From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi, House Democrats Call for Open Consideration of Supplemental Appropriations Request

September 17, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke at a news conference today with Assistant to the Democratic Leader John Spratt and Congressman Ike Skelton held to report on Spratt and Skelton's recent bipartisan trip to Iraq. The Members released a letter sent today to Speaker Dennis Hastert by the Democratic Leadership and Ranking Members of the relevant committees calling for an open process for consideration of the President's supplemental Appropriations request. Pelosi's remarks and a copy of the letter are below:

"Democrats have clear goals for the President’s supplemental request for Iraq. Democrats want to provide whatever is necessary for our troops to do their jobs well, and to return home safely. As Congressman John Murtha and I said yesterday, shortages of critical equipment and supplies are outrageous and must be addressed immediately.

"There is no question that a stable and secure Iraq is in the best interests of the United States, other countries in the region, and the Iraqi people. The Administration’s current plan will not achieve those goals and must be revised. Our evaluation of the supplemental will be influenced by the degree to which it reflects changes in that plan.

"Congress has a constitutional responsibility to review spending requests to ensure that they are justified. That responsibility cannot be met if we give a cursory, closed-door review to the supplemental request when it is received.

"The Democratic Leadership and the Ranking Democrats on the national security committees have written to Speaker Hastert calling on him to devote the time and effort necessary to thoroughly review the supplemental.

"That review must include, among other things, open hearings and open mark-ups by the authorizing and Appropriations committees, and approval of the supplemental in both an authorization and Appropriations process."

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September 17, 2003

The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert


U.S. House of Representatives

H-232 The Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker:

As the Congress begins consideration of the President’s request for an additional $87 billion in supplemental funding for Afghanistan and Iraq, we urge that the House proceed in a manner that provides all Members with an opportunity to consider this legislation in a thorough manner. Not only is $87 billion a very substantial sum given our nation’s budgetary condition and urgent domestic and security needs, but it comes in addition to more than $60 billion already spent for the wars in these countries. Nor is it likely that this request will be the last for supplemental funds for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Democrats always have been, and we remain, united in support of our men and women in uniform, and we will stand with all our colleagues on behalf of all measures necessary to protect the citizens of the United States and our national security.

We presume that you agree that in order to ensure that the appropriate level of funding is provided for sound policies, the Congress has a Constitutional obligation to review the uses of past funding, and also to evaluate the soundness of policies to be supported with the $87 billion in supplemental funding requested by the President.

To ensure that such a full public review occurs prior to consideration of this very substantial appropriation, we call upon you and the House Republican Leadership to establish open, fair and thorough processes for consideration of the request, including -

  • Open hearings, to the maximum extent possible, by the authorizing committees with jurisdiction, and the appropriations subcommittees on defense and foreign operations, including appearances by witnesses from the Administration and elsewhere, and provision of necessary background materials as requested,

  • An evaluation of the military’s ability to sustain the level of troops deployed to Iraq, with a full description of the impact of that deployment on the overall capabilities of our armed forces to meet other obligations at home and abroad;

  • A description of the timetable for the addition of international monetary and personnel contributions to reduce the number of US troops committed to Iraq, and the cost of post-war reconstruction;

  • Approval of legislation authorizing both the military and the reconstruction portions of the funding request;

  • Separate consideration of the military and the reconstruction portions of the request;

  • Open mark-ups, to the maximum extent possible, of both the authorizing and appropriations legislation at the committee level, and open rules on the House floor to permit the fullest debate and consideration of each bill.

We recognize that the consideration of this legislation in an open, thorough, and timely manner will require a significant amount of work by the Congress, but we are convinced that the process we seek is in the best tradition of our democratic system and a sign of the strength of our democracy. We believe the security of our armed forces, the future stability of the region, and the fiscal soundness of our economy compel us to devote whatever effort is necessary to this urgent task. We therefore urge you to reconsider both the weekly schedule for the House, and the recess schedule, so that we will have the time for a full public discussion of the supplemental aid request consistent with the needs of our armed forces who remain in harm’s way.


Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader

Steny Hoyer, Democratic Whip

Robert Menendez. Chair, Democratic Caucus

James Clyburn, Vice Chair, Democratic Caucus

John Spratt, Ranking, Committee on the Budget

Ike Skelton, Ranking, Committee on Armed Services

David Obey, Ranking, Committee on Appropriations

Tom Lantos, Ranking, Committee on International Relations

Jane Harman, Ranking, Select Committee on Intelligence

Nita Lowey, Ranking, Foreign Operations Appropriations

Rosa DeLauro, Co-Chair, Democratic Steering & Policy Committee

George Miller, Co-Chair, Democratic Steering & Policy Committee




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