Jun 01 2009

Senator Graham was a guest on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to discuss the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court.  Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Video of the interview is available here.

The transcript is below:

Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace
May 31, 2009

Chris Wallace, Host
Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senator (R-South Carolina)
Arlen Specter, U.S. Senator (D-Pennsylvania)

WALLACE:
I'm Chris Wallace, and this is FOX News Sunday.A Supreme Court nominee is announced, and battle lines start taking shape. Will Judge Sonia Sotomayor be confirmed? We'll ask two leading members of the Senate committee that will decide her fate, Republican Lindsey Graham and recent Democratic convert Arlen Specter.

Then, our new series on the future of the GOP, Right Now -- how do Republicans rebuild and challenge President Obama? We'll kick off the conversation with Mitt Romney, only on FOX News Sunday.

Also, North Korea shows off its military might. We'll ask our Sunday regulars what the U.S. can do about it.

And our Power Players of the Week offer life lessons to the class of '09, all right now on FOX News Sunday.

And hello again from Fox News in Washington. With the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, we have brought in two leading members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who she will face during confirmation.
From Philadelphia, Arlen Specter -- a veteran of many hearings as a Republican. He's to a Democrat.

And here in studio, Lindsey Graham, who was and is a Republican.

Senators, welcome back to FOX News Sunday.

GRAHAM:
Good morning.

SPECTER:
Good to be with you.

WALLACE:
Thank you.

GRAHAM:
Good morning, Arlen.

WALLACE:
Let's start with Judge Sotomayor's controversial speech back in 2001 in which she said she hoped that a wise Latina woman judge would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male judge.

On Friday President Obama tried to walk that back. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:
I'm sure she would have restated it, but if you look in the entire sweep of the essay that she wrote, what's clear is that she was simply saying that her life experiences will give her information about the struggles and hardships that people are going through. That will make her a good judge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:
Senator Graham, does that clear it up for you?

GRAHAM:
No, she didn't say that at all. What she said is that based on her life experiences, that she felt a Latina woman, somebody with her background, would be a better judge than a guy like me, a white guy from South Carolina.

And it is troubling, and it's inappropriate, and I hope she'll apologize. And if I had said something like that or someone with my background and profile, we wouldn't be talking about this nomination going forward.

But we'll listen to what she has to say. But she's got to prove to me that if I found myself in court with a Latina woman in front of her I'd get a fair shake, and that's up to her to do.

WALLACE:
Well, let me follow up. Newt Gingrich says that she's a racist. Rush Limbaugh compares her to former Klansman David Duke. Are they right?

GRAHAM:
No. They interject themselves in the debate. They've got an audience to entertain, and Newt's a political commentator. I'm a United States senator.

But I do know this, that statement is not about talking abut her life experiences. It's getting from her life experiences a superiority based on those experiences versus somebody else in society. And I don't want that kind of person being a judge in my case. But I don't think she's a racist.

I think she's -- she should be proud of what she's accomplished in life. But to lead to the conclusion that all the hardship she has gone through makes her better than me is inappropriate.

WALLACE:
Senator Specter, are you troubled by Judge Sotomayor's comments and also about President Obama's empathy remarks? What happened to the idea that justice should be blind and not favoring one side over another?

SPECTER:
Well, when President Obama said that, I think he's looking for diversity, and I think Judge Sotomayor brings that.

But let's put her comment in context with the whole speech, and it didn't stand out all that much in context. And further, put it in context with her whole record. She has an extraordinary academic record -- Princeton and Yale, a prosecutor, have experience in international trade matters, on the district court, trial court experience, circuit court of appeals.

So she has an extraordinary record. And I believe that it's fair to ask her about the question, but she has a long solid record to show that she's fair and not biased.

WALLACE:
But, Senator, when she said -- and those were her words -- that I would think that more often than not -- I would hope that a wise Latina woman judge would reach better conclusions than a white male judge, what do you think she meant?

SPECTER:
Well, I think she meant that somebody with her experience has something to add.

