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Pelosi Remarks on Democratic Plan to Support Our Troops, Help Our Veterans and Hold Iraqis Accountable

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke this morning at a press conference with other senior Democrats about the military funding bill, the Supporting Our Troops, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act.

Below are Pelosi's opening remarks:

'Our national security leaders are here to talk to us about the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act.  This is the product of the work among the Members of the House Democratic Caucus who have concerns about our security and the readiness of our troops, who are appalled by the conditions facing our veterans when they return home, and who want to have some benchmarks of accountability for the Iraqi Government to lead to the redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq safely, responsibly and soon. 

'The main principles of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act are on this.  First of all, it addresses the needs, honors the promises made to our veterans by expanding funding for veterans' health care and hospitals.  

'It asks the Bush Administration and the Defense Department to live up to their own standards by meeting military standards for troop readiness.  They should not be sending our troops into battle without the proper training, without the proper equipment, and in the proper time frame.  

'It holds the Iraqi government accountable to meet President Bush's own benchmarks for reform, political, economic and diplomatic, in the region.  It calls for the strategic redeployment of U.S. combat troops by the end of 2007 or sometime in 2008.  

'Only then can we refocus our military efforts on Afghanistan to the extent that we must.  We must direct our attention there now.  We must do it more intensely after we have redeployed the troops.  So refocusing our military efforts on Afghanistan and fighting the war on terrorism where it began, where it is a challenge, and where, because we left, it is an unfinished and nearly forgotten war, the terrorists have had an opportunity to reemerge.  

'To talk to us more about what is in the bill, I am pleased to yield the floor to the distinguished Chair of the Appropriations Committee, who has worked very brilliantly and very hard on all of this to bring together the thinking of the members of our caucus to reflect the call for change of the American people, Congressman David Obey of Wisconsin.'