April 14, 2008
Washington, D.C. -- Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH), a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, returns today from a four day trip to Iraq. While in Iraq with other members of Congress, Chabot viewed the security situation firsthand, met with U.S. soldiers, and had meetings with U.S. and Iraqi officials.
“One of my major concerns is that the Iraqis continue to rely too heavily on the U.S. and other allies to shoulder the military and financial costs of reconstruction,” Chabot stated. “The time for the Iraqis to step up and provide for their own security and rebuilding efforts is long overdue.”
Last week, Chabot participated in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing where General David Petraeus, the top U.S. Commander in Iraq, and the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, testified. Chabot asked Ambassador Crocker about the Iraqi government’s reliance on the U.S. to fund reconstruction costs. Ambassador Crocker responded that “…we're out of the construction business in Iraq. We have a small number of projects we're finishing up, but reconstruction from here on in is going to be an Iraqi financial responsibility and they are stepping up to that both in terms of commitments, the amount of money they are appropriating for this purpose, and their ability to actually spend it is also improving.”
Chabot also met with NATO officials at their headquarters in Brussels to discuss the war on terror in Afghanistan and the anti-missile defense program that was a primary topic at the recent NATO - Russia Council summit. Chabot has previously traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to meet with U.S. troops and discuss the ongoing war on terrorism with military and government officials.