Friends Committee on National Legislation – 2007-07-04 22:42:01
Iraq: Progress on Bipartisan Legislation to Change Policy
(July 3, 2007) — We are making progress toward persuading Congress to set the US on a new course in Iraq that would make serious regional diplomacy, negotiations with Iraq’s warring factions, and US troop withdrawals unavoidable.
• A bipartisan group of senators is meeting to discuss ways of translating the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group into US law:
• Urge your senators to change US policy in Iraq during the debate on the military authorization bill:
• Ask two friends to do the same:
Progress Toward a Change in US/ Iraq Policy:
Senate Votes on Iraq Expected in Early July
“I pray… that the president and my fellow senators or members of Congress will adopt a bipartisan foreign policy with regard to Iraq, even at this late date, because that would be the best and strongest stance for our country.”
— Sen. Richard Lugar (July 29, 2007)
We’re making progress toward persuading Congress to set the United States on a new course with respect to Iraq that would make serious regional diplomacy, negotiations with Iraq’s warring factions, and US troop withdrawals unavoidable. Next week, we at FCNL anticipate that the Senate will debate during the debate on the military authorization bill several measures either to endorse or change US policy in Iraq.
Your work on Iraq is paying off. You have urged senators to cosponsor the bipartisan Iraq Study Group Implementation Act (S. 1545, H.R. 2574) and to attach this legislation as an amendment to the military authorization bill when it comes to the Senate floor.
Senator Richard Lugar (IN) announced this week that a bipartisan group of senators is meeting to discuss legislation that would turn the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group into US policy.
We don’t have all the details yet, but we believe that momentum is building for a change in policy. Senator Lugar’s declaration last week that the president’s policy in Iraq has failed generated a bipartisan wave of public support for real policy change. Senators George Voinovich (OH) and John Warner (VA) have both added their voices to the call for change. Senator Lugar himself has suggested that the time has come for the Senate to develop a veto-proof majority to override the president’s objections to a change in policy.
Senate Votes Week of July 10
The full Senate is expected to begin debate on the military authorization bill when senators return from the Independence Day recess on July 9. The authorization bill is the main legislation that establishes and continues US military policy for the coming year.
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid (NV), has said he expects several amendments to this legislation, including a call for a reduction in the number of US troops in Iraq, and a cut-off of funding for the war.
FCNL would almost certainly support these amendments, but we recognize that they have no chance of winning the necessary 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a presidential veto. Republican senators may also offer Iraq-related amendments, which may have equally slim chances of winning approval.
Thus, the votes on many of these amendments may amount to not much more than symbolic statements, rather than practical steps that would win sufficient approval to move the US toward a new Iraq policy. We at FCNL acknowledge that symbolism is fine and has its place in politics.
But the people of Iraq, the US soldiers in Iraq, and the people of this country need more than symbolic statements – they need bipartisan congressional leadership to begin to change US policy in Iraq. The Senate should seize this bipartisan opportunity to make a real change in Iraq policy that the administration could not ignore.
If you have not already done so, please urge your senators to cosponsor the Iraq Study Group Implementation Act and offer this legislation as an amendment to the military authorization bill when it comes to the Senate floor. Show two friends how to use FCNL’s easy action page, and ask them to contact their senators as well.
Iraq – Will Politics Trump Real Policy Change?
The Iraq Study Group Implementation Act (S. 1545), would require the US to transform its first, tentative moves to negotiate with Iraq’s neighbors and warring factions into a full-court diplomatic press in the region and inside Iraq. The bill already has five Republican and four Democratic sponsors in the Senate, and substantial bipartisan support in the House. It would create irresistible pressure for the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq.
This legislation will not end the war in Iraq tomorrow. But it would establish a radical new framework of multilateral engagement for US policy to de-escalate and withdraw US troops from Iraq, tamp down extremism, and re-stabilize the region. This is also the only legislation that could win the approval of a strong, bipartisan majority in the Senate.
Approval of this legislation would be a first step toward compelling the president to change policy in Iraq. If the Senate can put politics aside in early July and vote on the ISG bill, it will be taking the first step to make a real change in US policy on Iraq.
Urge your senators to cosponsor the Iraq Study Group Implementation Act (S. 1545) and to offer that legislation as an amendment to the military authorization bill when it comes to the floor in early July. Ask them to let you know what happens after the vote. Ask two friends to do the same.