to cosponsor Senator Feingold’s important legislation," Reid said. "I believe it is consistent with the language included in the supplemental appropriations bill passed by a bipartisan majority of the Senate. If the President vetoes the supplemental appropriations bill and continues to resist changing course in Iraq, I will work to ensure this legislation receives a vote in the Senate in the next work period."

In the press release, Feingold added, "I am delighted to be working with the Majority Leader to bring our involvement in the Iraq war to an end. Congress has a responsibility to end a war that is opposed by the American people and is undermining our national security. By ending funding for the President’s failed Iraq policy, our bill requires the President to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq."
In an op-ed at today, Feingold compared his legislation to a bill sponsored in the 1990s to withdraw US soldiers from the conflict in Somalia.

"Today, some supporters of the Iraq war suggest falsely that efforts to cut funding for the war are a threat to our troops in the field. But in 1993, senators overwhelmingly supported successful efforts to cut off funding for a flawed military mission," Feingold wrote. "That was clearly understood in October 1993, when 76 senators voted for an amendment, offered by Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, to end funding for the military mission in Somalia effective March 31, 1994, with limited exceptions."

He added, "None of those 76 senators, who include the current Republican leader and whip, acted to jeopardize the safety and security of U.S. troops in Somalia. All of them recognized that Congress had the power and the responsibility to bring our military operations in Somalia to a close, by establishing a date after which funds would be terminated."
Excerpts from the press release:
The language of the legislation reads:
(a) Transition of Mission - The President shall promptly transition the mission of United States forces in Iraq to the limited purposes set forth in subsection (d).
(b) Commencement of Safe, Phased Redeployment from Iraq - The President shall commence the safe, phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq that are not essential to the purposes set forth in subsection (d). Such redeployment shall begin not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(c) Prohibition on Use of Funds - No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces after March 31, 2008.
(d) Exception for Limited Purposes - The prohibition under subsection (c) shall not apply to the obligation or expenditure of funds for the limited purposes as follows:
(1) To conduct targeted operations, limited in duration and scope, against members of al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations.
(2) To provide security for United States infrastructure and personnel.
(3) To train and equip Iraqi security services. "

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