Sen. Carper: Timeline Needed For Gradual Troop Drawdown

Funding Bill Provides Troops with Needed Resources, Sets Goals for Phased Redeployment from Iraq

A major funding bill that gives America’s troops the resources they need for combat, while also setting a timeline for a drawdown of troops in Iraq, today won the support of Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del).

By a vote of 51-47, this morning the Senate passed the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (S. 965), which provides $121.6 billion in funding for Fiscal Year 2007 activities related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It also provides funds to improve the health care provided to returning soldiers and veterans, continue Hurricane Katrina recovery for the Gulf Coast and funds critical homeland security initiatives.

The legislation has no restrictions on funding for the troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, but does call for a phased drawdown of troops. It requires a phased drawdown of troops 120 days after the bill’s enactment, while setting a non-binding goal to have troops out of Iraq, as recommended by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

"The Senate legislation mirrors the recommendations of the Iraq study group, which suggested late last year that we must start removing American troops if we expect the Iraqi government to take control of its own security and the welfare of its own people," Sen. Carper said.

"Now that both the House and Senate have passed legislation calling for a gradual drawdown of troops in Iraq, I hope the President understands that the White House and Congress must work together to find a bipartisan compromise that is in the best interest of both the American troops and the Iraqi people."

Sen. Carper urged the new Democratic Congress to work quickly next month to reconcile the House and Senate legislation so the men and women in uniform get vital resources to more effectively fight terrorism.

The senator also stressed this bill addresses the most urgent national needs by providing:

* $96 billion in war funds to ensure troops have the resources they need.
* $4.3 billion to ensure returning troops receive the health care they deserve.
* $2 billion for port, mass transit and airport security.
* $6.7 billion to help rebuild the Gulf Coast and put people back to work there.