WASHINGTON – The United States should redeploy troops from Iraq, allowing the military to focus on terrorist threats in Pakistan and Afghanistan, New York Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand said Saturday.
"Congress is challenging the administration's strategy in Iraq in favor of a better one that will effectively combat terrorism and create stability in the Middle East," she said during the weekly Democratic radio address. "Time and time again, we voted for a strategy to redeploy troops out of Iraq to leave policing the streets to Iraqis and to focus our mission on anti-terrorism, and we won't give up."
Gillibrand's comments were taped a week earlier, before the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was killed Thursday when a suicide attacker shot at her and then blew himself up as she left a campaign rally.
In addition to a new strategy in Iraq, Gillibrand said American forces and veterans deserve better benefits in exchange for their sacrifices.
"Providing the greatest funding since World War II for benefits and health care for our armed services and veterans is one of the most important accomplishments of this Congress," Gillibrand said. "This support is the beginning of what they have earned."
Gillibrand, a freshman member of Congress, reflected on other Democratic accomplishments since her party took power in January. She listed increasing automobile fuel economy standards, raising the minimum wage and putting a one-year freeze on growth of the alternative minimum tax.
She said the party's goals for the coming year included reforming health care, addressing the mortgage crisis, balancing the budget, improving infrastructure and assisting family farms.
"This new Congress has a vision for change that we have begun, step by step, to realize," Gillibrand said.