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Yarmuth calls on Appropriations Committee to Require Iraq to Shares Responsibility for Reconstruction

Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) and the Freshman Class in Congress are calling on the Appropriations Committee to "require the Government of Iraq to take more ownership over the reconstruction projects and training for security forces."

The United States has spent $45 billion on Iraq's reconstruction, while Iraq has spent less than five percent of its multi-billion dollar surplus.

Below is a letter from the 47 freshman Democrats in the House of Representatives to Appropriations Chairman David Obey and Defense Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha:

Dear Chairman Obey and Chairman Murtha,

As you work with our colleagues to craft upcoming spending bills, we ask you to consider language emphasizing the government of Iraq's cost-sharing responsibility.

With so many competing priorities, from emergency domestic spending to funding for our national security, it is clear that taxpayer dollars will be stretched thin. As you know, with the amount of money that we have spent in Iraq, we could fund virtually every emergency domestic priority in this country, as well as fully fund the war against terrorism in Afghanistan. As new Members of Congress, we hope to be able to return to our districts with news that Congress is asking the Iraqi government to stand up for itself.

Specifically, we hope that you will consider language in upcoming spending bills that requires the Government of Iraq to take more ownership over the reconstruction projects and training for security forces. Additionally, the Iraqi government should take responsibility for the $153 million per month that the United States Government spends on fuel in Iraq. Both the American and Iraqi people will gain from increased involvement of the Iraqi government in these endeavors.

Whether our colleagues support or oppose the Iraq war strategy, we can all agree that when it comes to the $600 billion in American taxpayer dollars that we have spent over the last five years, we must find another way. American taxpayers are spending $339 million a day in Iraq. The amount of money we spend in Iraq each day could house 48,000 homeless veterans, hire over 2,000 new Border Patrol guards for a year or give 2.6 million uninsured Americans access to health care. We write to you in the hopes that you will agree that it is time for us to pursue this issue in a more fiscally responsible manner.