The United States Senate has come back from its spring recess today. The House will return next week. When it comes to funding our troops, we have no time to waste. It's time for them to get the job done. So I'm inviting congressional leaders from both parties -- both political parties -- to meet with me at the White House next week. At this meeting, the leaders in Congress can report on progress on getting an emergency spending bill to my desk. We can discuss the way forward on a bill that is a clean bill: a bill that funds our troops without artificial timetables for withdrawal, and without handcuffing our generals on the ground.
I'm hopeful we'll see some results soon from the Congress. I know we have our differences over the best course in Iraq. These differences should not prevent us from getting our troops the funding they need without withdrawal and without giving our commanders flexibility.
The Democrat leaders in -- Democratic leaders in Congress are bent on using a bill that funds our troops to make a political statement about the war. They need to do it quickly and get it to my desk so I can veto it, and then Congress can get down to the business of funding our troops without strings and without further delay. (Applause.)
We are at war. It is irresponsible for the Democraticleadership in Congress to delay for months on end while our troops in combat are waiting for the funds they need to succeed. As the national commander of the American Legion, Paul Morin, recently put it, "The men and women of the armed forces in the theater of operations are dependent on this funding to sustain and achieve their military missions. This funding is absolutely critical to their success and individual well being." I thank the commander and the American Legion for their strong support on this issue. You do not make a political statement; you're making a statement about what is necessary for our troops in the field, and I am grateful. (Applause.)
Feh. : Harry Reid responds
"The president is inviting us down to the White House with preconditions," Reid said. "Things are not OK in Iraq. As the Pope said on Easter Sunday, a slaughter is taking place in Iraq. The Pope further said nothing good is coming from Iraq. The president must realize that. He has to deal with Congress. We are an independent branch of this government, and by our Constitution we have equal say that he has. And he's got to listen to us. Because we are speaking for the American people; he isn't."
Reid pointed out that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to the President on March 28 as the Senate was poised to pass its version of the supplemental asking for frank negotiation on the supplemental.
Back on March 28th, Reid said "Our phones are open, we look forward to working with him, day or night."
Today, Reid said: "He wants to go down there and say, 'I want a clean bill.' That's not negotiating. I mean, I am -- prided myself on being a pretty good lawyer, trial lawyer. I've settled lots and lots of cases. But you never settle a case going in saying, 'You can come and meet with me, but here's what the result's going to be before we meet.' That doesn't work. And the president has to realize it doesn't work in the practice of law, it doesn't work in the business world and it doesn't work in government."