Senate Republican Whip Trent Lott Remarks on Iraq War Funding Bill
(Statement on U.S. Senate Floor) Filed 4/27/07 GCN
Remarks on Iraq War Funding Bill by Senate Republican Whip Trent
Lott of Mississippi
Mr. Lott: You know, Mr. President, this should not be about the President. It should not be about the Congress. This is about funds for our troops, the men and women in uniform who are in Afghanistan and Iraq right now doing the job that they were directed to do. They need this money. They need the equipment the money would provide to do the job, and that should be our focus.
This legislation this funding was requested by the President on February 6th, almost three months ago, and by this political theater that we're fixing to embark upon a vote that we know will not become law one that will surely be vetoed by the President. This legislation is dead before arrival. Why don't we acknowledge that and find a way to get the job done without delaying even more, forcing our military to move funds around, to borrow from Peter to pay Paul. And by the way, it will have a negative effect on the men and women in the Navy and Air Force and the rest of the military. We could have turned this over to our senior members of the Appropriations Committee. My colleague from Mississippi, the other appropriators, the gentle lady the Senator from Washington state all said, look, work through this. Let's get something we can support in good conscience.
There are more problems with this than just artificial deadlines. Twenty-one billion dollars in domestic spending was added beyond I believe that's approximately right what the President asked for. Some of them are needed and justified, and I know that my colleague from Mississippi and the Appropriations committees on both sides of the aisle, both sides of the Capitol, could have come up with something to get the job done. It is not that these are not good. The President asked for funds for the Katrina recovery, and I think maybe some more funds have been added to that beyond what he asked for. This is important to me and my state, but I refuse, Mr. President, to try to get funds that may be needed for disaster relief on the backs of our troops and to delay it even more.
Surely there is a way that we could come to an agreement on how to achieve this result. This is an emergency supplemental, and some of the things that have been added, not just money language that doesn't relate to an emergency domestically or in terms of what our troops need, should be stricken out of there.
We make grand speeches here on the floor about how we should not legislate on appropriations bills, and yet things have been added in a number of categories, not just the minimum wage and small business tax cuts that don't really get the job done. This is a classic case of micromanagement, where the Congress is trying to set dates.
We have an alternative. If we want to use the power of the purse to stop the war on terror and our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, just vote no. Vote "no." Vote against this. Don't provide the troops the funds they need or any of this other money. If you really want do that, go right ahead. There is a procedure. But here we are trying to set ourselves up as the final judges.
General Petraeus was here yesterday, telling us what's going on. He was honest. He didn't say it's perfect. There was a change in strategy. It is being implemented and carried forward. We voted 100 percent for General Petraeus, and now we're saying, Oh, well, sorry about that general. We're going to try to tell you when to do what, not wait to get more reports from you. Just wait months, our enemies are told, and the place is yours. When the going gets tough, can you really count on the Americans to see it through in a responsible way?
This is the wrong message at the wrong time, but I am an incurable optimist. Let's get it done. Let it go on through. The President will veto this, but next week lets get together and do the right thing for our country and for our troops.
I beg my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. We've made our political points, our political statements. Now let's get our job done. Lets do the right thing for America -- not the right thing for Republicans or Democrats -- but the right thing for our troops.