First District Congressman Bruce Braley is taking part in today’s hearing in the U.S. House focusing on alleged waste, fraud and abuse of money intended for the reconstruction of Iraq. Braley, a democrat from Waterloo, won his seat in November with the situation in Iraq as one of his campaign issues.
Braley says: "As we begin these important hearings, it’s important to remember that in 2005, Congress expressed in clear terms in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2006, that calendar year 2006 should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty with Iraqi security forces taking the lead for security of a free and sovereign Iraq, thereby creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of United States forces in Iraq." Braley says the terms set forth by Congress have not been followed.
Braley says 2006 has come and gone and the Iraqi security forces have not taken responsibility for security in Iraq, and instead of a phased redeployment, the President is planning to escalate troop levels in Iraq. Braley says the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction review "highlights grave areas of concern for the reconstruction of Iraq." Braley said today there are numerous problems in Iraq that need to be addressed.
Braley says, "Despite billions of dollars in investments funded by U.S. taxpayers, the government of Iraq has been unable to protect its infrastructure, particularly in the areas of electricity and oil pipelines. And finally the security situation continues to deteriorate and the effectiveness of the Iraqi security forces remains a significant concern." Braley’s comments came in opening statements at the hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Braley says the hearings will "discuss how we got to this point discuss lessons learned from our past mistakes and successes." Ambassador Paul Bremer, the former head of the Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority, is testifying before the committee.