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Pelosi: Democrats Pondering New Iraq War Strategy

Williamsburg, Va. — Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Friday that the Democratic majority would consider a new strategy to curtail the Iraq War.

But she was short on specifics, and stopped short of endorsing a proposal floated by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) a day earlier to back off of funding fights on the war.

The Maryland lawmaker asserted that the majority should pursue stand-alone policy initiatives instead of focusing on spending bills as the primary legislative vehicles to end the war.

Asked about Hoyer’s proposal, Pelosi did not immediately embrace the tactic but said she would open the idea to discussion by the full Democratic Caucus.

“It is very important for us to have serious legislation on policy that relates to Iraq,” Pelosi said at the annual Democratic Caucus retreat at the Kingsmill Resort here. “It’s an important way for us to go. We’ll see what the Caucus is willing to do as far as bifurcation.”

“This is really a very important part of the ‘New Direction,’” Pelosi added. In reference to the Democratic agenda in the 110th Congress, “It affects everything that we do.

“We’re talking in there about how we can keep America healthier, teach our children, build our infrastructure, protect our environment from the consequences of global warming,” she said. “At the same time we’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq, without a plan to stay or justification to stay or a plan to leave. How do we justify all those funds for reconstruction in Iraq and then not have the resources to meet the needs of the American people?”

House Democratic leaders signaled Friday that their agenda in the second session, including Iraq, will be closely tied to the economy.

“We came out of the meeting unified, focused on a progressive economic agenda for America’s families,” Pelosi said.

Aside from an economic stimulus package that has occupied the first weeks of the new year, as well as an expected secondary stimulus measure, Democrats plan to address the environment, global warming and energy, health care and the Iraq War.

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