Boyda on the War
Topeka U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda on Monday criticized President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, and touted a record $6.7 billion appropriations bill for medical services for veterans.
"I think it's time to say 'President Bush, Congress no longer authorizes you to take this war in the direction we're going,'" said Boyda, a Democrat from Topeka whose district includes west Lawrence.
Boyda had a news conference at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post to promote the House-approved veterans bill aimed at improving medical services at Veterans Affairs hospitals - especially for soldiers suffering mental health illnesses - and processing medical claims more rapidly.
"When we look at the money that we are spending on our veterans as Americans, we all agree that it is money not only well-spent, but morally and ethically spent," Boyda said.
Boyda said the injection of funds was needed because "this is the cost of war. We need to understand what the cost of war is in the short term and the long term as we continue in Iraq."
In response to reporters' questions, Boyda said it appeared Bush's move to increase troop strength in Baghdad wasn't working. A Pentagon report released last week said violence had increased during the U.S. troop surge, but Bush said Monday after a videoconference with Iraqi leaders that he believed progress was being made.
"We think they are very serious in moving on the key items. : I think the president was impressed and reassured by the sense of seriousness that he heard," said White House press secretary Tony Snow.
Boyda said some voters wonder why Democrats, who won slim majorities in Congress in November, haven't forced Bush to end the war.
"Many people are understandably frustrated that the Democrats haven't finished this war yet, and I understand their frustration," she said.
But Boyda said Democrats lack the two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate needed to override vetoes from Bush. Last month, Bush vetoed a war spending bill that imposed deadlines to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
"As long as the Republican Party of President Bush is supporting going forward in this manner, there just flat out isn't anything that can be done," she said.
Boyda said she thought the public would force Bush and other Iraq war supporters to change directions in September when military leaders are scheduled to report to Congress on the outcome of the troop surge.
Boyda is part of a bipartisan group that has sponsored a bill to repeal within six months the congressional resolution that Bush received before going to war.