Senate Supplemental Should Include Benchmarks

The war supplemental spending bill marked up the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday includes key provisions regarding our way forward in Iraq, in addition to providing the funds our troops need to carry out their mission.

Though I am not in favor of the bill’s provision that sets a goal date for troop withdrawal, I supported the overall bill because I successfully included language that would establish clear, measurable benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet as conditions for our troops staying in Iraq. My proposal also requires the U.S. Commander in Iraq to provide regular reports on the progress of the Iraqis in meeting the benchmarks.

There are two priorities with regard to Iraq. First, provide the necessary resources to our troops to carry out their mission. Second, continue the discussion about U.S. policy in Iraq and the future role of the U.S. military there. The benchmarks included in the supplemental successfully transfer accountability for Iraq's success to the Iraqis and requires regular reports to Congress on their progress. That information can be used by Congress to make future decisions about U.S. military presence in Iraq.

Some have already expressed opposition to the benchmark approach I have proposed. As we move forward with the supplemental appropriations bill they will have a chance to make their own recommendations. Because I believe the Senate must continue to discuss our role in Iraq, I am pleased that my benchmark language was included and as a result the debate will continue.

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