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Congressman Yarmuth, House Vote for Accountability in Iraq, Improved Veteran Care, Exit Strategy

Yarmuth Hails "Historic Opportunity to Bring About an End to this Catastrophe"

(Washington, DC)  Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) voted to approve H.R. 1591 "The U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act."

The House passed the bill this afternoon by a vote of 218 to 212.

"This bill isn't perfect," Congressman Yarmuth said, "but it does what nothing else at this point can do: bring about an end to this war."

The bill provides funding to support military personnel in Iraq, plus additional funds to care for veterans and prepare troops in combat.  The bill also requires Iraqis to take control of Iraq - by meeting the key security, political and economic benchmarks established by the President in his January 10 address. Failure to meet these benchmarks will trigger the redeployment of troops from Iraq.  Otherwise, troop redeployment will begin no later than August 2008.

Congressman Yarmuth's statement on the bill is below.

      We began this week by solemnly marking the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq, the more than 3,200 brave soldiers who have been killed there, and the 378 billion dollars that have been appropriated thus far.  But we end the week with this historic step to bring about an end to this catastrophe.

      Over the last 4 years, the President not only failed to provide a plan to win in Iraq, he failed to offer our troops concrete and attainable objectives.  Where he has let down our forces and the American people, Congress has a Constitutional obligation to step in, and this, "The U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act," is our chance.

      It is our only real chance, to see this war end, to comply with the stated will of the American people, and to bring our troops home.

      It is important to remember that this bill does more than set benchmarks and a timeline; it also provides much needed funding to protect our troops abroad and care for our veterans at home.

      A vote against this bill is a vote for the President but against our soldiers; it supports the war but abandons our young men and women in uniform.

      That being said, whether we had authorized it or not, the President will find the funding to prolong this war, even if it is the expense of our soldiers, our veterans, and other crucial programs.  This country cannot afford another Walter Reed nor can it afford to send the President another blank check to indefinitely extend this occupation.

      The President has asked for a bill without strings attached.  He doesn't deserve a bill with out strings.  In four years of acting without strings this war has never had an end in sight.  I applaud my colleagues who embraced the opportunity to, at last, bring finality into view, and I encourage the Senate and President Bush not to squander this opportunity.