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Troops out of Iraq by end of 2007

With many in the country questioning President Bush’s recent “surge” plan to win the war in Iraq, Rep. Jerrold Nadler introduced a bill in Congress last week that would stop Bush’s planned offensive. Nadler represents parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Titled the “Protect the Troops and Bring Them Home Act,” the bill would limit any funds that Congress appropriates for the war to working toward bringing all troops home from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2007. Additionally, the bill will allow funds to only be spent to protect current U.S. troops that are in Iraq, provide assistance to Iraqi security forces, provide economic and reconstruction assistance, and arrange for diplomatic consultations. “It has been wrongly asserted that Congress cannot force the President to de-escalate or withdraw from Iraq because it cannot use its only real power — cutting off funds — lest it be accused of ‘abandoning the troops,’” says Nadler. “But if Congress appropriates funds, but limits those funds to protecting the troops and redeploying them from Iraq, that would be the best way of supporting the troops,” he added. Nadler said that keeping or adding American soldiers in the middle of a civil war with no end in sight is the ultimate act of abandonment. “We must save American lives by bringing them home as soon as possible,” he said. Nadler’s bill is one of several being floated in Congress to curtail Bush’s recent plan to pour another 20,000 U.S. troops into the country. Other bills being floated in the House of Representatives include measures by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Rep. Lynne Woosley’s (D-CA). On the Senate side, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced a bill requiring the President to gain new Congressional authority before escalating the war in Iraq. Nadler spokesperson Ari Goldberg said all the bills are similar, but Nadler’s bill is the only one cutting off funds for offensive operations in Iraq. Sources familiar with legislative matters on the Hill said it is highly doubtful that Nadler’s bill will pass, but the measure does indicate how far opposition to Bush’s policies have come. For Nadler, who has been highly critical of Bush and his policies since the standing president first took office, the bill will put some teeth into the growing criticism. “If we want to end America’s military involvement in Iraq’s civil war, the only way we can overcome the President’s stubbornness in keeping us involved in this misguided effort is to limit the use of the funds to protecting our troops while carrying out a withdrawal,” Nadler said.

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