Democrats: Iraq Withdrawal Bill Represents Voters' Demand for Change

The Democrats' plan to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq next year responds to voters' demand for change, New Hampshire Rep. Paul Hodes said Saturday.

Hodes and other House Democrats on Friday pushed through a rebuke of President Bush and the war in Iraq. Bush promised a veto of the spending bill, which demands combat operations end before September 2008 — and perhaps earlier.

"With our vote this week, we're helping our troops, protecting our veterans, and fighting to end the waste, fraud and abuse," said Hodes, delivering the Democrats' weekly radio address.

"After four years of a failed policy, Democrats are insisting on a new direction in Iraq and a real plan that holds the Iraqi people accountable for their own country."

Hodes, elected in November, was part of the Democratic takeover of both chambers of Congress. He has opposed the war and any efforts to escalate it.

"Last November, people in New Hampshire and across the country voted for change. They voted for a new Congress that would stop acting as a rubber stamp for this president and begin confronting the problems and challenges facing our nation," Hodes said.

On Saturday, he emphasized the Iraqis must meet the benchmarks Bush proposed in January.

"As we enter the fifth year of the war, Iraq remains in chaos and the Iraqi government has failed to stand up and take ownership of the country."

The Senate is expected to take up legislation as early as Monday.