On March 8, 2007, House Democratic leaders announced that they would introduce the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health, and Iraq Accountability Act of 2007 (H.R.1591), calling for the complete withdraw of U.S. combat soldiers from Iraq by September 1, 2008. The deadline was to be bundled in a $124 billion supplemental appropriations bill which included $95.5 billion to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2007. At the time, the Senate was considering a measure with a target date of March 2008.
Specifically, the bill would:
- Provide $95.5 billion to continue funding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars through September 30, 2007.
- Require that U.S. combat troops be withdrawn from Iraq by September 1, 2008. This timeline would be accelerated if the Iraqi government could not meet its own benchmarks for securing the country.
- Call for U.S. troops to receive certain standards of training, equipment and rest (although President Bush would be permitted to waive these provisions).
- Specify that none of the appropriated funds may be used to close Walter Reed Army Medical Center (where poor conditions for wounded soldiers had recently been the subject of heavy scrutiny).
Contains billions of dollars in earmarks
The $124 billion spending bill contained billions of dollars in earmarks. These included:
- $25 million for spinach growers hurt by a 2006 E. coli outbreak
- $75 million for peanut storage
- $500 million for wildfire suppression
- $120 million for shrimp and Atlantic menhaden fishermen
- $4 billion for farmers who had suffered weather-related losses
- $2.9 billion for Gulf Coast hurricane recovery, including $1.3 billion for New Orleans levee repairs
- $260 million to dairy farmers for milk loss
- $100 million for citrus loss protections
- $40 million to Liberia for security assistance, as well as $100 million to Jordan for the same purpose
- $450 million for food aid to Sudan and Eastern Chad, Africa; Afghanistan, Southern Africa and the Horn of Africa.
- $10 million for the ongoing mitigation of pollution of the Rio Grande from U.S. and Mexican influences and flood control on the river.
- $50 million for asbestos removal in Washington, D.C.