Democrats.com – 2007-05-15 23:05:35
Tell the Senate to End the War
Your Senators will vote Wednesday on a plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq. They will vote next week on the $95 billion supplemental war-funding bill.
The Senate will vote Wednesday on an amendment by Senators Feingold and Reid to begin redeployment of troops out of Iraq by October 1, completing withdrawal and cutting funds for the war by March 21, 2008. Call your Senators today and tell them to support the Feingold-Reid amendment!
Next week, the Senate will vote on a new version of the supplemental war funding bill. We don’t know the details yet, but it looks like the Senate leadership will yield to White House pressure by giving the President $95 billion for continuing the war without any fixed timeline for the withdrawal of US troops.
Call your Senators today. And next week call your Senators again (we’ll remind you) to tell them to vote against the supplemental war funding bill!
Your calls DO make a difference. Last week, 171 members of the House of Representatives voted for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq when they voted in support of the McGovern Amendment. This was a major step forward for the peace movement — we did not expect to get more than 125 votes! We need a similar showing in the Senate on the Feingold-Reid amendment.
• Call the Congressional Switchboard to be connected to Your Senators: 202-224-3121.
Tell Both your Senators:
• Vote Yes on the Feingold-Reid amendment (amendment no. 1098) Wednesday.
• Vote No on the supplemental war funding bill next week.
Make it clear to your Senator that a yes vote on Feingold-Reid is not a substitute for using the power of the purse to end the war — they must vote against any more money for the war!
Your calls today are important! BUT – your calls next week are also vital! The bills that fund the war are the most crucial votes because that’s where our leverage lies. Of the 171 House Members who voted for the McGovern bill, 159 of them turned around and voted to fund the war. Let’s do better in the Senate!
Senate Plays Charades on Iraq
Bob Fertik / Democrats.com
WASHINGTON (May 15, 2007) – A new Gallup Poll finds the approval rating for Congress has fallen to 29%, which is a remarkable 4 points below Bush. Why?
This may reflect some unhappiness with the Democrats’ inability to take strong action against the Iraq war.
I’ll nominate that for the understatement of the year.
So how is Harry Reid dealing with this “unhappiness”? By playing a game of charades.
On Wednesday, the Senate will cast two votes. The first will be on the Feingold-Reid bill to allow only limited spending on Iraq combat after March 31, 2008. While this sounds good, Reid will not “whip” the Democratic majority to make sure it passes – thus guaranteeing it will lose due to Bushocrats like Ben Nelson (NE), Ken Salazar (CO), Mary Landrieu (LA), Blanche Lincoln (AR) and Mark Pryor (AR).
This Senate vote on Feingold-Reid parallels last week’s House vote on the McGovern Amendment, which got a remarkable 171 votes (169 Democrats and 2 Republicans). If your Representative voted for McGovern you should thank him/her; if (s)he opposed it you should look for an anti-war Democrat to challenge him/her in a primary.
(Of course the ones who deserve the most thanks are the anti-war Democrats who opposed the entire Supplemental: Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, John Lewis Mike McNulty, Mike Michaud, Pete Stark, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, and Lynn Woolsey.)
When Feingold-Reid fails, the Senate will vote on a Carl Levin amendment that is nearly identical to the toothless Supplemental that Bush vetoed in April, which had non-binding “goals” of completing combat withdrawals by March 31, 2008. The new Levin amendment is not only toothless, it is gumless – it allows The Decider to simply “waive” the non-binding “goals.”
Of course, Levin’s gumless amendment will get a majority of votes – no doubt the same 51 who voted for the toothless version in April, which included all 49 Democrats (not counting the Liebercrat) and 2 Republicans, Chuck Hagel (NE) and Gordon Smith (OR).
Within days of Wednesday’s “test” votes, the Senate will vote on the actual Iraq Supplemental as amended, under intense pressure from both Bush and Reid to pass it immediately. If the floor version does not set a deadline to end the war, Democrats.com will urge all Democrats to oppose the Supplemental, no matter how much pressure they get from Bush, Cheney, the Corporate Media, and Harry Reid.
Then Senate and House Democrats will negotiate in conference committee on a final bill to send to Bush. They will have to choose between John Murtha’s “short leash” 2-month funding bill approved by the House, and the Senate’s toothless-gumless bill.
If the conference bill does not set a deadline to end the war, Democrats.com will urge all Democrats to oppose the Supplemental, no matter how much pressure they get from Bush, Cheney, the Corporate Media, Reid, and Pelosi.
The American people are watching. If Democrats fail to end the war, they can expect the “unhappiness” of voters across the political spectrum to turn into deep anger towards Democrats who surrender to the idiot-in-chief. The burden of leadership is on Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to whip weak Democrats into line behind a real deadline to end the war, which is why the American people put Democrats in power in Congress last November.
If Democrats think they can mollify voter anger by capitulating to Bush now but promising change after the 2008 elections, they had better start listening to their constituents – because they are dead wrong.
Update 1: The Corporate Media is playing the Feingold-Reid vote as a presidential primary battle between Iraq hardliners Chris Dodd and John Edwards on one side versus Iraq softliners Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But this is a stupid sideshow — the real battle is between the Democrats who want to end the war by March 31, 2008, and those who don’t. We’ll learn exactly who they are after Wednesday’s vote on Feingold-Reid, just as we did after last week’s 255-171 vote on the McGovern Amendment in the House.
