U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today announced he will vote for the conference agreement on H.R. 1591, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act.  The agreement includes language that would set a goal for the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq by March 2008.  Smith chairs the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

“President Bush should sign this bill.  A veto would signal a total rejection of the will of the American people and would further hamper our efforts to fight the spread of al-Qaeda.  We will not stay in Iraq indefinitely.  We must plan to redeploy our troops in Iraq,” Smith said.

The conference agreement would appropriate $124.2 billion for emergency spending, the bulk of which will fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The measure includes a requirement that the President certify Iraq has met benchmarks for military and political progress.  Most importantly, the conference agreement sets a goal of redeploying most U.S. troops from Iraq by March 2008. 

President Bush repeatedly threatened to veto any measure that includes language requiring redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq.  Numerous polls and reports indicate a broad majority of Americans support such a timeline.

“This measure, regardless of whether the President vetoes it, is hugely important.  It is part of a process to pressure Republicans to abandon their open-ended commitment to refereeing a civil crisis in Iraq – a commitment which saps resources from the broader fight against terrorists and gives extremists a rallying point,” Smith explained.

“If the President vetoes this bill and Republicans stand with him to prevent Democrats from overriding him, they will demonstrate that they are completely out of step with the American people.  But more importantly, delaying a new direction in Iraq will further hamper our effort to contain the spread of al-Qaeda’s violent, totalitarian ideology,” Smith said.