May 4, 2006
My office has recently gotten a number of calls requesting my support for H. Res. 543, which allows for the discharge of H.J. Res. 55: a resolution "requiring the President to develop and implement a plan for the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq". A discharge petition is a vehicle that can be used to force debate on an issue once a majority of Members have signed on. I do not support a discharge petition for this legislation.
I strongly believe that the time to have discussions about what to do in Iraq is over and that it is time simply to begin the thoughtful withdrawal of our troops. I was one of the first to co-sponsor Rep. Jack Murtha's (D-PA) resolution calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and their redeployment "to the horizon". I believe such redeployment can help bring stability to the region and avoid a wider war. Congressman Murtha's resolution is the most thoughtful and realistic proposal brought forth thus far. Having additional discussions on the floor of the House will do nothing to convince President Bush that it is time to change his failed policies and it will do nothing to hasten our withdrawal from Iraq.
Regardless, Majority Leader Boehner recently stated that there would be a full floor debate on Iraq through an as-yet undetermined resolution. I fully expect that whatever is brought to the floor will simply be an attempt by the Majority to obscure the real issues we face in Iraq and will not lead to a thoughtful discussion. This is exactly what happened in November when Republicans claimed they were bringing Rep. Murtha's resolution to the floor but instead introduced a three line Resolution "expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately". The vote on that resolution was 3 in favor, 407 opposed and 6 recorded as present (I voted Present, the other 9 Massachusetts members voted No). The debate centered on whether the resolution fairly reflected the Murtha Resolution, not policy.
Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208