Look, we live in a very diverse society, and it is really surprising that it took until 1967 to have an African American, Thurgood Marshall, on the court, or that it took until 1981 to have a woman, Sandra Day O'Connor, on the court. And still, there are only two women.

And that in this kind of a diverse society, if you go back to the Supreme Court discussion room, very small room, small table, nine people sit around and decide monumental questions, and of -- the diversity and the point of view of Latina woman is significant. It adds to the mix.

WALLACE:
Senator Specter, the issue of identity politics has been raised specifically in the Ricci case, a case that she decided as part of a three-judge panel earlier this year, in which she sided with the city of New Haven, throwing out a promotion exam in which 20 white and Hispanic firefighters would have been eligible for a promotion but no African Americans.

One, do you think that she was right on Ricci? And does it raise concerns that she made a decision based on race?

SPECTER:
I think she was well within the ambit of discretion of a judge. Different judges see issues differently. And you have Supreme Court deciding cases 5-4.

But I think her judgment there was very sound. Is race a factor? Well, it really is in our society. There's no hiding from it, notwithstanding all of the progress which has been made.

And the New Haven firefighters case is like so many tough ones. You want to be sure that the white applicants get a fair shot, and you want to be sure that the minority applicants get a fair shot. And a very tough call, but she made a justifiable call, in my legal opinion.

WALLACE:
Senator Graham, do you have a problem with Ricci? And what about the comparison that some of her supporters make to what Justice Alito said during his confirmation hearing? Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE ALITO:
When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that in to account.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:
Senator Graham, what's the difference?

GRAHAM:
Well, I think the difference is that we're talking about a comment she made about her life experiences basically making her superior to someone, not that I would add something new to the court, that the people on the other side basically have less to offer than I do.

How this case turns out, I don't know. It's a difficult fact pattern. But the judicial temperament of this judge is in question, her philosophy.

I know this, that if I use the Obama standard for confirmation, she would never get my vote, because Obama -- President Obama as senator voted against Alito and Roberts, two highly qualified people, saying that you need to look at the philosophy, ideology and legal record.

If I do that, if I look at her philosophy, her legal philosophy, which I think is very activist in nature -- this empathy word is just a code word for activism. If I look at her ideology that's being expressed in some of these cases and that one comment, I could never vote for her as a Republican.

And President Obama better hope that Republicans treat her better than he treated President Bush's nominee.

WALLACE:
Let me bring you another case which may raise the issue of activism and trying to make policy from the bench. This year, Judge Sotomayor joined a ruling that it is settled law that the Second Amendment applies to federal restrictions on guns or weapons, the right to bear arms, but not on state laws.

And she based this on an 1886 Supreme Court ruling rather than the ruling that the Supreme Court made just last year upholding an individual right to bear arms.
Senator Graham, do you see pattern or do you see that as an instance of Judge Sotomayor making policy from the bench?

GRAHAM:
If the -- if the legislative law doesn't sit with her, she finds a way as a judge to get around it, in my opinion.

When the Congress or the legislature comes up with a law that she doesn't like or feel comfortable with, she's looking for a way to get around that law rather than living within the confines of the way the law is written.

That's activism at its core, and that case that you just mentioned expresses that. But having said that, she is going to get firmly treated and fairly treated. Miguel Estrada was Hispanic, nominated to one of the highest courts in the land. He didn't get very well treated.

WALLACE:
This was an appeals court judge nominee from George W. Bush.

GRAHAM:

Yes. I intend to do better than our Democratic colleagues did with Ms. Sotomayor.

WALLACE:
Senator Specter, in voting for John Roberts to be a Supreme Court justice, you said the following. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPECTER:
He emphasized the point that judges are not politicians and that judges really ought to be having a view of the law which does not inject their own personal views into the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:
Senator Specter, can you honestly say that judge Sotomayor's statements and rulings live up to that standard?

