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Rep. Lynn Woolsey Announces Introduction of "Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act"
CONGRESSWOMAN WOOLSEY'S REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY:
“Today Congresswomen Waters and Lee and I are introducing a bill that would bring our troops home from Iraq within a six month timeframe.
“The Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act is the first comprehensive legislative proposal to end the occupation and provide a framework to help bring stability back to Iraq.
“Last Wednesday night, President Bush demonstrated to the world that he continues to remain blind to the realities on the ground in Iraq. Instead of putting forth a plan that would withdraw our troops, the President is increasing our military presence, by escalating the number of troops by over twenty thousand. What President Bush fails to grasp is that our military presence is only fueling the insurgency, plunging Iraq further into chaos and civil war.
“The November elections showed just how fed up the American public is with the President’s failed Iraq policy. It is time to honor that mandate. It is now up to the Congress to catch up with the will of the American public.
“During his weekly radio address on Saturday, President Bush challenged those of us who disagree with him to offer a plan of our own. Today, we stand before you, and the American public, to take up his challenge.
“The Congress has already appropriated funding that will support our troops and keep this occupation going for at least another six months. That funding instead should be used to finance an aggressive withdrawal plan that brings our troops home to their families. Our bill would do exactly that.
“Our plan will also…
1. Withdraw all U.S. troops and military contractors from Iraq within six months from date of enactment.
2. Prohibit any further funding to deploy, or continue to deploy U.S. troops in Iraq. The bill does, however, allow for funding to be used, as needed, to ensure a safe withdrawal of all US military personnel and contractors, diplomatic consultations. Funding may also be used for the increased training and equipping of Iraqi and international security forces.
3. Accelerate, during the six month transition, training of a permanent Iraqi security force.
4. Authorize, if requested by the Iraqi government, U.S. support for an international stabilization force. Such a force would be funded for no longer than two years, and be combined with economic and humanitarian assistance.
5. Guarantee full health care funding, including mental health, for U.S. veterans of military operations in Iraq and other conflicts.
“In addition the bill would:
6. Rescind the Congressional Authorization for the War in Iraq.
7. Prohibit the construction of permanent US military bases in the country.
8. Finally, we believe that Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqis. Once the oil is in the international market, the U.S. will certainly have access to our share. That’s why our bill ensures that the U.S. has no long-term control over Iraqi oil.
“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. It is an important step in regaining our credibility in the region and throughout the world, and provides the President, and this Congress, with a comprehensive way to respond to the majority of Americans who want our troops to come home.”
CONGRESSWOMAN MAXINE WATERS' STATEMENT
Rep. Waters, Rep. Woolsey and Rep. Lee Introduce Legislation to Conclude the Iraq War
Washington, DC - Today, Representative Maxine Waters (CA-35), Representative Lynn Woolsey (CA-6), Representative Barbara Lee (CA-9) and other Members of Congress introduced legislation that would conclude the United States' involvement in Iraq within 6 months of the enactment of the legislation. Congresswoman Waters' statement is below:
"First, I would like to thank Representative Woolsey, Representative Lee and all the others here today for their work to conclude the war in Iraq. The individuals here today have been a strong and consistent voice in calling for a conclusion of the Iraq war.
"Today, we are here to unveil legislation introduced by Representative Woolsey and supported by each of us that would conclude the United States' involvement in Iraq within 6 months.
"If enacted, the bill would:
· Repeal the authorization of the use of force against Iraq that was passed by Congress in 2002;
· Require the complete withdrawal of US troops and contractors within 6 months of the enactment of this bill;
· Turn security activities and military operations in Iraq over to the elected Iraqi government within 6 months of the date of enactment.
· Prohibit the US from establishing permanent bases in Iraq;
· Accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi military and security forces;
· Pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy;
· Provide assistance to the Iraqi government in recovering archeological, cultural and historic artifacts that have been lost since the US invasion;
· Fully fund veterans health care.
"This plan is what the American people wanted when they voted for a Democratic Congress in the mid-term elections.
"The President's decision to escalate the war was a misguided one. It was built on false and misleading statements and has gone on for far too long. The United States has paid too much -- in both human lives and dollars - for this war. As of today, more than 3,310 US servicemembers have died; more than 22,000 have been injured; and the war has cost US taxpayers more than $350 billion - nearly $10 billion a week.
"Last week, the President proposed sending more troops to Iraq; that will not improve the situation in Iraq.
"Instead, we should support this bill, redeploy our troops from Iraq and, once and for all end our involvement in Iraq."
