John Hall on Congress and the War

030708 hall web John Hall on Congress and the WarNBC News Forum host Jay DeDapper pressed freshman Representative John Hall on the Iraq war during the taping of the show today.

DeDapper notes that Hall and others won their seats in 2006 in part because of sweeping antiwar sentiment, but as he faces reelection, he may have to explain why the country is still engaged in combat in Iraq, even though Democrats have a majority in Congress.

The show airs Sunday, but here’s a segment from a transcript the studio sent over:

DeDAPPER:…Democrats, including you, were elected to Congress in 2006, a lot of people believe because there was a public sentiment to get out of Iraq.

Rep. HALL: There still is.

DeDAPPER: You’re not out of Iraq. The Democrats haven’t been able to do
that.

Rep. HALL: Well, it’s been a rough thing not having quite enough numbers to do it. Like in the House, the Democrats have a working majority and we’ve been able to pass legislation, which puts in a time line for withdrawal. And that’s the only funding that I will vote for or that I have voted for is funding that gives our troops what they need, but also puts a time line and a withdrawal schedule down in black and white. The Senate doesn’t have enough votes, it’s 51-49. Senator Lieberman is number 51. He’s an Independent, but he votes with the president on the war, so it’s a tie. And then Vice President Cheney breaks the tie. So the Senate has been dysfunctional and unable, really, to pass, you know, much of anything. But…

DeDAPPER: Is that something that the American people understand, though…

Rep. HALL: I don’t think they do. The polls…

DeDAPPER: The Democrats went to Congress to change this, to get us out of Iraq and a year and a half later your…

Rep. HALL: We’re still trying.

DeDAPPER: …approval ratings are–not yours personally–but the Congress’ are at the bottom and we’re still in Iraq.

Rep. HALL: We’re still trying to change things and unfortunately we need a workable majority in the Senate in order to do that and also we need either a president who won’t veto our bills or we need a president who we can override. We need a veto-proof majority, which right now we don’t have. So we’ve had to work with the president and with the knowledge that his veto. But in six years he never vetoed anything, by the way. But all of a sudden there’s a Democratic Congress and…

DeDAPPER: Now that the Democrats, yeah.

Rep. HALL: …the House. All of a sudden he’s vetoing things.