SPECTER:
Well, Chris, yes, I can. Let's evaluate her in the context of the hundreds of opinions which she has written. You take one statement she made many years ago, you take a couple of cases -- and they ought to be scrutinized, and I'm going to participate in asking firm questions, probing questions. That's the job of a senator under the Constitution.

But evaluate Judge Sotomayor's record in the totality of her cases, not just picking a snatch here and a snatch there.

WALLACE:
Senator Specter, given the fact that you just switch parties and just became a Democrat, don't you, as matter of practical politics, have to vote for President Obama's nominee?

SPECTER:
No. No. I am duty-bound under the Constitution to exercise independent judgment under separation of powers. Look here, one of the most highly touted Republican nominees for the Supreme Court ever by a Republican president was Judge Bork. And he was of my own party.

And I thought it was my duty to analyze what Judge Bork had to say about original intent and to make an independent judgment under separation of powers. And my record is pretty obvious in having voted on an independent basis, and that's a senator's responsibility. And, Chris, you can be sure I'm going to discharge it.

WALLACE:
Let me ask you both about the question of schedule.

Senator Graham, President Obama -- the White House is pushing for this all to be decided, a confirmation vote, not just by the Judiciary Committee but by the full Senate before you go on August recess about the 7th of August. Are you going to do that?

GRAHAM:
I don't think that's practical. I don't think that's appropriate. Chief Justice Roberts was voted on September the 29th. We've got a lot to do. We don't really know much about her. The FBI report is not done yet. If you use the Alito-Roberts standard, we're looking at September. And I'm not going to cut this sort. She is somebody that has accomplished a lot in America, but my question is does she really understand what America is about. To come as far as she has is a great compliment to her.

But we don't need to take those experiences and say somebody else is smaller because they're different. And I hope she will apologize for the comment we're all talking about.

WALLACE:
Senator Specter, can you get it done and should you get it done before the August recess? I can remember when you were on the Republican side you used to jealously guard your discretion to hold hearings and schedule votes when you wanted to.

SPECTER:
I think it can be done by the end of the July session. Let's take a look at the record and evaluate all of the extent of the paperwork. But from this perspective, I think it's do-able. And I think it's important to have her on the bench when the court starts to consider in September the applications for certiorari, what cases they're going to hear.

We might have to work Mondays and Fridays to do it, but we can get it done.

WALLACE:
Senator Specter, I'm -- can you hear me still, sir?

SPECTER:
Sure do.

WALLACE:
Oh, good. OK, because we wondered -- we thought there might be a technical problem. I've got about a minute left and I want to ask you two quick questions.

You admit -- and you were very open about it -- that you switched parties because, in large measure, you faced a very tough Republican primary. Now Congressman Joe Sestak says that you're more concerned about your job than you are about your state and that he may oppose you in the Democratic primary.

First question: Are you certain that you can beat Joe Sestak in the Democratic primary?

SPECTER:
Chris, in a political campaign there's no such thing as certainty. Listen, it's a free society. I didn't ask that the field be cleared. There was no discussion of that.
Everybody ought to run if he or she wants to run. And I'm ready to take on all comers.

WALLACE:
And finally, as the newest and most junior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, instead of having that position right next to the chairman, you're going to be all the way down at the end of the table and probably questioning Judge Sotomayor at 1:00 in the morning.

How do you feel about your loss of status, sir?

SPECTER:
I feel that I can handle it. Listen, it wasn't next to the chairman. I was the chairman during the Roberts and Alito confirmation hearings. I was way down the line when Judge Bork was up for confirmation, and my voice was heard loudly and clearly.

WALLACE:
Well, it always is.

Senator Specter, Senator Graham, I want to thank you both so much for joining us today.

GRAHAM:
Thank you.

WALLACE:
It should be an interesting summer.

SPECTER:
Nice to be with you. Thank you.

WALLACE:
Thank you.

######

May 26 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the United States Supreme Court.  Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I do not know Judge Sotomayor.  I look forward to meeting with her and discussing the important issues confronting the court. 

