I Will Not Pay For Bush's Stay-The-Course Policy

Our troops in Iraq continue to serve with courage and bravery and I remain proud of them. Their successful mission to eliminate the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a great victory. However, al-Zarqawi's death does not change the fact that the President's failed policy in Iraq has cost too many American lives, tarnished America's image abroad, nearly exhausted our military, and taken our attention away from the Global War on Terrorism.

Today, I again sent a clear message to President Bush that he cannot count on me to continue paying for his stay-the-course policy in Iraq. We must re-deploy all our troops out of Iraq, returning most of them home and leaving a quick-reaction force in the region. It is time to change course and bring our troops home within six months.

U.S. involvement in Iraq has now claimed 2,497 lives and cost nearly $350 billion dollars. Our people would willingly bear the human and economic cost of the war in Iraq if it would actually save American lives in the long-run. It will not. Given the President's lost credibility and ever-changing excuses for taking our country to war, we can no longer justify the egregious loss of American life and hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent in Iraq.


It is Our Duty to Hold Administration Responsible for Overspending

Nineteen of 24 federal agencies cannot produce full audits that show how they are spending the taxpayer money they get from Congress every year, according to the Government Accountability Office's review of the books for 2005. The legislative branch isn't adequately examining where taxpayer money is going and whether it's being spent properly, even when istances of waste, fraud and abuse are identified by GAO, the White House's Office of Management and Budget, or the Inspectors General who work in each agency. This unchecked overspending has contributed to four record-high budget deficits in a row and a federal debt that has reached $8.3 trillion and is growing. American taxpayers, including the future generations who will have to pay back that debt with interest -- much of it to foreign coutries -- deserve to know how Washington is spending their money. Congress is letting them down.

We Need To Bring Amendments, Not Just Words

Over the last year, we have seen unspeakable horrors in Iraq. Indiscriminate suicide bombings have been creating havoc in the streets and, despite the political successes of three elections, Iraq has been pushed to the brink of civil war, or perhaps by now over the brink.

Through the midst of all this carnage, and the deaths of over 2600 Americans and the injuries of tens of thousands more since March of 2003, our men and women in uniform have been doing their utmost, sometimes without the necessary troop strength or adequate equipment, to make the international effort in Iraq a success.

The House Republican leadership has made a decision that we need a thorough debate about the conflict in Iraq and its conduct, about the nature of that conflict, and about the role of our troops in that conflict. Having made that decision, I think it is no longer enough to allow every member to make a speech on the House floor. And the debate should provide enough time so that every member has at least five minutes to express their views on Iraq.

It is time to let members bring their ideas to the floor in the form of amendments and work the will of our House. Anything short of that makes a mockery of the Republican leader’s expressed goal to produce a full and real debate on the issue of the U.S. involvement in Iraq. And it would dishonor our men and women in uniform who are struggling to protect and uphold democratic principles abroad.


Chemical Security To Ensure Homeland Security

The recent arrests of 17 Canadians charged with plotting to attack targets in and around Ontario with ammonium nitrate fertilizer-based bombs is just another compelling reason why Congress must act to regulate the ammonium nitrate fertilizer industry. A material of choice for domestic terrorists, ammonium nitrate was used in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people and has been used in terrorist bombings around the world.

The ammonium nitrate industry has acted responsibly in asking for Congress's help and they should be commended for their proactive effort to protect ammonium nitrate from being abused or stockpiled by those wishing to do America harm. I also applaud the leadership of the House Homeland Security Committee for moving this bill forward for a full committee vote. This legislation will empower the Department of Homeland Security to regulate the sale of ammonium nitrate and help keep this potentially dangerous substance out of terrorist hands.


Heading Towards Reform,Away From Fiscal Irresponsibility

The Securing America's Future Economy (SAFE) Commission Act establishes a national commission to examine these systems and present long-term solutions to place the United States on a fiscally sustainable course and ensure the solvency of entitlement programs for future generations. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) has introduced a similar bill in the House.Last week I voted against the fiscally irresponsible repeal of the estate tax and called on Congress to heed Americans' demand for fundamental tax and entitlement reform. This legislation shows that I am serious about that call.

Tiananmen Square-A Catalyst for Democratic Reform

The lone protestor standing in front of a line of Chinese tanks at Tiananmen Square is perhaps one of the most recognizable photos in modern history. The image is over seventeen years old, but it could've been taken yesterday. That's because according to the People's Republic of China (PRC), their crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators never happened, and their citizens' calls for democratic change have gone unanswered.

In early June in 1989, Chinese authorities ordered the People's Liberation Army and other security forces to use lethal force to disperse demonstrators in Beijing, who had taken to the streets to call for those basic rights. It is believed that thousands were wounded and killed, mostly those protesting around Tiananmen Square. 20,000 people throughout China suspected of taking part in the democracy movement were arrested and sentenced without trial to prison or reeducation through labor, and many were reportedly tortured.


The Republican Congress Is Keeping Troops in Iraq Indefinitely

During the debate on this bill, both Democrats and Republicans, the House and the Senate, went on record against establishing permanent bases in Iraq. Behind the closed doors of the Conference Committee, this widely supported provision was removed without explanation.

Because the Bush Administration will set no timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, both chambers of Congress acted to make sure our troops will not be left in Iraq indefinitely. Unfortunately, the Republican-dominated Conference Committee continued to rubber stamp the Bush Administration's Iraq policy.

Three years into the war, tens of thousands of American troops remain targets of a growing Iraqi insurgency. With no plan to win the peace and to secure Iraq, President Bush has left us with no good options. It is time to strategically redeploy our troops from Iraq and to let the Iraqis secure and govern their nation.


When Will We Start Caring About Our Oceans?

When Congress takes the time to create an U.S. Commission and we spend millions for commissioners to hold hearings and publish a massive report detailing a crisis, you might expect us to pay attention to the results. Sadly, though the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy's final report calling for immediate action came out in 2004, and though the ocean is fundamentally linked to billions in American economic activity, Congress has paid little attention. We might have learned to see the forest for the trees, but have yet to see the ocean for the waves.

We Can Achieve Energy and State Independence

As a nation we are too dependent on foreign sources for energy, and we must begin to become more self-sufficient through increased domestic production, conservation, and reliance on alternative and renewable energy sources. My bill provides incentives for more domestic production, allows states to have more control over energy activity off their coasts, and encourages production from new energy sources. My bill helps to lower energy costs, begins to reduce dependence on foreign sources, and allows states like Louisiana to share in the benefits from energy production. Louisiana's coastlines have borne the brunt of the consequences of energy exploration for decades, and this legislation will help restore our coastlines for generations to come.


Make The Iraq Resolution Amendable

The Republican Leadership has been affected by the same arrogant virus that has consumed the Administration in putting up a resolution that is not amendable.  It’s yet again the “my-way-or the highway,