McNerney won’t support Iraq compromise

Although he disappointed many liberals by being the lone Bay Area House member who voted May 10 against a nine-month Iraq withdrawal plan, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, this morning said he’ll not vote for the no-timetable Iraq supplemental spending bill that’s coming to the floor today. Here’s his statement:

mcnerneyportrait.jpg“Our troops have done everything we have asked of them. They have put their lives on the line in service to our country.

“They deserve our utmost respect and real leadership from the Congress.

“For our troops and their families, for our nation, we need a new direction in Iraq.

“That is why I cannot vote for a bill that does not include enforceable benchmarks, a reasonable timetable for redeploying our troops from Iraq, or the requirements for providing the training and equipment our men and women in uniform need.

“I cannot support another blank check for the President.

“Beginning in January this new Congress began the process of implementing new policies, of bringing accountability to the conduct of this war, and of forging a new direction in Iraq. That is what the American people demanded.

“Yet, this supplemental funding plan is a step backwards because it is a blank check for the President. I have consistently called for real benchmarks and a reasonable redeployment timetable. This bill provides neither.

“Critically, the bill includes no provisions to ensure that our troops are prepared, rested, and ready for the battles they must wage -– a rejection of the Pentagon’s own standards.

“Not only that, but this bill includes no requirement to use diplomacy to create the framework to end this conflict, the course recommended by the Iraq Study Group. And there is no plan to reduce the tremendous strain on our military or to refocus our nation’s efforts on the broader war on terror.

“Supporting our troops means providing our men and women in uniform all of the means necessary to carry out their mission and bring a responsible close to the conflict in Iraq. This bill does not do that and I cannot support it.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.