Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Chief Deputy Whip

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, October 10, 2003, that was edited for clarity.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: She says the Bush administration is failing our troops and our taxpayers. So when she’s asked now to vote on that $87 billion check for Iraq next week, she has already indicated no. Democrat Jan Schakowsky of Illinois joins us now from Chicago.

Congresswoman, thanks for coming.


CAVUTO: You say no. Why?

SCHAKOWSKY: I say no. Well, does anybody really think that after spending another $87 billion, we just authorized $63 billion in April, that we are going to end up with a secure and a democratic Iraq, and that we’re going to do what we need do to protect our troops that are there right now? Every day Americans awake to find more of our troops are dead and we’re not even providing them with the equipment that they need over in Iraq.

CAVUTO: So what would you say to the troops who are still there, there is no more money, support coming for them?

SCHAKOWSKY: Oh, absolutely not. First of all, qualified research has shown that they have enough money to last at least through January, time enough for us to come up with a real plan for Iraq.

CAVUTO: Wait a minute. You just said that they are getting picked off every day, so that would seem to imply that we are in over our heads, so they need support.

SCHAKOWSKY: Of course they need support. And what we’re seeing is most of the money, or a good chunk of it going to the Halliburtons and the Bechtels of the world and not enough going to our soldiers. Can we trust this administration to put the money where it should be? Providing modern body armor, jammers to mess up signals, the appropriate boots. Actually, 46 percent of the Army does not have spare parts. What are they doing with the money that they...

CAVUTO: One thing at a time, Congresswoman. You say the Halliburtons of the world, $87 billion, as if a huge chunk is going to Halliburton, but even allowing for the fact that a chunk of it is to fix up and shore up the energy infrastructure in Iraq, that is a good thing, is it not?

SCHAKOWSKY: Look, we owe something to Iraq and certainly we owe something to our troop, the question is do they need this $87 billion right now? I say, let’s get the answer to the questions before this administration gets another cent. I feel that they have betrayed our troops and our veterans with not providing them with the things that they need. Why should we be giving them $87 billion more? It is chaos.

CAVUTO: Well, what would you do, would send them back, would you send the troops back?

SCHAKOWSKY: Would I bring them home?


SCHAKOWSKY: No, I’m not for withdrawing from Iraq, I think we have an obligation.

CAVUTO: No offense, ma’am, but you can’t have it both ways. I don’t understand where you are coming from. You don’t want to provide more money to support. You are against the $87 billion that the president is earmarking, even some in your own party are grudgingly going along with because they support our troops. You’re saying take that money away and you’re on your own -- I don’t get it.

SCHAKOWSKY: No, not at all. It is not all or nothing. It is let us get a reasonable plan, let us change the leadership that has put is into this mess and let’s support our troops. Let’s do what is right in terms of internationalizing the effort in Iraq, to bring real peace and democracy there, to, in a reasonable time bring or troops home. We can fulfill our responsibilities and we can take care of those kids, in a way that this administration has not so far. I talk to moms, I have been to Walter Reed hospital, I have talked to the kids there, I stand with those people. But right now, this administration is unwisely spending the money, giving it away, war profiteering is going on. Let’s take care of our kids first.

CAVUTO: Congresswoman Schakowsky, thank you very much, in Chicago.

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