WASHINGTON – Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is working on a proposal that would set benchmarks for the Iraqi government to stem violence there and end the war as soon as possible while avoiding military defeat.
"I'm trying to put something together that exercises congressional oversight that would provide some comfort to the American people and that certain benchmarks are being met as far as measuring progress or lack of progress is concerned," McCain a potential 2008 presidential competitor, said of the resolution Thursday.
On Friday, FOX News obtained a version of the proposal, which is printed below.
McCain is joining a growing number of senators who are rallying behind nonbinding resolutions that do not require the president's signature and do not have the force of law, but are an attempt to express differences between Congress and the president over his plans to send another 21,500 troops to Iraq.
A primarily Democratic proposal that says it is "not in the national interest" to increase U.S. military presence in Iraq is co-sponsored by Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del., Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Carl Levin, D-Mich. Another, less critical proposal that "disagrees with the plan" offered by the president is co-sponsored by Sens. John Warner, R-Va., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb.
One Democrat who often sides with Republicans, however, said that McCain's bill might not have enough support to win.
FOX News' Trish Turner contributed to this report.
Expressing the sense of the Senate that the Commander of Multinational Forces-Iraq should receive from Congress the full support that he deems necessary to carry out his mission.
Whereas, over 137,000 American military personnel are currently serving in Iraq, like thousands of others since March 2003, with the bravery and professionalism consistent with the finest traditions of the United States armed forces, and deserve the support of all Americans;
Whereas, past mistakes in U.S. strategy, combined with other difficulties, have led to a dire security situation in Iraq characterized by insurgent activity and sectarian violence;
Whereas, a failed state in Iraq would present a threat to regional and world peace, and the long-term security interests of the United States are best served by an Iraq that can sustain, govern, and defend itself;
Whereas, no amount of additional U.S. forces can effect this outcome unless the people and government of Iraq take difficult political steps toward reconciliation;
Whereas, these steps must include the fulfillment of military, political, and economic commitments that the Prime Minister of Iraq has made to the United States of America and to the people of Iraq;
Whereas, Iraqi political leaders must show visible progress toward meeting specific benchmarks, including:
(1) Deploying a significant number of new Iraqi security forces to partner with U.S. units in securing Baghdad;
(2) Assuming responsibility for security in all provinces in a timely manner;
(3) Disarming individual militias and ensuring security forces are accountable to the central government and loyal to the constitution of Iraq;
(4) Ensuring equitable distribution of government resources regardless of sect or ethnicity;
(5) Passing legislation to ensure that Iraq's oil resources benefit Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Kurds, and other Iraqi citizens in an equitable manner, and implementing such legislation;
(6) Building an effective, independent judiciary that will uphold the rule of law and ensure equal protection under the law for all citizens of Iraq;
(7) Pursuing all those who engage in violence or threaten the security of the Iraqi population, regardless of sect or political affiliation;
(8) Passing and implementing new legislation that will reform the de-Ba'athification process;
(9) Conducting provincial elections;
(10) Ensuring a fair process for amending the constitution of Iraq;
(11) Expending promised funds to provide basic services and employment opportunities for all Iraqis, including a $10 billion fund for reconstruction, and ensuring that these funds reach Sunni areas, including Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad and largely Sunni Anbar Province;
Whereas, leaders in the Administration and Congress have made it clear to the Iraqi leadership that America's commitment is not open-ended and that if the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people and the people of Iraq;
Whereas, the moderate states of the Middle East have an interest in a successful conclusion to the war and Iraq and should increase their constructive assistance toward this end;
Whereas, in the fall of 2006, leaders in the Administration and Congress, as well as recognized experts outside government, acknowledged that the situation in Iraq was deteriorating and required a change in strategy;
Whereas, Lieutenant General David Petraeus has been named as the new Coalition commander in Iraq, and given the mission of implementing a new strategy designed to bring security to Iraq and pave the way for political and economic progress;
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that —
Congress should ensure that General Petraeus, and all American personnel under his command, have the resources they deem necessary to carry out their mission on behalf of the United States of America; and
The Government of Iraq must make visible, concrete progress toward meeting the political, economic, and military benchmarks enumerated above.