Lee’s bill demands oversight of Iraq security pact

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, on Tuesday introduced the Iraq Security Agreement Act of 2008, which would prohibit the President from unilaterally deploying U.S. armed forces or expending public funds to guarantee Iraq’s security without Congress’ prior approval. Her bill, H.R. 6846, matches a similar one introduced last month in the Senate by Democratic vice-presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.

“This bill puts Congress clearly on record in support of the bedrock principle that congressional involvement and approval is required before the President can enter into any agreement obligating the United States to the defense of Iraq from internal or external threats,” Lee said in her news release.

“An agreement to commit American troops to the defense and security of another country is not routine or typical or minor. It is a major commitment that must have the support of the American people, which can only be reflected by the Congress of the United States. My legislation ensures that the Congress has the final say in determining whether and under what conditions the United States will commit more blood and treasure to guarantee the security of the sovereign nation of Iraq.”

This bill codifies a Defense Authorization bill amendment offered by Lee and adopted earlier this year by a bipartisan majority in the House. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, is among the bill’s 10 cosponsors.

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.