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Pelosi and Me

Can’t the Democrats End the War By Not Bringing the Funding Bill to the Floor?


Tuesday, November 6, 2007, 1:30 p.m.
Capitol Building Room H-210

Question: Isn’t it true Madam Speaker that you single handedly could end the war in Iraq by not allowing the Iraq funding bill to go to the floor of the House?

Pelosi: No, that is not true. But thank you for making your point–

Question: Why isn’t it true?

Pelosi: It isn’t true because there are other parliamentary opportunities available to the minority in the Congress–for example, a motion to recommit which probably could prevail without condition.

Question: Well, I was reading a Politico article titled "Dems Could Do Far More to End Iraq War." And in it, the authors say–"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could force a vote a day over Iraq, she could keep the House in session all night, over weekends, and through planned vacations." Why aren’t you doing that?

Pelosi: Well, because I don’t think it would be effective.

What we are doing is changing the debate on the war in Iraq, holding the administration accountable. There has been to the American people a tremendous cost in lives lost–that has been a serious cost. And tens of thousands of our troops permanently injured. The cost of reputation for us in the world–to be able to take our rightful place in the community of nations. A cost of–depending on the cost estimate you follow $2 trillion to $4 trillion to the taxpayers–much of it unaccounted for. Being put out in no bid contracts and even no performance contracts. You can’t pick up a paper–if you follow the news that way–without seeing more examples of corruption and cronyism and lack of accountability in spending the taxpayers dollars–at a very serious cost to our country, the cost of the capability of our military to respond to any threat that may come our way, to our national security, because of the cost to our military readiness in Iraq.

Our men and women in uniform have performed magnificently. We are very proud of them. They deserve more and better than this–without a plan to go in, without a strategy to leave, and without a reason to stay.

That does not–would that I had that power. If there is anything that I’m disappointed in is that we haven’t been able to end the war. The President has turned a tin ear to what the American people are saying about this war–and turned a blind eye to what is happening on the ground . . .

I remind you of the sixty vote margin needed in the U.S. Senate–the sixty votes needed to send a bill to the President’s desk–which the President has to sign. So, it isn’t about what you can do in one House. But you just watch to see what unfolds in the next few weeks and I think you will see some of the approaches you are suggesting.

RUSSELL MOKHIBER is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.