On Friday, March 9, U.S. Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) fought to change the Bush Administration’s flawed Iraq policy and provide Congress with a plan to responsibly redeploy our troops. Smith and Tauscher introduced a bill that would terminate the authorization for the use of force in Iraq and allow for a new vote on a different mission for our Armed Forces. In addition, it would require the President provide a plan for redeployment of our troops in Iraq and to step up political and diplomatic pressure to end the Iraq crisis and meet key Iraq Study Group recommendations.
The Smith-Tauscher bill would:
- Terminate the existing authority for the use of force and allow for a new vote on the mission in Iraq;
- Require a plan from the Defense Department to redeploy our troops for a mission that includes counter-terrorism, force protection, and training Iraqi troops;
- Require the President appoint a Coordinator for Iraq Stabilization to organize regional cooperation to stabilize Iraq; and
- Tie funding for Iraqi security and reconstruction beginning in 2008 to the President’s certifying that the Iraqi government has met specific benchmarks they have committed to.
“The situation in Iraq has changed since we first authorized the use of force against Saddam Hussein. We must alter our Iraq mission to one acceptable to the American people, but in order to do that, we need military planners to begin planning the redeployment of our forces. Our bill would allow us to set a new mission, force the Defense Department to craft a plan to redeploy our troops, and require the President engage in vigorous diplomacy to help settle the Iraq crisis,” Smith said.
The Smith-Tauscher bill has the support of key House Democrats, including:
- Artur Davis (D-Ala.)
- Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.)
- Jane Harman (D-Calif.)
Smith and Tauscher chair subcommittees on the House Armed Services Committee, which is responsible for authorizing funds for our military. Smith chairs the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities. Tauscher chairs the Strategic Forces Subcommittee.
“Our bill fits well with the supplemental appropriations measure introduced by House Democrats. This bill, however, focuses on the underlying authorization for the war, rather than the appropriation of money for it. Both are good first steps. We have to keep pressure on the President to change his failed Iraq policy,” Smith said.