|8:51 PM EDT||
Roy Blunt, R-MO 7th
Mr. BLUNT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding as this debate comes to an end.
The legislation we have debated here tonight was at one point supposed to be an emergency supplemental spending bill for our troops, dispatched to them with urgency, resolution, and purpose. It was supposed to provide money and resources for our fighting men and women on the frontlines so that they had the tools and equipment they needed to finish the task at hand.
Instead the majority turned this important funding package into an exercise in political theater, along the way, disregarding the testimony of our military commanders, the wishes of many in their own caucus, and basic and numerous dictates of our Constitution and our history.
The result has been a final conference report, though we know it really won't be a final conference report. It has been a conference report that imposes artificial deadlines, ties the hands of our commanders in the field, and demotes those tasked with managing an active military engagement to the rank of administrative assistant, forced to check new boxes before exercising the authority they have today to execute their mission.
And it would spend billions of dollars on things that should have been debated at another time. Some of those things have merit. Some of those things I agree with. Some of them I don't. But they shouldn't have been debated as part of this bill.
Those who attended today's briefing with General Petraeus benefited from a clear and sober assessment of our chances for achieving success in Iraq and the consequences we can expect by declaring defeat. But not a single person in that room today, with knowledge of our progress on the ground, believes this war was lost or that our presence there was without merit. Unfortunately, too many in this Chamber seem convinced of the inevitability of defeat.
However this vote turns out, I am hopeful that tonight's roll call will end this effort to undercut our mission by undermining the authority of our commanders in the field. Republicans are willing, and have been willing, to work with the majority on this bill. But we will not waver on our insistence that an emergency troop support bill passed by Congress actually be focused on supporting the troops. The legislation before us tonight fails to meet that most basic standard.
I urge a ``no'' vote on this bill and ask my colleagues to join me tonight in standing up for the interests of our men and women in harm's way. And hopefully, very soon, we can join together in crafting a bill that will be considered quickly, as this one should have been, passed quickly, with help to the frontlines as soon as possible.
It's time for the political theater to end and the real work to begin.