A block of moderate House members laid out eight principles to help craft a bipartisan legislative solution to the war in Iraq, calling on their colleagues to "end the political in-fighting" in order to responsibly redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq.
An equal split of 28 lawmakers on either side of the aisle, led by Reps. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Mike Castle (R-Del.), sent their leaders a letter Tuesday explaining their basic principles moving forward.
The list includes: 1) an end to the in-fighting, 2) full-funding for troops on the ground, 3) a clearly defined mission, 4) increase pressure on Iraqi government, 5) "adequate" rest for troops deployed to Iraq, 6) a "responsible" redeployment, 7) a continued military presence in Iraq, and 8) increased diplomacy with other countries in the region.
Leaders have frustrated moderates' attempts all year to earn a vote on compromise legislation that would require the Pentagon to begin planning for an eventual redeployment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has considered offering these members a vote on legislation requiring the White House to develop contigency planning.
Castle took the message to House leaders last week and is "hopeful this group can carve out the crucial middle ground that is vital to achieving stability in the region and bringing our soldiers home from Iraq."
"Following eight months of gridlock, this is the first true bipartisan agreement reached on the issue of Iraq in the House of Representatives," he said in a statement. "The fact that 28 members of Congress have agreed on eight key principles should be the basis for a real substantive debate on the issue."