“As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I intend to be fair and firm in my questioning of the nominee.  The hearings can be a valuable public service as they give us a window into the nominee’s judicial philosophy and disposition.  I hope we will have a meaningful opportunity to explore the qualifications, judicial temperament and judicial philosophy of Judge Sotomayor.

“I was fortunate to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings of both John Roberts and Samuel Alito.  Under intense questioning in private and public settings, both nominees advanced clear and concise understandings of the law.  I was proud to vote for their confirmation.”

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May 22 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and U.S. Representative John Kline (R-MN), will lead the official Memorial Day Ceremonies at the Normandy American Cemetery in France.    On May 24, the members will honor the extraordinary contributions of veterans to our nation at the Normandy American Cemetery.  As Ranking Member of the Veteran Affairs Committee, Senator Burr will deliver a speech to commemorate the courage and sacrifice of those who landed at Normandy almost 65 years ago.  The members will then lay a wreath in honor of the thousands of American service members who gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy and made possible the liberation of Europe in World War II.   

“My father served in the Army Air Corps in World War II in the Pacific theater," said Graham. "I remember very well the pride he took in serving our nation. He always talked about his buddies who didn’t make it home as being the 'real heroes.' I am honored and humbled to be able to spend this Memorial Day in the company of those 'real heroes.' In a far away land, they made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation they loved. We remain thankful for their service and will forever remember their sacrifice."

 “These veterans, who so selflessly gave of themselves and paid the ultimate price for our country, strengthened the foundation of our grateful nation,” Senator Burr said.  “We owe these brave Americans a debt we will never be able to fully repay.  I am honored to be able to represent the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the United States Senate, and North Carolina on such hallowed ground.”   “Sixty-five years ago, young American men hailing from big cities, sleepy towns and small farms struggled through Normandy’s churning surf amid a hail of gunfire to secure Europe’s freedom. Thousands never came back,” said Chambliss, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I am humbled by their sacrifice and honored to remember them – including 213 Georgians – in this final resting place on the edge of the continent they liberated.” “The freedoms and liberties we cherish on this day are owed to the blood and sacrifice of the veterans buried here,” said Minnesota Congressman John Kline, a 25-year veteran of the Marine Corps who retired at the rank of Colonel. “This Memorial Day, we honor all of those who left us too soon, whose lives were cut short on distant battlefields. We must never forget those true American heroes to whom we owe so much.” The ceremony will highlight the contributions made by our nation’s veterans, many of whom paid the ultimate price in the struggle against tyranny and oppression. # # #

May 22 2009

WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate unanimously passed an amendment last night introduced by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) which establishes a procedure to block release of the detainee photos.

Last week, after consulting with General Petraeus, General Odierno, and others, President Obama decided to fight the release of photographs that depict the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. Those photographs are the subject of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“This vote is an important statement of support for the protection of our troops who are on the front lines defending our country at a time of war,” said Lieberman. “This amendment provides the President with the ability to block the publication of the photos that would endanger the safety of our men and women in uniform.”

“Our military commanders have, to a person, stated that releasing these photographs will increase violence against out troops and civilians serving overseas,” said Graham. “I agree. Nothing will be gained by their release in terms of new information about detainee abuse. Americans will be killed because of their release and this amendment is designed to stop that from happening. I applaud the President’s decision to fight the release of these photographs. Our legislation will strengthen the Obama Administration’s legal standing in court and that is why the Senate has unanimously passed this important piece of legislation.”

The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act was offered as an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations bill that was passed by the Senate last night.

 The amendment authorizes the Secretary of Defense, after consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to certify that the disclosure of photographs like the ones at issue in the ACLU lawsuit would endanger the lives of our citizens or members of the Armed Forces or civilian employees of the United States government deployed abroad.

The certification would last three years and could be renewed by the Secretary of Defense if the threat to American personnel continues. Also, the language in the bill is clear that it would apply to the current ACLU lawsuit.

