Sen. Carper’s Statement on Iraq Vote in U.S. Senate

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) issued the following statement in response to his vote late tonight to support the Iraq funding bill in the Senate. Sen. Carper said:

"I voted for this legislation because we need to make sure our troops have the equipment and supplies while they remain in harm’s way.

"As I have said before, I am not prepared to vote to cut funding for our troops on the ground in Iraq, and this legislation fully funds our military operations there for the next four months.

"I believe the President and the Congress share a common goal: to compel the Iraqi people to assume responsibility for their own country, although we differ on how to accomplish that goal.

"In addition, this bill did not provide for a phased redeployment of most U.S. combat troops from Iraq over the next year, something that I strongly support.

"I believe one of the most effective means to compel the Iraqi government to make tough decisions is to make it clear that large numbers of American troops will not remain in Iraq forever.

Although I voted today to fund our troops through September, I’m still convinced that this bill does not put enough pressure on the Iraqi government to make tough decisions about sharing oil revenues, sharing political power, controlling militias, or including former Baathists in the governing process.

"In the coming months, we in Congress will actively monitor whether the Iraqi government is making real progress to stabilize its own country.

"Prior to voting in September, on whether to continue Iraq war funding for the next fiscal year, General David Petraeus, who commands our forces there, must come before the Congress to report on whether the President’s troop surge is stabilizing Iraq.

"The Congress will also receive a report from President Bush in July and again in September on whether the Iraqi government is working to meet the 18 benchmarks, or milestones, laid out in this bill."