Update: Hillary Votes No.
“Tonight I voted against the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill because it fails to compel the President to give our troops a new strategy in Iraq. I believe that the President should begin a phased redeployment of our troops out of Iraq and abandon this escalation. I fully support our troops, and wish the President had followed the will of the people and signed the original bill we sent which both funded the troops and set a new course of phased redeployment. But the President vetoed Congress’s new strategy and so Congress must reject the President’s failed policies. I will also continue to press with Senator Byrd for our legislation to end the authorization of the war in Iraq.
While I am deeply disappointed that the supplemental does not provide for a new course in Iraq, I want to recognize the many worthy parts of this bill: funding to help those sickened in the aftermath of 9/11, additional relief for Katrina and Rita victims, homeland security funds for high-threat cities like New York City, resources to protect parts of New York affected by recent flooding, $650 million for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the first federal minimum wage increase in ten years. I support these measures but cannot support this Emergency Supplemental which will not change our course in Iraq.”
While Senator Obama waits to hear from Hillary on how to vote on the upcoming Iraq war military spending vote, and other candidates are waving flags from the parapets, Hillary is keeping her eyes on the prize. Newsday reports Hillary sent a letter to the Defense Secretary Robert Gates calling on the Defense Department to “draft a plan for pulling U.S. forces from Iraq”.
“Clinton said that in order to avoid confusion, the military needs to be prepared. “We’ve been hearing there is either no or very limited planning for withdrawal,” she said. “Withdrawal is very complicated. It doesn’t happen overnight. If they are not planning for it, it will be difficult for them to execute it in a safe and efficacious way.”
The New York Sun quoted Hillary saying:
“In light of growing violence and insecurity in Iraq, the continued lack of political progress by Prime Minister al-Maliki, the Iraqi defense ministry’s level of contingency planning, and the will of the American Congress to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, it is imperative that the Department of Defense prepare plans for the phased redeployment of U.S. forces,”
These types of deliberate, forward-thinking and steady moves are the way to lead us out of Iraq.
We do not yet know how Hillary will vote on the approximately $120 billion military spending bills. We await her statement on how she will vote and are sure it will be lucid and well reasoned — qualities we desperately need right now to get us out of Iraq.
The House of Representatives is voting on these bills today. The Senate will vote on them tomorrow, Friday. The situation is at best confused. Democrats who negotiated the bills, such as Representative David Obey, say they will vote against their own bills. Even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will vote against the funding bills. However, respected Senators such as Jim Webb of Virginia, an anti-war senator with a son serving in Iraq, is urging caution on these funding bills and it appears he will vote for the spending bills. Lives of Americans and Iraqis hang in the balance. These votes matter.
We urge careful analysis. While passion is a valuable attribute and emotional outbursts are often satisfying now is the time for cool headed thinking.