Doolittle: Congress to get tough on Iraq War
Congress members expect progress in the Iraq War by the end of the year, when they want Iraqis to be in more control of their own destiny, said Congressman John Doolittle, R-Roseville, Thursday.
“Congress will increasingly take a tougher line on this,” as President Bush’s tenure winds down, Doolittle said in a conference call with Northern California reporters. Bush leaves office in January 2009, right after the general elections in November 2008.
Doolittle said a good chance exists for some American troops to be coming home before the president leaves office but presented no specific plans or ideas toward that end.
The war and the larger Middle East were becoming “a bubbling cauldron” that apparently won’t cool soon – and he is becoming “less and less comfortable,” with U.S. efforts in Iraq, the congressman said.
“I and others in the Republican Party want the Iraqis to do their jobs” politically and militarily, Doolittle said. “We expect some progress by the end of the year.”
In January, Doolittle said he was “increasingly skeptical of the goings-on in Iraq,” but has not called for a timetable for U.S. troops to withdraw.
In other matters:
• Doolittle said a recent split in the Nevada County Republican Central Committee did not bother him. Former committee member John Vandenberg started the Nevada County Republican Council in September 2006, largely because of Doolittle’s poor showing here in the last election, when he got 41 percent of the vote compared to Democrat Charles Brown’s 54 percent.
• The congressman said socialized medicine is not the way to solve American health care problems, and the third-party payout system has caused triple costs that a return to the open market would curtail.
• His Washington, D.C., fund-raising efforts for re-election have “pretty much have ground to a halt” due to the U.S. Justice Department investigation of him and his wife, Doolittle said. Julie Doolittle did fund-raising work for imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and FBI officers seized her firm’s records in April.
The congressman has accepted $14,000 in campaign funds from Abramoff and thousands more from his Native American clients. Abramoff was jailed in 2006, after admitting he bilked tens of millions from those clients to influence Congress members and the Interior Department.
To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@the union.com or call 477-4237.
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