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US House Members Voice Opposition to Amnesty for Iraqis Who Harmed Troops


The House of Representatives is joining the Senate in expressing strong opposition to any Iraqi government plan to offer amnesty to those who have killed U.S. soldiers. Democratic lawmakers have introduced a resolution on the issue.

In a 79 to 19 vote this week, the Senate approved a non-binding resolution condemning any amnesty the Iraqi government might grant to insurgents who have killed or wounded American soldiers.

Although the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki subsequently denied it was considering an amnesty, members of Congress are not convinced and want to stop any such idea from becoming reality.

House Democrats used a Capitol Hill news conference to announce a resolution calling on President Bush to make clear to the Iraqi government that any amnesty plan would be unacceptable.

North Carolina Democrat Bob Etheridge was joined by Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, and Ike Skelton of Missouri:

ETHERIDGE: "No amnesty for Iraqi insurgents with American blood on their hands.

PASCRELL: "This is like a finger in America's eye and the American public will not stand for it.

SKELTON: "We are not for amnesty for those who murder, maim or kill our troops."

Democrats are proposing a joint resolution expressing what is called the "sense of Congress." Such resolutions must be approved by the House and Senate.

Asserting that the Iraqi government "may still be considering a far-reaching plan" that includes amnesty the resolution urges President Bush to notify the Iraqi government that the U.S. "strongly opposes the granting of amnesty to any person who has attacked, kidnapped, wounded, or killed members of the Armed Forces of the United States or citizens of the United States."

"We certainly would strongly suggest that the president use the full force and power of his office to use whatever appropriate persuasion it takes to have the Iraqis understand that we are very clear on this issue with respect to what happens to our troops and civilians in Iraq," said Democratic Congressman John Larson.

The U.S. military presence in Iraq the subject of numerous debates in Congress.

Last week, the House held a 14-hour debate on a Republican-crafted resolution rejecting any timetable for pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq.

In the Senate, which last year approved a resolution stating that 2006 should be a "year of transition" in Iraq, lawmakers debated two Democratic amendments dealing with the question of U.S. troop withdrawal, with a vote expected Thursday.

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