Senators Clinton, Byrd call to 'sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq'
Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), said today that he would introduce legislation that would cause the 2002 Iraq war authorization to expire on October 11, 2007, the fifth anniversary of when it was passed.
Presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) joined Byrd in supporting the "sunset" legislation.
"President Bush marked the fourth anniversary of his announcement that 'major combat operations in Iraq have ended' by vetoing war funding legislation because he claimed that it limited his ability to prosecute a war unconditionally and indefinitely," said Byrd, in remarks delivered on the Senate floor. "He was wrong in 2002 when he sought authorization to go to war and he is wrong today."
Byrd proposed that October 11, 2007 would become the "expiration date for the 2002 authorization, and that the President seek a new authorization from the elected representatives of the people in Congress."
The senator would put the onus on the president to clearly establish his goals for operations in Iraq in order to seek a new war authorization.
Byrd noted that by the president's own words the situation in Iraq had changed since 2002 when the authorization was initially granted, saying, "It is now an Iraqi fight for national reconciliation, not a war to ensure U.S. national security."
In a separate statement, Clinton agreed with Byrd, saying that she had supported an amendment advanced by Senator Byrd in 2002 that would have limited the initial war authorization to one year.
"I believe that this fall is the time to review the Iraq war authorization and to have a full national debate so the people can be heard," Clinton said. "It is time to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq. If the president will not bring himself to accept reality, it is time for Congress to bring reality to him."