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Pelosi on Iraq Supplemental: 'For the First Time, the President Will Have to Be Accountable for This War in Iraq'

Washington, D.C. - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House leaders held a news conference in the Capitol this afternoon on the House-Senate Appropriations Committee conference report on the Iraq supplemental bill.  Below are her opening remarks:

'It was with great pride that we presented to our Caucus today the conference report that was reported out of the Appropriations Committee last night.  Chairman Obey has received a great response from our colleagues because they appreciate what he did.

'Our bill is grounded in the realities in the war in Iraq, recognizes the strain that this war is placing on our military, recognizes the urgency to hold the Iraqi government accountable, and honors our commitment to our veterans, instead of the failure to meet those commitments that exists now.

'The response that the President gave this morning when he heard of the bill was the response of a President whose Administration is in disarray.

'For the first time, the President will have to be accountable for this war in Iraq.  And he does not want to face that reality.

'Since the beginning of this war, which has lasted longer than World War II, the President has repeatedly not accounted for its continuing costs in his regular budget request.  That is why Congress has had to pass seven supplementals.

'What is it that the Commander-in-Chief doesn't know, that doesn't equip him to make a regular budget request for the war?  Seven supplementals, seven times unprepared?  I don't think so.  I think it's seven times that the President wanted to hide the truth of the cost of this war from the American people.

'The bill we intend to send to the President fully supports our troops and veterans.  In fact, we give those troops and veterans more than the President asks for.

'When the President says he's going to veto this bill, he's going to veto increased spending on military health.  He's going to veto BRAC spending, which is over and above his request.  He's going to veto meeting the health care needs, especially mental health needs, of our veterans who are returning from the war.

'This bill is consistent with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group.  It has the support of many retired military generals and reflects the wishes of the American people to wind down this war.

'The President has to face the reality on the ground in Iraq.  And he has to face the reality of accountability in this Congress.'