WASHINGTON - June 9 - Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) condemned Republican efforts to quietly remove a provision to prevent spending to establish permanent military bases in Iraq during the conference committee on the emergency war supplemental spending bill.
"The House and Senate went on record opposing permanent bases, but now the Republicans are trying to sneak them back in in the middle of the night," said Lee. "The Republicans willingness to abuse the legislative process is clear evidence of their unwillingness to level with the American people about their plans for Iraq."
Although both the House and Senate unanimously approved amendments introduced by Lee and Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), respectively, to prevent funds appropriated in the bill from being used to establish permanent military bases in Iraq, Republican members of the joint committee appointed to reconcile the House and Senate versions voted to strip the provision from the bill.
Lee was emphatic that the upcoming floor debate on Iraq, expected next week, explicitly clarify the nation's position on permanent bases.
"The perception that the U.S. intends to occupy Iraq indefinitely is fueling the insurgency and making our troops more vulnerable. We need to make it perfectly clear that there will be no permanent US military presence in Iraq," said Lee. "If we are going to have a real debate on Iraq next week, it must explicitly address this question, and Republicans need to go on record as to whether they think we should stay in Iraq permanently."