Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Thursday 16 October 2003
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) issued the following statement in opposition to the Bush Administration’s request for another $87 billion for Iraq.
“I am proud to join my colleagues, patriots all, to say no to another blank check for President Bush so he can continue his failed policy in Iraq. I am joining the growing number of Democrats and the majority of Americans who say that without accountability, without a plan, and without a guarantee that the troops will finally get what they need, we will not hand over $87 billion to the Bush Administration.
“The Bush Administration cannot be trusted to make our troops a priority, so how can we trust them with $87 billion? 40,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq are without flack jackets and others are traveling in non-armored Humvees and without jammers that block the signals between bombs and detonators. But billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent already on no bid contracts for major U.S. corporations like Halliburton and Bechtel for reconstruction efforts that Iraqis say can be performed for pennies on the dollar if given to local contractors.
“The Bush Administration betrayed the families of soldiers in Iraq, so how can we trust them with $87 billion? I, personally, have talked to mothers and relatives who are sending their soldiers huge packages every week that include items like sunscreen and insect repellant, shampoo, and sanitary napkins because the administration did not make plans to provide these items.
“The most galling part of this debate is that the Bush Administration and Republican leaders are blackmailing Members of Congress to vote for this blank check with the threat of being accused of not supporting our troops. Yet it is the Republicans who are guilty of tragically disregarding our brave soldiers, troop safety and comfort and betraying our veterans.
“The money already is available to take care of our troops, but the Republicans haven’t delivered for our soldiers. Newly released data from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service found that the U.S. Army has enough funds for military personnel through June 2004 and for operations and maintenance through April 2004. This is proof that the Bush Administration has enough money to support our troops without yet another emergency funding bill from Congress and that it was poor planning, not a lack of funds, by the Bush Administration that put our troops in this position.
“I, for one, will not be an enabler to an administration that clearly cannot be trusted with our treasure, our lives, and those of the Iraqi people. We demand that our troops are taken care of, that force protection takes precedence over private contractors as our first priority, and that the Administration offers a plan to engage the international community in rebuilding Iraq. We demand accountability from President Bush.”