Nadler Statement in Opposition of the President's Supplemental Request for Iraq

Oct 15, 2003

Washington, DC—Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) made the following statement regarding his vote against the President's $87 billion budget request for Iraq:

"Last spring, Congress approved a $63 billion supplemental appropriation for our troops in Iraq. I voted for that appropriation because I felt that, regardless of whether or not we should have invaded Iraq, the fact is that we are there now and we cannot afford to allow Iraq to slide into civil war and disorder. That's what happened in Afghanistan. The failure of the world community to rebuild that country allowed it to become an extremist theocracy and a haven for al Qaeda, with catastrophic results.

"But, we have not received an accounting of the use of those funds. We have discovered that American soldiers have died because, despite the funds we voted, the Administration did not supply them with Kevlar plates for their body armor or armor plates for their Humvees. We have learned of huge no-bid contracts for Halliburton, and $15 million contracts for cement factories that Iraqis can build for $80,000. We have not learned of realistic plans to share the costs and the burdens with other countries, and to prevent a nationalist guerrilla war against us by demonstrating to the Iraqi people that we are running an international reconstruction, not an American occupation.

"Last October, I voted against authorizing the use of military force in Iraq. I believed the resolution was far too broad a blank check to the President, and that it would send us down a perilous course.

"We know now, as some suspected then, that the Administration lied to us when it asserted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that it was developing nuclear weapons, that it had somehow cooperated with al-Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks, and that it posed an imminent threat to this country. I believed then, as I believe now, that the war in Iraq has diverted resources and attention away from the deadly serious war waged against the U.S. by al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups -- a war which poses a very real threat to our safety and security.

"This bill is another blank check to the President. I cannot support it, given the Administration's obvious failure to plan for the realities of post-war Iraq, and its refusal to make good faith, adequate proposals to share the power and the burden of the reconstruction of Iraq so that our soldiers don't continue to do almost all the dying and our taxpayers almost all the paying for the cost of cleaning up the mess in Iraq. I cannot support it given the Administration's insistence on increasing the deficit and the debt burden on our children, by refusing even to let us vote on paying for this bill by reducing the tax cut for the wealthiest one percent of Americans.

"And we need not approve this bill now in order to support our troops. The $63 billion we approved last spring will fund military personnel and operations through next April and May. We should defeat this bill and insist that the President and the Republican leadership come back with a proposal that accounts for the public's money, protects our troops, and shares the burden with other nations. We have the time and the ability to do the job right."