Friday, 21 June 2024

Thompson bill gains more co-sponsors in Congress

WASHINGTON Rep. Mike Thompson's binding legislation to end U.S. involvement in Iraq is gaining fierce momentum in the House of Representatives, according to a report from his office.

HR 787, which restricts the president's dangerous escalation of the Iraq War and sets firm deadlines for redeployment, gained 18 co-sponsors over the past week, bringing the total to 45.

Thompson's bill is the only Iraq legislation in the House with bipartisan support and the only one with a Senate companion, which was authored by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL).

"This bill is an achievable strategy for ending our involvement in the war and helping the Iraqi government stabilize their country," said Thompson. "The support for this bill is an indication that many members of Congress are ready to find a solution to the crisis in Iraq and get our troops out as safely and quickly as possible."

Thompson introduced his bill, the Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007, last month with Iraq War veteran Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA).

The plan closely follows the bipartisan recommendations of the Iraq Study Group by requiring a phased redeployment of U.S. troops to begin no later than May 1, 2007, with all combat brigades out of Iraq by March 31, 2008.

"I've been against this war since the beginning and think our troops should have been redeployed long ago," said Thompson. "Our troops have done everything we've asked of them and they shouldn't be in the middle of Iraq's civil war. The Iraqi government should step up and take responsibility for securing their country."

Thompson's bill allows for the president to request from Congress a brief suspension of redeployment if there is clear evidence that the Iraqi government is achieving certain security, diplomatic and reconstruction milestones.

Foreign policy experts agree that this is the most realistic way to get the Iraqi government to assume control of their country and get our troops out of Iraq as quickly and safely and possible.

"If the Iraqi government is making progress, we should help them rebuild and stabilize their country," said Thompson. "But bringing our troops home must be our top priority."

HR 787 also calls for increased diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. It requires the president to appoint a special U.S. envoy that will help build relationships between Iraq and its neighbors.

"The president's escalation plan is a continuation of his failed 'stay the course' slogan," said Thompson. "We should be putting our resources toward a surge in diplomacy, not troops. That's the only way we will effectively help bring stability, and ultimately peace, to Iraq."

Thompson has been a vocal critic of the war since 2002 and voted against the authorization of the war.

In the previous session of Congress, he introduced legislation calling for redeployment of troops out of Iraq by Sept. 30, 2006.

He also introduced legislation for the third time that would require oversight and accountability of all military and reconstruction spending in Iraq.


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