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Senators sound off on the President -Chuck & Hill jeer White House policy, but remain vague on taking a stand

As the new Democratic Congress began session last week, Courier-Life Publications reached out to U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer for their views on the war in Iraq and federal initiatives they plan to work on that will affect Brooklyn. “An escalation in the war, particularly with no change in strategy, makes no sense,” said Schumer. “We are policing a civil war right now in Iraq. And whether the troops stay three months or three years, as soon as they leave, the Sunnis and Shiites will resume fighting with one another and nothing will have been accomplished.” Schumer said the bottom line is the country’s need for a change in strategy. “Recently, we’ve seen some statements from President Bush that he’s willing to work with Democrats on a new strategy. But in the past, too many times when the President said he wanted to work together, he meant ‘do it my way,’” said Schumer. “This can’t be just lip service. If the President is going to stand up on his own Mount Olympus and just throw thunderbolts, he’ll lose, the Congress will lose, and the American people will lose,” he added. On the national and local fronts, Schumer said the new Democratic agenda in Congress will benefit hardworking Brooklynites from Bensonhurst to Bedford-Stuyvesant. “We will make college tuition more affordable, drive down prescription drug costs, and advance energy independence,” said Schumer. “We’ll also make raising the minimum wage a top priority. And finally, Brooklynites can expect more federal funding for their subways and buses so our borough can thrive while avoiding crippling traffic delays,” he added. Clinton was more vague in her views on Iraq, saying, “As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will help ensure that there is stronger oversight in order to change our failed policy in Iraq.” A Clinton spokesperson elaborated the senator’s statement saying her boss is waiting for the President to present to the nation his plan for Iraq. “However, she [Clinton] has said that she does not support an escalation of the war in Iraq absent a broader and more comprehensive political solution that will start the overdue process of bringing our troops home,” said the spokesperson. On the local front, Clinton said she is working on a variety of issues that will affect borough residents including raising the minimum wage, making college more affordable and promoting energy independence. “This Congress will reauthorize the ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ and I will work to make sure New York has the full funding our children deserve,” said Clinton. Clinton said she will also work on election reform to make sure every vote is counted and every vote counts. Another Clinton priority is to improve health care access, affordability and quality, including enacting health information technology legislation, expanding access to health care for children, and renewing the pediatric rule which ensures that prescription medications are safe for children. “I will also work to help ensure that the Section 8 Housing funding formula is updated, because our current outdated funding formula hurts all of New York’s cities, and work to stop the President’s proposal to block Section 8, which would have dire consequences across the state,” said Clinton.

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