Welch criticizes President Bush for inflexibility on war

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(Host) Congressman Peter Welch says Congressional Democrats should maintain a tough stand against the Iraqi war policies of the Bush Administration.

Welch says the time has come to cut off funding for the war as soon as possible.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) This past week, Senate Democrats tried several times to change this country’s policies in Iraq. They weren’t successful.

On a number of bills they failed to win a majority of votes. On others they didn’t have the votes to cut off a filibuster by a group of Republican senators.

Speaking on VPR’s Vermont Edition, Congressman Welch says he’s frustrated by the stalemate in Washington and he’s upset that President Bush has shown no willingness to alter his policies in Iraq.


(Welch) "We had the bipartisan study commission, the Iraq Study Commission, giving the president a way forward that acknowledged the political nature of this conflict. The president disregarded the vote, he disregarded the legislation passed by the Democrats in the House of Representatives and he completely gave the back of his hand to the Iraq Study Commission."

(Kinzel) Given the reality of the current situation in Washington, some Democratic leaders are offering scaled down plans in an effort to attract some Republican votes.

Welch doesn’t support this approach. He wants Democrats to support efforts to cut off funding for the war.

(Welch) "The bottom line here is the President hasn’t budged and that’s the reality that we’re dealing with. My view we’ve got to use the power of the purse. Iit’s really the only power that we have and I’ll do all I can to support legislation that uses the power of the purse to limit funding for the purpose of bringing our troops home."

(Kinzel) Welch says it’s clear to him that the United States will never be successful in Iraq as long as the Administration continues to push for a military solution.

(Welch) "So, frankly, my view is that we’ve got to call this question for what it is. It’s really, do we believe that the future of Iraq and America‘s role there can be resolved militarily? The question comes down to whether you think that a third party military can successfully referee a civil war to a peaceful political and economic solution."

(Kinzel) The President has asked Congress to support legislation allocating an additional 50 billion dollars for the war in Iraq. Welch says he’ll vote against this plan.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.



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