Friends Committee on National Legislation – 2005-09-30 01:09:07
(September 29, 2005) — Rep. Tom Allen (ME) has launched a new campaign to win more cosponsors for his bipartisan legislation that declares the United States will not have a long term military presence in Iraq. This legislation, modeled on FCNL’s Iraq STEP proposal, now has 25 cosponsors, 23 Democrats and two Republicans. But that is not nearly enough.
In the next few weeks, Congress will be voting to approve at least $50 billion in additional funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army General George Casey, who is commander of US troops in Iraq, told reporters this week that it may not even be possible to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq early next year. We need to shift the focus of the debate in Congress away from votes for more troops and more weapons and toward a goal to bring the troops home, while also rebuilding Iraq.
Pressure is building for a change in US policy on Iraq, but we still have a lot of work to do.
Members of Congress and their staff tell FCNL lobbyists that there is a growing concern about the direction of US policy in Iraq. An opinion poll by the University of Maryland released today, 9/29/05, found that nearly three-quarters of those questioned believe that overthrowing the government of Iraq in order to establish a democracy in that country was not a good enough reason to go to war. (See the survey at http://www.pipa.org/_admin/cms/fullPage.php?visit=1&id=87.)
The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, one of the closest US allies in the Middle East, publicly warned last week that the entire country of Iraq could collapse.
Nearly a week after hundreds of thousands of people converged on Washington to demand an end to the war in Iraq and to lobby Congress to begin a discussion about withdrawing military troops from Iraq, signs indicate that members of Congress are getting the message. Sixty-eight members of Congress have joined an “Out of Iraq” caucus.
But the majority in the Congress remain fearful of speaking out on Iraq because of the impression that such statements might put U.S. forces at greater risk, or damage their 2006 re-election. This week a Senate appropriations subcommittee approved $50 billion in additional funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a military appropriations legislation. The full Senate and the full House must vote on that spending bill before it wins final approval.
We need to shift the congressional discussion away from a debate about more money, more weapons, and more troops, and toward a focus on how to get the U.S. military out of Iraq, without abandoning U.S. responsibility to help Iraqis rebuild their country. Part of our legislative effort must include increasing the number of representatives who sign up as cosponsors of Congressman Tom Allen’s Iraq Sovereignty Promotion Act (H.R. 3142).
Rep. Allen (ME) circulated a letter to all 435 of his colleagues late last week appealing for more cosponsors (read the text of the letter: http://www.fcnl.org/pdfs/iraq/allen_dear_colleague.pdf). Write your member of Congress to urge him or her to cosponsor this legislation if they have not already done so. Thank them if they have already cosponsored the legislation. Please remind your members of Congress that War Is Not the Answer in Iraq.
Take Action Now
Urge your member of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 3142, Representative Allen’s Iraq Sovereignty Promotion Act. If your member of Congress is already a cosponsor, ask him or her what they are doing to promote this legislation.
You can find out about the bill and who the current cosponsors are on our web site: http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/bills/?bill=7859076. Then enter your zip code to write a message to your representative.
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