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Republican Rep. Putnam Discusses Next House Legislative Session

With Democrats in comfortable control of the House of Representatives in the 110th Congress, Republican Conference chair Adam Putnam, R-Fla., provides the GOP's perspective on the upcoming legislative agenda and hopes for cooperation.

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    And now to Republican Adam Putnam of Florida, who is beginning his fourth term in the House. He's the new chairman of the House Republican Conference and joins us live from Capitol Hill.

    And, Congressman Putnam, welcome. Thanks for being with us.

    Let's pick up where Charlie Rangel just left off and talk about Iraq. Is he right that Republicans are not necessarily going to be in lock-step with the president on whatever he proposes?

    REP. ADAM PUTNAM (R), Florida: Well, he is right, and that's not a new development. Republicans have never been 100 percent in lock-step. And we even today more fully realize that there's an independent role for the legislative branch, an independent role for the executive branch.

    The president is our commander-in-chief, and we look forward to his recommendations on the new way forward in Iraq. But we owe the American people adequate oversight, adequate investigation, but total support of the men and women in harm's way.

    And I would disagree a little bit with my friend, Charlie Rangel: We're not embarrassed for our servicemen and women who are in harm's way.


    But you are saying that you think this very aggressive oversight, even investigations of the conduct of the war and the spending in the war that the Democrats are vowing to have, which Republicans did not have, you think is entirely appropriate?


    If it is constructive, if it is open and fair, and it is a true search for answers to improve the way we are conducting this war, and the reasons why we are asking Americans to sacrifice for the greater good, then there is an appropriate place for it.

    But threats to withhold funding to men and women in the field is not appropriate and is a non-starter, and that does not reflect an open approach to oversight.

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