Update 2: The House version includes “benchmarks,” which are a stupid game Democrats are playing with Bush, trying to use his own words against him. The American people are not looking for artificial benchmarks of “success” because Americans know the original invasion to overthrow Saddam has turned into a permanent occupation, which neither Americans nor Iraqis want.
So all of the benchmarks should be dropped, especially the requirement that the Iraqi Parliament approve the oil-theft bill drafted in secret by US oil companies, which Dennis Kucinich has repeatedly denounced. The only way Iraqis will ever rebuild their country is if they get the full benefit of their oil, not the trickle-down droplets from Exxon-Mobil and Chevron-Texaco.
Update 3: The Senate Charade is even worse than I thought – Reid is surrending completely to Bush:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday he would work with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on a compromise Iraq supplemental bill that would allow the measure to go to conference quickly.
Reid told reporters that once two amendments on each side had been voted on Wednesday, he and McConnell would “have a piece of legislation” that he believes will pass.
“I think we will get a bill to the president … with Republican and Democratic votes,” Reid said.
The stated goal of a bipartisan Senate supplemental signals that no troop withdrawal dates will make it onto the bill heading into conference with the House. Withdrawal provisions would likely prevent McConnell and Republicans from backing the supplemental even as a placeholder.
Aiming to give Democrats a chance to air their views on the war, Reid initiated votes on two Iraq options that will be procedurally removed from the water-resources bill before its final passage. The first option adds waivers to the Senate’s first supplemental spending bill, and the second calls for most troops to leave Iraq within a year.
So even if the Feingold-Reid amendment passes (which it won’t without Reid whipping it), it will be stripped from the bill it amends.
This isn’t a charade, it’s a farce. Shame on you, Harry.
Start making plans now for impeachment activities when Congress Members are home from Washington between May 29th and June 3rd. The Impeach07.org coalition is working with local activists in several key congressional districts to plan large town hall meetings during these days.
A number have already been scheduled, and in some cases Congress Members have agreed to take part. (Details to be announced soon!) We encourage everyone to hold your own events during this week as well.
• Find or post events in your area:
Resources to make your events easy and effective:
Petition MoveOn to Back Impeachment
For some time now, MoveOn has adhered closely to the Democratic party line, often to the dismay of members who feel the Democrats are not doing nearly enough to end the war or to pursue accountability through impeachment. This may be changing. On Thursday MoveOn issued a strongly worded warning: “if Democrats appear to capitulate to Bush — passing a bill without measures to end the war — the unity Democrats have enjoyed and Democratic leadership has so expertly built, will immediately disappear.”
The group went on to say that if the Democrats passed a bill without a timeline and with all five months of funding for the war, MoveOn “will move to a position of opposition.” We’re glad to see MoveOn listening to their grassroots constituents on the issue, and hope they will do the same for impeachment. Click here to add your name:
SUMMER OF PEACE AND IMPEACHMENT in Washington, D.C.
There are now four members of Congress, including one member of the House leadership, backing H Res 333, articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney. The more cosponsors we find, the easier it will be to persuade still more of them. Having four gives us a huge start.
You can influence your Congress Member and other key members with or without coming to Washington. Just go here:
May 15 to July 31: SWARM on Congress for Peace and Impeachment
Initiated by Marine Mom Tina Richards and Grassroots America, the SWARM on Congress is part of the summer of action to tell Congress, “No more business as usual” until they end the illegal occupation of Iraq.
Actions will include visits to the offices of members of Congress, attending hearings on Capitol Hill, acts of nonviolent civl disobedience including sit-ins, media events and a series of workshops and trainings throughout the summer:
June 10 and 11: National Mobilization to End the Israeli Occupation
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, United for Peace and Justice is working with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation on what promises to be an historic march on Washington.
On Sunday, June 10th people from around the country will gather on the West Lawn of the Capitol for a rally at 2 pm, which will be followed by a march to the White House. The next day, Monday, June 11th, we will visit members of Congress. We are going to Washington to call for an end to the US economic, military, and political support for this immoral occupation:
June and July: CODEPINK House
This summer CODEPINK is offering week-long training sessions during June and July as part of its efforts to keep constant pressure on Congress to bring the troops home and impeach Bush and Cheney. Immerse yourself in the busy and exciting actions CODEPINK is creating in Congress every day; learn how to do media work, create giant banners, and speak effectively about ending the war. ‘=
Plus, hear from experts about the current situation in Iraq, find out how a bill really becomes a law, and discover how you can make a deeper impact with CODEPINK’s campaigns in your home city:
June 27 – July 1: US SOCIAL FORUM IN ATLANTA, GA
Let’s make the United States part of the world again:
June 21 – September 21: MARCH FROM CHICAGO TO WASHINGTON, D.C.
A march for impeachment:
August 25: March to Bush Estate at Kennebunkport, Maine.
Rally and march for peace and justice. Join Dennis Kucinich, Cindy Sheehan, Ret. Col. Ann Wright, George Paz Martin, Melida Arrendondo, Bruce Gagnon, and Doug Rawlings: