I am absolutely pleased and proud about the Democrats gaining the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.  This is a sign that Americans believe we need a new direction for our country and that new leaders can do far better in representing their concerns.

The American people have made it clear that they are dissatisfied with the Administration’s policy in Iraq and they expect Congress and the Administration to work together to find solutions to this critical issue.  The raging sectarian violence, combined with the insurgency, is edging toward chaos with no light at the end of the tunnel for the American efforts.  Because of the Iraqi conflict, the American military is stretched dangerously thin, resulting in serious readiness problems should our forces be needed elsewhere to defend U.S. interests.

Should I have the opportunity to lead the House Armed Services Committee, I would seek to make oversight of the Pentagon and of the Administration’s military policies a top priority.  A comprehensive examination of our current policy in Iraq and identifying options for the future is a must.

Other centerpieces of the Committee’s efforts must include: taking care of the troops and their families; rebuilding military readiness, particularly for the Army and the Marine Corps; refocusing attention on the war in Afghanistan; placing greater emphasis on preventing nuclear proliferation; and ensuring that our Navy has the ships to meet the range of missions the United States must undertake as a global power.

Most important, we must ever remember that America needs a strong national defense.  That is the obligation Congress has under the Constitution, and I fully expect that the new Congress will fulfill this critical responsibility.  I am confident that all of my colleagues are united in our commitment to keep America safe, to provide for a strong national defense, and to support our men and women in uniform.