####

May 19 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today introduced the Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act which would establish a procedure to block release of the detainee photos.  The Senators plan to offer the legislation as an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations bill that is being deliberated on the Senate floor this week.

Last week, after consulting with General Petraeus, General Odierno, and others, President Obama decided to fight the release of photographs that depict the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody.  Those photographs are the subject of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

This legislation would authorize the Secretary of Defense, after consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to certify to the President that the disclosure of photographs like the ones at issue in the ACLU lawsuit would endanger the lives of our citizens or members of the Armed Forces or civilian employees of the United States government deployed abroad.

The certification would last five years and could be renewed by the Secretary of Defense if the threat to American personnel continues.  Also, the language in the bill is clear that it would apply to the current ACLU lawsuit.

“The President made a bold decision as Commander in Chief that will protect our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere and make it easier for them to carry out the missions that we have asked them to do,” said Lieberman.  “This measure would codify the President’s decision to block release of these photos and thereby help protect our troops who are defending our country and our liberty.” 

“The publication of those photographs would only endanger the safety of our troops who go into harm's way in defense of America,” said Graham.  “Our country has taken steps to prevent any future abuse of detainees and no public good is now served by releasing these photographs.  Our legislation will strengthen the Obama Administration’s legal standing in court and it should be adopted.”

 

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May 19 2009

WASHINGTON --  United States Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut) today introduced legislation prohibiting enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from being released into the United States.

 

Under the Graham/Lieberman legislation, enemy combatants ordered to be released will be transferred into the custody of the Department of Homeland Security while waiting to be returned to their home country or if they unable to return there, another nation.  Media reports have suggested that there is consideration of the release of Chinese Uighurs (Wee-gurs), who trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and have been detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2002, into the northern Virginia suburbs. 

 

“The legislation is clear -- former enemy combatants should not be released into the general population of the United States,” said Graham.  “Any decision to do this will put Americans at unnecessary risk.  Former enemy combatants should be turned over to the Department of Homeland Security until they can be repatriated to another nation.  Even though they may not present a direct threat to the United States, it is important to remember the Uighurs were captured in an Al Qaeda training camp and many of them have radical religious views which make it difficult for them to assimilate into our population.  Additionally, our immigration laws prohibit the release into the United States any persons who have been part of a terrorist organization.  The Uighurs are certainly guilty of this offense.”

 

“It is imperative that we make it clear that the closing of Guantanamo prison will not result in the freeing of any detainee into American communities,” said Lieberman. “Any detainee cleared for release should be transferred to the custody of the Department of Homeland Security.  That is a common-sense solution that protects our security and keeps potential terrorists off American streets.”

 

The Senators noted that the 17 Uighurs currently being held at Guantanamo Bay have petitioned for release into the United States.

 ####

May 15 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the decision by President Obama to use military commissions to try terror suspects.   

“I support President Obama’s decision to seek a further stay of military commission trials.  Today’s action will afford us the opportunity to reform the military commission system and produce a comprehensive policy regarding present and future detainees.

 

“In my first meeting with then President-elect Obama in Chicago in December 2008, we discussed a path forward for Guantanamo detainees.  I appreciated the opportunity to meet with him and focus on the types of reforms that would protect our national security interests and help repair the damage done to our nation’s image.  I continue to believe it is in our own national security interests to separate ourselves from the past problems of Guantanamo. 

 

“Since that initial meeting I have personally met with the President on two occasions and with his staff numerous times to discuss detention policy.  Our meetings have covered a wide range of topics including the various ways we could improve the military commission system to ideas on establishing a proper and appropriate oversight role for the federal courts. 

 

“I have had extensive discussions with military commanders and other Department of Defense officials about the overall benefit to the war effort of reforming our nation’s detainee policies.  The commanders believe a reformed system would be beneficial to the war effort as long as such a system is national security-centric.

 

“Detainee policy is very complex.  The President wants to collaborate with Congress to reform detainee policy and we should use this additional time to come up with a sensible national security policy regarding terror suspects.

