January 17, 2008

Dear Mr. Antimidas,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the war in Iraq. I appreciate hearing from you, and I am proud to represent you in the United States Congress.

Last year, the American public sent a clear message demanding change in Iraq. They want us to support our troops by ending the war and bringing them home.

The first of many steps to end the war occurred on March 23, 2007 when I, along with 217 of my colleagues, voted for the Iraq Veterans' Health & Iraq War Accountability Supplementalbill. While this bill was far from ideal, I resolved that voting for this bill was a vote to end this war. However, this initial measure to end the war was vetoed by President Bush on May 2, 2007.

On May 10, 2007, I voted in support of H.R. 2237, the Iraq Redeployment Act sponsored by Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts. H.R. 2237 required the Department of Defense to begin redeployment of military forces no later than 90 days after the date of enactment of the legislation and shall be completed within 180 days of the start of redeployment. Additionally, no funds could be obligated or expanded to increase the number of American troops serving in Iraqas of January 1, 2007. Although the Iraq Redeployment Act failed, the votes that were gathered expressed that Congress is progressing toward ending the occupation of Iraq. The 171 votes garnered through the bill showed President Bush and Iraqi leaders that Congress is willing to significantly reduce the American military presence in Iraq.

On May 24, 2007, I voted against the final bill providing emergency supplemental appropriations for the Iraq War fiscal year through September 2007. I voted against the supplemental appropriations bill because the legislation did not contain concrete timelines for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Although I opposed the supplemental war appropriations, the measure passed by a vote of 280-142.

Most recently, I voted in favor of the Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act (H.R. 4156), which prohibited deployment of any U.S. military unit to Iraq unless the President has certified such unit as "fully mission capable," directed defense funds towards returning troops home, and expressed the sense of Congress that the war in Iraq should end as safely and quickly as possible. Though this bill passed the House 218 - 203 on November 14, 2007, the Republicans blocked its consideration and the bill stalled in the Senate.

As we head into the fifth year of the Iraq War, I am convinced more than ever that it is time to get our troops safely home. Americans believed it was a mistake to get into this war, and they were right. Please know that I will continue to be a tireless advocate in Congress to end this senseless war.


Sincerely,

Keith Ellison

United States House of Representatives

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