• Declares it to be U.S. policy to: (1) end the occupation of Iraq; (2) accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi military and security forces; (3) pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy; (4) help preserve the territorial integrity of Iraq as a nation state; (5) take all appropriate measures to account for any missing U.S. soldiers or citizens in Iraq; and (6) turn over all security activities and military operations in Iraq to the elected Iraqi government within 6 months of the date of enactment (includes language from Rep. Abercrombie-Jones-Kucinich, Woolsey, Lee, Murtha, and Allen bills from 109th Congress);
• Withdraws all U.S. troops and military contractors in Iraq and return to the U.S. or redeployment outside of the Middle East within 6 months of date of enactment;
• Prohibits any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq (Rep. Lee’s preferred language);
• Prohibits funding to deploy or continue to deploy U.S. troops in Iraq with very limited exceptions (Rep. McGovern’s preferred language);
• Repeals 2002 law authorizing use of military force against Iraq (Rep.Waters’ and Woolsey’s preferred language);
• If requested by the Iraqi government, authorizes U.S. support for replacement of U.S. troops/contractors with an international stabilization force to begin during the 6-month period for U.S. military disengagement from the date of enactment and to stay in Iraq no longer than 2 years;
• Accelerates U.S. troop/contractor assistance for training of a permanent Iraqi police force and neighborhood, village, and tribal home guards comprised of Iraqi citizens;
• Prohibits U.S. participation in any long-term Iraqi oil production sharing agreements without prior open debate in Iraq and promulgation and enactment by the Iraqi National Assembly of new Iraqi law to govern investment, location, development, production, and marketing of Iraqi petroleum resources;
• Caps U.S. personnel in U.S. Embassy in Baghdad at no more than 500 officials in coordination with dismantling of the Green Zone;
• Requires independent audit of prior U.S. assistance for reconstruction and reconciliation in Iraq plus comprehensive damage assessment and report to Congress;
• Authorizes wide array of non-military U.S. bilateral and multilateral assistance for reconstruction and reconciliation in Iraq;
• Guarantees health care for U.S. veterans of military operations in Iraq and other conflicts (language from Former Rep. Lane Evans bill); and
• Upon completion of U.S. military disengagement from Iraq, creates a bipartisan, joint select committee of Congress to be comprised of 18 House and Senate Members to be appointed by the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader, after consultation with and consideration of minority recommendations for appointments, and to report its final recommendations by December 31, 2008.
FISCAL FACT SHEET
COSTS OF THE IRAQ OCCUPATION AND THE SAVINGS TO BE ACHIEVED UNDER THE PROGRESSIVE PEACE PLAN AND EMBODIED IN THE BRING THE TROOPS HOME AND IRAQ SOVEREIGNTY RESTORATION ACT – AS INTRODUCED BY U.S. REPRESENTATIVES WOOLSEY, LEE, WATERS, WATSON, MCGOVERN, GRIJALVA, HINCHEY, FRANK, NADLER, FATTAH, CLAY, AND COHEN.
Key Highlight: Savings of approximately $278.25 billion at minimum over what
it is projected to cost if U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq is stretched
out over a two-year period or a little less than 17 cents on the dollar.
$ 44.75 billion – First-year cost for establishment of entitlement funding to guarantee
health care for U.S. veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and other
conflicts (in bill);
$6 billion – U.S. contribution to two-year international stabilization force to replace
U.S. troops (roughly 2% of cost of the U.S. occupation) [source: Out of Iraq-
A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now, by George McGovern/William Polk];
$1 billion - Additional U.S. contribution for training and equipping Iraqi security
forces [source: Out of Iraq - A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now , by
George McGovern/ William Polk];
$1.7 billion – U.S. contribution to international fund to reconstitute and equip the public
health system in Iraq (in bill);
$1 billion – U.S. contribution to international fund to redevelop civic institutions and
incentives for return of exiled or émigré Iraqi doctors, nurses, educators,
jurists, engineers, attorneys, and other professionals and the training of
additional Iraqis in essential professions and services (in bill);
$500 million – U.S. assistance to establish an Iraqi Reconstruction Corps (in bill);
$250 million - U.S. assistance initially for destruction of land mines in Iraq, etc.
$500 million – U.S. assistance to jump start dismantling and disposal of fortifications,
blast walls, and other remnants of Operation Iraqi Freedom (in bill);
$250 million – U.S. contribution to restore what can be saved of World Heritage sites
destroyed by U.S. military operations in Iraq (in bill);
$200 million – U.S. compensation initially for at least 20,000 Iraqi noncombatant
civilian casualties at $10,000/person, but expecting it to rise to
cover at least 50,000 Iraqi noncombatant civilian casualties (in bill);
$100 million – In consultation with the Iraqi government, U.S. assistance for
comprehensive survey, assessment and report on damage to Iraqi civil
society and infrastructure as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom (in bill);
$ 25 million – U.S. assistance for establishment of Iraqi Institute of Peace (in bill);
$ 20 million – Projected cost for two-year budget of Joint Select Committee to Review,
the Origins and Conduct of Operation Iraqi Freedom (in bill and to
commence six months from the date of enactment).
Total = $56.295 billion in estimated overall costs
$ 278.25 billion – If U.S. withdrawal is stretched out over a 2-year period, the estimated
cost would be on the order of $371 billion. Over half of this would be in second year. [source: Congressional Research Service]. Hence, we estimate ¾ of that total would be saved if the withdrawal started immediately and is completed within 6 months;
? - Ceasing work on and closing the fourteen “enduring”, permanent
military bases, some of which are the size of small cities;
? - Downsizing the new U.S. Embassy under construction in Baghdad,
limiting total personnel to no more than 500 officials, and dismantling
the Green Zone.
Current spending rates and allocated expenditures for U.S. military operations in Iraq: (not including increased costs of escalation plan announced by President Bush on 1/10/07):
• $10 million an hour;
• $240 million/day
• $7.1 billion/month
The aforementioned costs are growing at roughly 20%/year
[source: reports of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee]
Overall long-term cost to the U.S. economy and taxpayers:
$1-2 trillion - Using standard economic and accounting/budgetary methods (e.g. taking
into lifetime healthcare and disability payments to returning veterans,
replenishment of military hardware, and increased recruitment costs).
[source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 12054,
available online at www.nber.org/papers/w12054. Authors are Joseph
Stiglitz, who won the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize in economics and teaches at
Columbia and Linda Bilmes, who is a well-known authority on the budget
and former assistant secretary of commerce and teaches at the John F.
Kennedy School of Government at Harvard ].