Remembering What Started The Plame Investigation

Yesterday, I, along with 20 other members of the House, requested Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to expand his investigation to include possible crimes committed by the Bush Administration, specifically those that may have resulted from lying to Congress about pre-war intelligence.  At the heart of the CIA leak case is the fact that the Bush administration lied about pre-war intelligence and then later attempted to discredit a credible source who was going public with information that exposed those lies. If the president and other senior administration officials had not falsely claimed that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa then there wouldn't have been the need for Joseph Wilson to investigate those claims on behalf of the CIA, members of the Bush administration wouldn't have plotted to leak the identity of Valerie Wilson in retaliation for her husband's public statements, and Patrick Fitzgerald would be sitting at his desk in Chicago working solely as a U.S. Attorney.

Fighting The GOP To Preserve A Living Wage

Congressional Republicans should be ashamed that their refusal to address the minimum wage has allowed it to now drop to the lowest level in 50 years when adjusted for inflation. On Tuesday, I was very pleased that my amendment to the FY07 Labor Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill to gradually increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25, based on a bill introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), passed the Appropriations Committee. Though the Republicans are threatening to strip the amendment from the bill, we will fight to have the minimum wage language included in the final Labor-H bill. Millions of American families are depending on it.

Re: FEMA--Day Late And a Dollar Short

Once again, FEMA is a day late and a dollar short with their response to the waste, fraud and abuse that occurred post-Katrina.  Everyone agrees that we need to get emergency aid to people in times of need, but to have more than $1 billion of taxpayers dollars spent on vacations to Hawaii, trips to the casino and adult videos is unconscionable and unacceptable to me.  Unbelievably, some of the aid was sent to federal prisoners in states unaffected by the hurricane.  Yesterday's hearing hopefully made it crystal clear to FEMA that a repeat performance like this will not stand, and that we fully expect the criminals who gamed the system last year and cheated American taxpayers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Equally important is that FEMA must develop systems that will prevent fraud like this from taking place in the future.

Re:Iraq–Bush Wrong In Every Major Aspect, Time For Change

When I speak on the House floor on the Iraq resolution, I want to be clear: Democrats strongly support our troops in Iraq. But the level of their sacrifice has never been matched by the level of the Bush Administration's planning. On every major aspect of the Iraq war, President Bush and his advisors have been wrong. They were wrong on the reason to go to war; wrong on the reception our troops would receive; wrong on the speed with which the Iraqi economy could finance reconstruction, and wrong on the willingness of the international community to join in efforts to stabilize Iraq.

I will continue the Democratic call for a new direction in Iraq. Our new direction will say to the Iraqi people: we will not be in your country indefinitely, we will not construct permanent bases, and we will not control the flow of your oil. We will work with you and your neighbors diplomatically to ensure that the reconstruction of Iraq is successful. We will do as Congressman Murtha advocates: we will "redeploy and be ready."

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The Hill Blog as a great message tool.

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When Senators Wear Seersucker Suits

If you're wondering why the Senate looked like a  convention of ice cream vendors Thursday, the reason is that it was the one day of the year when senators are encouraged to wear seersucker suits.

Some 20 senators showed up wearing the warm weather garb, including Majority Leader Bill Frist, who not only was wearing seersucker but white shoes as well. Three other senators did the same, including Republicans Gordon Smith of Oregon and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who was decked out in a bow tie as well.


Re:Troop Withdrawal--It’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq

Want to win the war on terror? Want to deal with Iran’s nuclear threat? Want to stop the Taliban from retaking Afghanistan? Want to stop Al Qaeda’s new beachhead in Somalia? I sure as hell do. I’m tired of a national security game of half measures where the same people who took their boots off Osama bin Laden’s neck at Tora Bora when he was cornered, now think we have to stay bogged down in Iraq forever and leave these growing threats unaddressed.

Our enemies are thrilled we’re bogged down in Iraq. But we have a choice. It’s time to redeploy for victory in the war on terror. It’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq. We know the verdict of our generals: the war cannot be won militarily; the only way forward is a political settlement. We need to listen to Gen. George Casey, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, who argued that our large military presence "extends the amount of time that it will take for Iraqi security forces to become self-reliant." To make Iraq self-reliant, we need hard and fast deadlines, not an open-ended commitment of U.S. forces. Our troops have done their job in Iraq. It’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq.

Now Is Not The Time To Take Our Boot Off The Enemy's Neck

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell’s announcement regarding recent raids on terrorist insurgents is another sign of our military’s success in finding and killing terrorists. Congress is now debating a very clear choice: to continue that success, or leave Iraq in the heat of the battle—before victory is achieved. It’s never been clearer: When your boot is on your enemy’s neck, it’s not the time to quit.

Re: House Iraq Debate--Iraq, Not War On Terror, Is Issue

We were promised a debate on Iraq, and this is not that debate. This resolution is an entirely political document. It confuses support for the troops and the Global War on Terror with the War in Iraq. It amounts to nothing more than Republican propaganda that was drafted by political spinmeisters. The War on Terror and the War in Iraq are separate conflicts. To combine these issues is a disservice to the people who bravely serve their country every day and diverts attention away from what we should really be debating: Iraq.