The U.S. Senate is starting debate this morning on an Iraq war funding bill that would start the pull-out of U.S. troops in October. The measure passed the House on Wednesday. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says it’s important that the issue be debated and voted upon, even though President Bush has promised to veto it.
Harkin says: "We are a separate branch of government, I needn’t remind people. We’re here to represent, as best we can, the will of the American people from our different constituencies. Frankly, when I hear from the people of Iowa, more and more every day, is that we’ve got to set a timetable to get out of Iraq. We’re hearing that all over the United States."
Next Tuesday will mark four years since Bush declared "mission accomplished" and an end to the major combat operations in Iraq. Harkin says the troops are long overdue to come home. Harkin says, "People are fed up and they want us to do something about it. Here’s what we can do about it and we’re trying to do it today. I think we have an obligation to speak, to pass legislation, to try to end this war in Iraq. That’s what we’re going to do. The president has his own constitutional rights and his rights are to sign it or to veto it."
Harkin says if Bush does veto the measure, it would send "all the wrong signals" to the Iraqis and to the American people that what we’re doing in Iraq is an open-ended effort.