WASHINGTON D.C.- Members of the fiscally conservative, Democratic Blue Dog Coalition demanded greater accountability and responsibility regarding the war in Iraq at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol Friday.
The Blue Dog Coalition announced its plan to introduce a resolution calling for increased fiscal accountability in funding the Iraq war. The resolution focuses on four crucial points for demanding fiscal responsibility in Iraq. The points are: a call for transparency on how Iraq war funds are spent; the creation of a Truman Commission to investigate the awarding of contracts; a need to fund the Iraq war through the normal appropriations process and not through “emergency” supplementals; and using American resources to improve Iraqi assumption of internal policing operations.
“The legislation we are introducing today addresses the glaring lack of oversight and accountability in Iraq and addresses how taxpayer dollars are spent on the war,” said Rep. Patrick Murphy. “It is long past time we kept track of the money we spend in Iraq and replace waste, fraud and abuse with oversight, responsibility and accountability. This resolution puts forward tangible, commonsense proposals that ensure more resources get to the troops in the field. These are measures everyone can agree on, regardless of political party.”
“Had requests for funds for the Iraq war been on-budget, Congress would have learned far earlier what was going wrong. Budgeting by supplemental prevents Congress from doing our job and misleads the public about the true trade-offs,” Rep. Jane Harman said.
"We have to bring accountability, transparency and honesty to the way these military operations are run by the civilian leadership at the Pentagon," said Rep. John Tanner. "The American people deserve to know how their tax dollars have been spent -- and in many cases, wasted -- toward a goal that is increasingly impossible to achieve if the Iraqi people are unable or unwilling to work together politically to stabilize their own country."
"We've found countless examples of how American tax dollars have been wasted and abused in Iraq, putting our service members’ lives more at risk," said Rep. Mike Thompson. "Congressional oversight is desperately needed. The Bush Administration must be held accountable for how military and reconstruction funds are used, and this resolution is an important first step toward making that happen."
“We are also calling for an accounting with the Iraqi government and its people,” Rep. Jim Marshall. “Iraqis must steadily progress toward full responsibility for internally policing their country. Without such progress, it is wasteful to continue our investment of lives, limbs and taxpayer dollars in Iraq.”
The conservative Blue Dog Coalition was formed in 1995 with the goal of representing the center of the House of Representatives and appealing to the mainstream values of the American public. The Blue Dogs are dedicated to a core set of beliefs that transcend partisan politics, including a deep commitment to the financial stability and national security of the United States. Currently there are 44 members of the Blue Dog Coalition.
Blue Dog members participating in the event included: Rep. Jane Harman (CA-36), Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA-08), Rep. John Tanner (TN-08); Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-01); Rep. Jim Marshall (GA-08); Rep. Mike Ross (AR-04), Co-Chair for Communications; Rep. Allen Boyd (FL-02), Co-Chair for Administration; Rep. Dennis Moore (KS-03), Co-Chair for Policy; and Rep. Stephanie Herseth (SD-AL), Whip.
* FORD PRO-FAMILY STANCE DRAWS CRITICISM
Former Congressman Harold Ford (D-TN) is expected to become the next chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. Baptist Press reports that Ford's likely DLC chairmanship has drawn criticism from a powerful interest group within the Democratic Party.
"The likely choice of Ford, a former representative from Tennessee, has some homosexual activists upset. Ford twice supported a proposed federal constitutional marriage amendment, in 2004 and 2006. He also vocally opposed a 2006 decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court ordering the state legislature either to legalize "gay marriage" or Vermont-style civil unions.Ford lost in a close race for the Senate last year to Bob Corker."
"National Stonewall Democrats, a group that advances homosexual causes within the party, issued a statement Jan. 12 expressing "deep concern" over the choice of Ford, saying he "possesses a poor record on issues that impact LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] families."
"Congressman Harold Ford has demonstrated a lack of leadership and judgment on family issues that causes our members great concern," Joanne Wyrick, executive director of National Stonewall Democrats, said in a statement. "His willingness to lightly amend the U.S. Constitution and to exploit gay families for political gain should alarm Democrats across the country. The Democratic Leadership Council is in need of leadership that supports and affirms all American families."The statement claimed Ford was at "odds with the past position of the Democratic Leadership Council."
"The DLC is not an official party organization but seeks to influence the direction of the party. Ford would replace outgoing Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who is running for president." http://tinyurl.com/3czlvr
This blogger supported equal rights for gays and lesbians in employment and housing long before such a view was popular. I am not homophobic but recognize that gay-lesbian activists have become a major force within the party and tend to put their own narrow agenda first. Everyone has the right to participate, however, issues like gay marriage cannot be allowed to define our party. We need more Democrats like Harold Ford who recognize that our party must affirm traditional marriage.