WASHINGTON – The White House responded to two censure resolutions on Monday, suggesting Democratic efforts to punish President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales are in vain and a waste of time.
"We understand that some Democrats in Congress don't support the president's plans to keep the country safe and prosperous. At the same time, we welcome the opportunity to work with members on important legislation to fund our troops who are in harm's way, make us less reliant on foreign sources of energy, to make health care more affordable, and extend tax relief to America's families and businesses," spokesman Scott Stanzel told FOX News.
"Perhaps after calls for censure and more investigations Congress may turn to the important issues we face as a nation," he said.
Over the weekend, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., introduced censure resolutions to condemn Bush, Cheney and Gonzales for their handling of the Iraq war and for "repeated assaults on the rule of law," including the administration's terrorist surveillance program.
"These censure resolutions will let future generations know that Congress stood up to the destructive policies of this administration that have weakened our national security, cost more than 3,600 American lives, and undermined the principles on which our country was founded," Feingold said in a written statement issued Monday.
"From misleading this country into invading Iraq to establishing a warrantless domestic spy program, this White House has continuously misled and deceived the American people while disregarding the rule of law that guides our democracy," Hinchey said in the statement.
The nonbinding resolutions, identical in both chambers, would send a verbal rebuke to the White House if they were to pass, but so far have earned only tepid support. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has signed onto both censures resolution in the Senate while Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is co-sponsoring the resolution on Iraq. The House resolutions have 19 original co-sponsors.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said even Democratic leader Harry Reid doesn't support the resolution.
"The American people are looking at this Congress saying, 'Where's the legislation, what are you going to do to make America better?' And they are not seeing results. Its no wonder this Congress has the lowest approval ratings in history," McConnell said. "If we are going to start getting things done in the Senate, we need to focus on actual legislation, not more political theater."
The first censure resolution, regarding the conduct of the Iraq war, says the administration:
— Misled the nation regarding the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, as well as misled links between Hussein and Al Qaeda;
— Didn't plan adequately for the war; and
— Misled the nation about the strength of the insurgency.
The second censure resolution slams the administration for disregarding the "rule of law," citing:
— The National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program;
— The pursuit of "extreme policies concerning torture and the treatment of detainees," as well as the handling of detainees taken in the War on Terror;
— The handling of the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year — which Democrats believe were politically motivated;
— Misleading statements regarding civil liberties abuses under the USA Patriot Act; and
— The administration's use of so-called signing statements — a tactic used by the president to say he will not enforce portions of certain laws passed by Congress, drawing lawmakers' ire.
FOX News' Mike Majchrowitz and Trish Turner contributed to this report.