US Rep. Woolsey’s Bill Would “Bring Troops Home” in Six Months
By Tyler Tarwater, Special to The Atlanta Progressive News
(APN) ATLANTA — Last week US Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) introduced H.R. 508, the “Bring the Troops Home and Iraq Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2007,” the strongest of all current US Congressional bills which seek to de-escalate the US Invasion of Iraq.
The bill would force the withdrawal of “all U.S. troops and military contractors from Iraq within six months” by cutting funding for the occupation after that time period, US Rep. Woolsey (D-CA) said in a press release.
In addition to calling for a six-month withdrawal, the bill authorizes a “wide array of non-military U.S. bilateral and multilateral assistance for reconstruction and reconciliation in Iraq,” original cosponsor US Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said in a statement on her website. Additionally, the bill “guarantees health care for U.S. veterans,” Waters said.
The bill currently has 26 total cosponsors including Georgia’s US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).
The list of total cosponsors includes: US Reps. Robert Brady (D-PA), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Julia Carson (D-IN), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), John Conyers (D-MI), Danny Davis (D-IL), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Frank Barney (D-MA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Maxine Water (D-CA), and Diane Watson (D-CA), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).
“Our plan, with the exception of Veterans’ benefits, will cost the American people pennies on the dollar as compared to continuing the occupation for two more years. It will save lives, bodies, and minds, and it will give Iraq back to the Iraqis,” US Rep. Woolsey said.
The bill “provides the President, and this Congress, with a comprehensive way to respond to the majority of Americans who want our troops to come home,” the Congresswoman added.
In a rejection of Bush’s troop “surge” strategy, the bill explicitly prohibits any additional funding to deploy more troops. The “Bring the Troops Home” Act is just one of many bills currently in the US House or Senate opposing Bush’s plan.
US Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) submitted similar legislation last week labeled HJ Res. 18, which calls for the redeployment of all U.S. troops at the “earliest practicable date.”
Congressman Murtha’s bill currently has 96 total cosponsors, including US Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson (D-GA) of Georgia.
Unlike H.R.508, Murtha’s bill does not call for a set withdrawal date.
Meanwhile in the US Senate, a number of bills voicing opposition to Bush’s increase of troop deployment are gaining popularity.
Last week US Sen. Biden (D-DE) introduced a bill, S Con Res 2, stating, “It is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq.”
US Sen. Biden’s bill currently has 14 total cosponsors, including US Sens. Cardin (D-MD), Clinton (D-NY), Durbin (D-IL), Hagel (R-NE), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Levin (D-MI), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Reed (D-RI), Rockefeller (D-WV), Snowe (R-ME), Stabenow (D-MI), and Wyden (D-OR).
US Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) sponsored a somewhat stronger bill, S. 287, two weeks ago, that would cut funding to the troop escalation. The bill would specifically, “prohibit the use of funds for an escalation of United States military forces in Iraq above the numbers existing as of January 9, 2007,” according to the bill text.
Currently, US Sen. Kennedy’s bill only has 8 total cosponsors, including US Sens. Boxer (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Harkin (D-IA), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Menendez (D-NJ), and Sanders (I-VT).
US Sen. Feingold’s (D-WI) S. 121, perhaps the strongest bill in the Senate, would “provide for the redeployment of US forces from Iraq.” It, however, only has two total cosponsors, US Sen. Boxer (D-CA) and Feingold.
These various bills that oppose the “surge” specifically challenge the strategic merits of Bush’s troop increase.
For instance, according to its authors, H.R. 508 challenges the entire US Invasion of Iraq by repealing the “2002 law authorizing use of military force against Iraq.”
The authors add it ensures “the U.S. has no long-term control over Iraqi oil,” and further, “prohibits any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.”
There have been a number of other nonbinding bills in the US House opposing an escalation of deployed troops, but do not provide mechanisms to prevent the escalation or promote an end to the Invasion.
Two weeks ago, US Rep. Martin Meehan (D-MA) introduced H RES. 41, titled, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that an increase in number of members of the United States Forces deployed in Iraq is the wrong course of action and that a drastic shift in the political and diplomatic strategy of the United States is needed to help secure and stabilize Iraq.”
A day later, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced a similar bill, H. Con Res 23, “Expressing the sense of Congress that the President should not order an escalation ”
Both of these bills currently have more cosponsors than the “Bring the Troops Home” bill; US Rep. Meehan’s bill has 45 total cosponsors while US Rep. Kucinich’s bill has 34.
Tuesday night, President Bush responded indirectly to the Congressional activity opposing his plan and the US Invasion of Iraq in general in his annual State of the Union address, “If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides.”
Furthermore he added, “Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those on their way.”
Despite Bush’s plea for support, many analysts expect US Congress to pass some form of legislation opposing the increase in military forces in Iraq.
About the author:
Tyler Tarwater is a Special Contributor to The Atlanta Progressive News. He maintains a blog at http://www.desperatelyobvious.com.
This article may be reprinted in full at no cost where Atlanta Progressive News is credited.