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FACT CHECK: Congress Does Not Have To Fund Escalation In Iraq

By Judd Legum  

"FACT CHECK: Congress Does Not Have To Fund Escalation In Iraq"

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Last night on ABC News, newly elected Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-KS) said she would support funding for 20,000-40,000 more troops in Iraq because President Bush “is the commander in chief. …We don’t get that choice. Congress doesn’t make that decision.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/01/boyda.320.240.flv]

Boyda is wrong on the facts. A recent Center for American Progress memo explains how Congress could — and should — prevent Bush from sending more troops into a civil war in Iraq without a clear mission. An excerpt:

Although the new Congress should not refuse to provide the funds that the troops already in Iraq and Afghanistan need, it can place an amendment on the supplemental funding bill that states that if the administration wants to increase the number of troops in Iraq above 150,000, it must provide a plan for their purpose and require an up or down vote on exceeding that number.

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), an Iraq war veteran, came out strongly in opposition to escalation, saying, “We need to listen to the military experts, people like Gen. Colin Powell, Gen. Abizaid, that say, ‘Listen, the surge isn’t going to work.’” Another newly elected member, Rep. Health Shuler (D-NC) was more circumspect. Shuler said he didn’t think escalation was “the solution” but would consider it if “that’s what our military leaders said.”

Transcript:

Gibson: Would you vote in favor of money to support another 20,000 to 40,000 troops in Iraq?

Boyda: I think we’re going to vote to support what the commander in chief and head of military asks to do. At least, I am certainly going to vote to support it.

Gibson: If he wants the surge, he’ll get it.

Boyda: Yes…. He is the commander in chief, Charlie. We don’t get that choice. Congress doesn’t make that decision.

Gibson: But the polls would indicate, and indeed, so many voters when they came out of the ballot box, said, “We’re voting because we want something done about the war and we want the troops home.”

Boyda: They should have thought about that before they voted for President Bush not once, but twice.

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