Sanders: Bring our Troops Home from Iraq

The Senate voted against an amendment that would have stripped an American troop withdrawal date from an Iraq spending bill.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was in the 50 to 48 majority that blocked the attempt to remove the withdrawal date of March 31, 2008, from the bill.

The measure also contains funding for veterans' health care, dairy farmers and victims of Hurricane Katrina. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill if the anti-war language is included. It is not yet known how man

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2007- The Senate voted against an amendment that would have stripped an American troop withdrawal date from an Iraq spending bill.Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was in the 50 to 48 majority that blocked the attempt to remove the withdrawal date of March 31, 2008, from the bill. The measure also contains funding for veterans' health care, dairy farmers and victims of Hurricane Katrina. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill if the anti-war language is included. It is not yet known how many Republicans, if any, will vote for the bill. "The war in Iraq has been a disaster, and we must bring our troops home as soon as possible - starting in the next several months. American service members have done everything the government has asked of them. Over 3,200 have been killed, and tens of thousands more have been wounded; many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have also died, been injured, or forced into exile," Sanders said. "As someone who helped lead the opposition to the war in Iraq and who voted against it, I will support any and all legislation which achieves the goal of bringing our troops home," he added. "It is clear that the Bush administration's policies, and our very presence in Iraq, stands in the way of the Iraqis themselves coming to a political solution to their long-standing internal conflicts. It is high time that we put the burden of Iraq's future into the hands of the Iraqis themselves, and not place our soldiers in the middle of a civil war."Sanders actively opposed the president's surge proposal. In addition, to ensure that the president does not widen the war in the Middle East, he introduced legislation that makes clear that the president does not have the authority to attack Iran without the congressional authorization that our Constitution requires. "I will continue to support every effort to demonstrate congressional opposition to the continuation of the war in Iraq. At times that means I will vote for or cosponsor legislation that is not nearly as strong as I would like it to be," Sanders said. "I share the frustration of many that the Congress has failed to move more boldly in light of the clear message sent by the American people in November," Sanders added. "But I believe it would be counterproductive to take the position that some are advocating, namely to vote against anything that doesn't include an immediate or nearly immediate withdrawal from Iraq. That would mean voting with the Bush administration and congressional Republicans and handing a victory to those who want to continue and perhaps expand the war into neighboring countries." Sanders concluded that he would have to see the final form of the Iraq supplemental spending bill before deciding if he could support it. If language setting a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq were removed, Sanders said he could not vote for the bill. In addition, Sanders noted that this is the first vote on a bill which would thereafter have to be reconciled with a House version and then voted on again. The president has also threatened to veto the bill, which would create additional votes on the measure. In either instance, Sanders said he would have to make an independent assessment of whether or not the language of the bill represented a step forward in helping to bring home American troops and ending the war in Iraq.