Aug 31 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared an end to the American combat mission in Iraq and said America’s most urgent task now is restoring the sagging U.S. economy.
Here are statements from some congressional leaders issued in advance of Obama’s Oval Office speech:
SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL
"By adopting the Bush administration’s plan for winding down the war and transitioning security responsibilities to the Iraqi military over time the President has enabled us and the Iraqis to build on the gains our troops have made."
SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, CHAIRMAN OF THE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE AND MEMBER OF THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
"The remarkable turnaround in Iraq is due to many factors, but it would not have been possible without the courageous decision of President Bush to launch the surge in 2007 — initiating a set of policies that President Obama, to his great credit, has sustained and built upon to bring us to this day."
HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER JOHN BOEHNER, IN REMARKS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY TO THE AMERICAN LEGION NATIONAL CONVENTION IN MILWAUKEE
"Some leaders who opposed, criticized, and fought tooth-and-nail to stop the surge strategy today proudly claim credit for the results ... today we mark not the defeat those voices anticipated, but progress."
DEMOCRATIC SENATOR JIM WEBB, MEMBER OF THE FOREIGN RELATIONS AND ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEES
"After more than seven years of operations and countless rounds of troop rotations, I am heartened today by the president’s confirmation of the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq and his stated intention to withdraw all our troops by the end of 2011. Although our residual force of 50,000 will continue to perform hazardous duties during the year ahead, today’s transition is an important milestone." (Compiled by JoAnne Allen in Washington; Editing by Eric Beech)