|1:25 PM EDT||
Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-NJ 11th
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this legislation, and I thank the gentleman for yielding.
I oppose this legislation on two distinct grounds. On process, the American people should expect more from this Congress. They should expect that when the United States sends our brave men and women into combat, we provide them with the resources to protect themselves and to accomplish their mission, both military and humanitarian, and we do it expeditiously.
In this context, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Nation's top military officer, has warned all of us and our congressional leaders, and I quote: ``The Pentagon is dangerously close to running out of money. We need the supplemental appropriations very badly before the Memorial Day recess. We stop paying soldiers on the 15th of June, and we have precious little flexibility with respect to that.''
Should it be a surprise to the majority leadership? Absolutely not. Our troops have been waiting nearly 450 days since the President delivered his request for emergency funds to Congress. Our soldiers need this funding to continue their efforts in the global war on terror.
Yet this is a process that amounts to deliberate brinksmanship. You have waited until the 11th hour before bringing the bill to the floor in an effort to force the President and the Congress to endorse and accept billions of dollars of nonwar, nonemergency spending.
Having said that, Mr. Speaker, on substance, on the funding for Iraq and Afghanistan, this is a solid package and I commend the gentleman, Chairman Murtha, and the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Young) for their work. However, my colleagues, once again we are being asked to endorse a policy that amounts to retreat from our battles with terrorists in Iraq.
But this bill in the end should not be about binding or nonbinding deadlines for withdraw or how to conduct this war. The critical mass of this bill is about supporting our troops and making sure that all of these volunteers get what they need.