 

“I believe a comprehensive plan should be in place before Guantanamo is closed. 

 

“I also believe that no detainees should be released into the United States.  Detainees determined by the military or a federal judge to no longer be held as enemy combatants should be transferred to the custody of the Department of Homeland Security pending their transfer to another country.

 

“I agree with the President and our military commanders that now is the time to start over and strengthen our detention policies. I applaud the President’s actions.”

 ######

May 12 2009

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement on Social Security Trustees Report.

"The day the Trust Fund begins to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes is the beginning of the end for Social Security. Due to the long and deep recession our nation is mired in, that day is now closer than anticipated. The recession has had a disastrous effect on the general economy and the finances of the Social Security program.

"The good news is that with decisive action by the Congress and President we can make adjustments to repair the system in a permanent fashion. These adjustments would be done gradually over time. No solution would harm to those currently receiving Social Security benefits or near-term retirees. They will be protected.

"Congress and the President must act quickly and in a comprehensive manner to save Social Security from impending bankruptcy. The sooner we take action the less drastic the solution. The longer we wait the more draconian.

"With a popular President and a strong contingent of Members of Congress from both parties who see the need to act now, we can get this done. I stand ready to meet the President and any Member of Congress who is ready and willing to act. This is an opportunity to repair the safety net that millions of Americans will rely on for their future retirement. Let's not miss this opportunity."

#####

 

May 07 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut) today wrote to President Obama expressing grave concern over the impending release of photographs of detainees captured in the war on terror and held by American military personnel.

 

The release of photographs is in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

 

“We know that many terrorists captured in Iraq have told American interrogators that one of the reasons they decided to join the violent jihadist war against America was what they saw on Al-Qaeda videos of abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib,” wrote Graham and Lieberman.  “Releasing these old photographs of detainee treatment now will provide new fodder to Al-Qaeda’s propaganda and recruitment operations, undercut the progress you have made in our international relations, and endanger America’s military and diplomatic personnel throughout the world.

 

“The release of these old photographs of past behavior that has now been clearly prohibited can serve no public good, but will empower al-Qaeda propaganda operations, hurt our country’s image, and endanger our men and women in uniform,” wrote Graham and Lieberman. 

 

Graham and Lieberman noted that the abusive practices at Abu Ghraib began Congressional involvement in detainee policy.  Congress then passed the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commission Act.  That legislation along with a series of executive actions, including some orders the Obama Administration has issued, are all aimed at preventing a repeat of this unacceptable behavior. 

 

“America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have made great progress in improving detention and interrogation procedures,” said Graham and Lieberman.  “We urge you in the strongest possible terms to fight the release of these old pictures of detainees in the war on terror, including pursuing all legal options to prevent the public disclosure of these pictures.”

 #####

May 05 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on remarks by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisconsin) that he may not support funding for American operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than one year.

 

“It is disappointing and somewhat unbelievable the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee would talk about putting a one-year deadline on funding for operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

 “Signaling to our enemies that funding may stop within a year if they can create enough chaos not only emboldens our enemies, it puts our own troops at increased risk.  Our military commanders, service members and their families are under enough stress.

 

“Al Qaeda and the Taliban are patient and resilient.  They view their struggle with the United States as a test of wills.  As Americans, our will to win must be greater than their will to defeat us.  In Iraq we learned that if we provide the needed support to our forces they can accomplish great things. 

“Thus far, the Obama Administration has made reasoned and solid decisions regarding the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.  It is vital to our long-term national interests that we finish the job in Iraq and regain lost momentum in Afghanistan.  After our success in Iraq, Afghanistan is becoming the central battle in the war on terror. 

 

“I’m glad Chairman Obey did not have his way in Iraq.  I hope President Obama will stand up to this kind of rhetoric and let our men and women in uniform, our allies, and just as important -- our enemies -- know we are in this to win.”

 

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