Oklahoma Delegation Opposes Iraq Withdrawal Bill

Friday, March 23rd 2007, 2:12 pm

By: News On 6

Oklahoma's five representatives in the U.S. House voted against a bill Friday that would require President Bush to bring combat troops home from Iraq by Sept. 1, 2008.

The war spending bill passed by a 218-212 vote, despite Bush's promised veto.

Rep. Dan Boren, the state's lone Democrat in the House, was one of only 14 members of his party who voted against the bill. Only two Republicans voted for it.

Many Democrats said it was time to heed the mandate of their election sweep last November, which gave them control of Congress, but Boren said in a statement before the vote that he did not want to set a date for the troops to return.

"I will vote against the bill because I cannot support an arbitrary deadline that ties the hands of our military commanders and takes far too many options off the table for bringing this war to a close in a way that ensures Iraq's safety and stability in the region," he said.

He also criticized the president.

"We need a new approach in Iraq one that recognizes military might alone will not bring an end to this conflict," he said. "The administration's stubbornness in recognizing this is frustrating and Congress must use its oversight authority to get this message across. But imposing a timeline for the withdrawal of troops goes too far and puts Congress in the position of micromanaging the war."

Bush accused Democrats of abdicating their responsibility by passing a war spending bill with no chance of becoming law and said that troops and families "will face significant disruptions" if a spending bill is not approved and signed into law by April 15.

Rep. John Sullivan called the bill disgraceful.

"House Democrats should be ashamed of themselves, as they are once again playing politics with our soldiers lives," he said.

Rep. Tom Cole said the bill ties the president's hands.

"We have a moral responsibility to take care of our soldiers, and we should provide them with the bullets and helmets they need to protect themselves and complete the mission without delay or strings attached," he said.

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