Iraq – Progress in Congress

April 2nd, 2005 - by admin

Joe Volk / Friends Committee on National Legislation – 2005-04-02 23:31:23

There is good news to report from Washington. FCNL staff walking the halls of Congress in the last few weeks have found that congressional staff from both parties are gradually opening to a discussion of US policy on Iraq.

We’re creating the possibility of a shift in the debate on Iraq.

Members of Congress want to believe their President that Iraq is improving, but they are increasingly concerned about the lack of progress in Iraq and the continuing violence.

Three months ago, FCNL found that many members of Congress and their staff were not even willing to discuss proposals to shift the debate on Iraq from a discussion of troop strengths and more weapons to a strategy for ending the violence, putting Iraqis in charge, and withdrawal.

Your phone calls, letters, and visits with members of Congress combined with the efforts of thousands of others are making a difference. The majority of Congressional staff that we talk to now say they agree in principle with FCNL’s proposal for a Congressional declaration stating it is US policy to withdraw all military troops and bases from Iraq.

No deadlines, no timetables, just a simple declaration. That statement would be a first step toward shifting the debate in Congress.

But this agreement in private meetings is not yet translating into a willingness to step out in public and support this effort. Many members of Congress remain concerned that any statements on Iraq that mention the “w” word — withdrawal — will be exploited by their political opponents in the next electoral cycle.

We have to create a bipartisan core of Congressional support for withdrawal. And although President Bush has made vague promises that US troops will withdraw, the administration has forcefully opposed any attempt to open up a debate on US policy toward Iraq in the Congress.

Time to Engage the Senate

Next week, the Senate will begin debate on President Bush’s request for supplemental funds to support the war and occupation in Iraq. FCNL staff believe there may be an effort in the Senate to attach language to that supplemental funding request to shift the debate toward a declaration that the US has no imperial interests in Iraq. But we need your help in three ways.

• 1. During the next two weeks, FCNL will be urging you to contact your Senators and urge them to amend the President’s request for supplemental funding for the war in Iraq to include a declaration that “it is the policy of the United States to withdraw all military troops and bases from Iraq.” Go to to read more about the Iraq campaign.

• 2. We need your financial support. Your efforts and the efforts of thousands of others around the country are beginning to make a difference, but this will be a long-term effort to lobby Congress to change US policy toward Iraq. FCNL has gone out on a limb to hire special staff and spent resources way beyond our normal budget to launch the current phase of FCNL’s Iraq peace campaign.

Now we need your help to enable us to continue the work at this level. Please go to to give money to support the FCNL lobby work in Washington.

• 3. Please forward this action alert with your endorsement of FCNL to five of your friends and family.

Finally, thank you for your legislative advocacy with FCNL. You give us strength. Thank you for your contributions for this timely work on Iraq.

Joe Volk is Executive Secretary of the FCNL.

• The Next Step for Iraq: Join FCNL’s Iraq Campaign,

• Contact Congress and the Administration:

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