Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Boren Talks Iraq Spending With Bush

U.S. Congressman Dan Boren and other conservative Democrats met today with President Bush and his top policy advisers on issues including energy, immigration and the war in Iraq. Boren, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, pressed Bush for a commitment to implement benchmarks that would measure progress in Iraq. The two also discussed the upcoming vote on the supplemental spending bill for the war, and Bush expressed his desire for a plan to fund the troops through September.

"The president's meeting with congressional leaders last week and with conservative members of the Democratic caucus today is a positive sign," Boren said. "Conversations like this help bridge that gap and bring us closer to a compromise that will put resources in the hands of our men and women on the ground."

Boren has continually opposed efforts in Congress to impose a timeline for troop withdrawal in Iraq. Bush vetoed a bill last week that would have required him to bring troops home in October of this year. Congressional leaders have outlined a new proposal to fund the war through July and then revisit the issue.

"My preference would be for a bill that gets us through September," Boren said. "But I will take a hard look at any proposal that gives our troops the support they need without tying the hands of our military commanders."

For the past 18 months, Boren has been calling for effective benchmarks to measure the progress of the Iraqi government. Boren asked Bush about his thoughts on such a plan which has broad bipartisan support in Congress.

"The president seemed open to benchmarks with some teeth," Boren said. "As we move forward I think this is an area where Democrats and Republicans can come together."

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