Emerson calls for cooler debate on Iraq

Thursday, May 10, 2007

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Missouri, said she will oppose a Democratic proposal to pay for the war in Iraq in installments, calling it irresponsible and too political.

The proposal is expected to come up for a vote later today in the Democratically controlled U.S. House. The measure would fund war costs through Aug. 1, including $42.8 billion to buy equipment and train Iraqi and Afghan security forces.But under the bill, it would take a summertime vote by Congress to free an additional $52.8 billion, the money needed to cover costs through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.

"It is not responsible not to fund them until the end of the fiscal year," Emerson said in an interview with the Southeast Missourian. "At that time, we will get a report from General Petraeus, and we will have our report and weigh and balance things."

What is most needed, Emerson said, is a calm discussion of U.S. options in Iraq. "The political rhetoric needs to be toned down," she said. "We need to work in a bipartisan way to get this resolved."

Emerson was part of a group of 11 moderate Republicans who met Tuesday with President George W. Bush to explain their concerns about the war. Emerson said she urged Bush to sit down with Democratic leaders and get the immediate issues of funding the war resolved so troops will have resources to continue their mission.

"I felt it was a more productive conversation" than in the past, "and the president listened and let us talk as opposed to talking to us," Emerson said.

Check back at www.semissourian.com for more of the interview with U.S. Rep. Emerson or read Friday's Southeast Missourian.

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