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More War, With a Peace Label
8:12 p.m. There are now 12 heroes in the House, up from 10 at the last Supplemental vote. At this rate we'll end the war this century for sure. The heroes are the two Republicans who voted No who we know oppose funding the war: Ron Paul and John Duncan, plus the eight Democrats who voted No last time and this time again: Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, Diane Watson, John Lewis, Mike McNulty, and Mike Michaud, plus the two new heroes added to the list: Democratic Representatives Pete Stark and John Tanner.
They deserve our thanks and our praise. But they did not press their colleagues to join them. Stark voted present last time and No this time, almost certainly not because he learned the war was illegal and disastrous, but because Pelosi found an extra couple of Republicans to vote for the war this time, so Stark and Tanner didn't have to. In this day and age, voting No only when there are enough people to vote Yes for war is our highest measure of heroism. When will that change? When will we demand more of Congress Members? When will activist organizations stop playing along with Congressional frauds (like the one of the past 12 hours in which everyone promoted Yes votes on McGovern's bill but kept quiet about the Supplemental, or mentioned it in a one-line whisper at the end of a long Email)? We just saw 171 Members of Congress vote to end the war, and all but 12 of them turn around and vote to continue the war. Guess which vote they'll be talking about when they come home for Memorial Day. Tell them which vote you're going to remember.
7:59 p.m. The bill to dump more money into this war without even a nonbinding date to end it passed 221-205, with 2 Republicans shamefully joining 219 disgraceful Democrats in voting Yes, 10 Democrats heroically voting No because they oppose funding the war, and 195 Republicans voting No - most of them because they love war even more than the Democrats and wanted an even worse bill. Last time around on the supplemental, when it had a nonbinding end date in it, 8 Democrats voted No and 2 Republicans voted No for the right reasons. They were heroes: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/heroes - This time around, we probably can identify Republicans who voted No for the right reasons, and we probably have 12 heroes. Who's newly on the list? And who, if anyone, drops off it?
7:52 p.m. Motion to send to committee failed by 229-195, with 3 Dems voting Yes and 3 Repubs voting No. Now there is a 5-min vote on the Supplemental War Money Bill. Not one member spoke on the floor against funding this war. Not one member spoke on the floor about the privatization of the oil. Not one member mentioned the permanent bases. Not one member mentioned Iran. Not one member challenged the idea that the money is "for the troops." I continue to maintain that the war will not end until that particular piece of nonsense is challenged forcefully by someone in Congress.
7:48 p.m. time's up but they're still counting votes.
7:30 p.m. A 15-minute vote is underway to send the bill back to committee.
7:26 p.m. Rep Jerry Lewis moves to recommit the Supplemental war money bill to committee (that is, kill it for the moment).
7:22 p.m. Rep. Jack Murtha is going on and on about everything in the bill for veterans' health care, etc. (But why not fund those things without funding more war?)
7:17 p.m. Rep. Lynn Woolsey puts out a press release like Lee's, while Murtha is still speaking.
7:16 p.m. Rep Barbara Lee did not take the floor. No, she sent me a press release bragging about the McGovern vote. Meanwhile not one progressive has taken the floor to speak against the Supplemental vote. We're all glad 171 members voted for McGovern's bill, but who will vote against the war money?
7:15 p.m. Rep. Jack Murtha claims this bill is about "changing direction" and about "accountability" and "redeployment." How so?
7:13 p.m. Rep. Dan Burton, another Republican, claims this is a World War like World War II and is against Al Qaeda, which is trying to attack the United States of America. He seems mentally unstable. He says the enemy in Iraq is the same people who blew up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "Are you going to wait until they blow up Indianapolis?"
7:11 p.m. Rep. Jeff Flake is complaining about pork in the bill.
7:10 p.m. DILO says he only wants one more Democratic speaker, so the Republicans, with two remaining should go next. This even though not a single Democrat opposed to the bill has been permitted to speak.
7:07 p.m. Rep John Kline says Bush will veto.
6:59 p.m. Speaker Pelosi is now thanking her colleagues for pushing the Supplemental war funding bill. Then she claims the bill is about ending the war. I kid you not. A bill that has stripped out even a nonbinding request to partially end the war some day is a bill to end the war. Orwell would be awed. Pelosi does call it "the president's war without end," which is right. But when - for the love of peace - will she ever end the damn thing? Can Pelosi not grasp that she can end the war by accepting Bush's veto and not proposing a new bill at all? What duty does she have to defy the American people and fund more war?
6:57 p.m. Rep. Jack Kingston says the bill is cruel to the troops because it threatens to not keep funding them forever if certain things aren't accomplished.
6:53 p.m. Rep. Rahm Emanuel is up. This should be ugly. Yep. He claims this bill opposes a military solution and supports a political solution. Huh? By funding war? He blames the Iraqis. Then he goes back to claiming this is about funding "the troops" - even though it's about a "political solution."
6:51 p.m. Rep. Mike Pence calls the bill micromanaging of the war.
6:43 p.m. Rep Steny Hoyer claims the last bill passed and vetoed, and this one, both "fully fund the troops." STILL NOT ONE VOICE AGAINST THIS BILL FOR THE RIGHT REASONS HAS BEEN PERMITTED TO TAKE THE FLOOR. Hoyer brags that this bill goes after the victims of Bush's war, the Iraqis, by "holding them accountable." NOT ONE WORD YET FROM EITHER SIDE ON THE OIL LAW THAT IS CENTRAL TO THIS BILL. Wow, just as I was writing that, Hoyer mentioned "fair distribution" of the oil, which is how they describe the law that would give the bulk of Iraq's oil to foreign corporations. VOTE NO, YOU SPINELESS MURDERING FASCISTS!
6:41 p.m. Rep. Todd Tiahrt claims Bush will veto the bill for several stupid reasons. He claims it's "for the troops" who are waiting not only for "the equipment they need" but also for "the troops they need."
6:40 p.m. Rep. Rush Holt claims the bill is a bill to oppose Bush's war.
6:34 p.m. Minority Leader John Boner [sic] says the Democrats have refused to work with the Republicans. (Well, then what the hell do you call this bill?) Boner actually claimed that every member of congress but one voted to send "our troops" to Iraq. (Is he thinking of Rep. Barbara Lee's courageous solo vote against the criminal attack on AFGHANISTAN?)
6:32 p.m. Rep. Joe Sestak, who was elected to end the war, says the bill is no good but is a "step" toward a decent bill, so he will vote for it.
6:31 p.m. Rep. Peter Kind says this is a bill for the enemies, terrorists, etc. Says the Congress should obey the Generals and, yes, "our troops."
6:29 p.m. DILO is replying in defense of pork and other items that he's piled into this bill.
6:26 p.m. Rep. Paul Ryan is feining distress on behalf of "our troops" who are clearly upset not by being left in Iraq but by the war funding being handled every two months instead of every four months. Can anyone find a troop who gives a shit?
6:25 p.m. Rep. Ike Skelton is experiencing verbal diarrhea explaining that the bill is about "readiness" for "the troops." THUS FAR NO MEMBER OPPOSING THE BILL FOR THE RIGHT REASONS HAS BEEN GIVEN ACCESS TO THE FLOOR.
6:19 p.m. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is babbling about how she loves militarism and God more than others.
6:16 p.m. DILO and Rep. Israel are defending their "support for our troops." They both make clear that they already believe that the war is hopeless and will believe that again in 2 months. (So why vote for more war tonight?)
6:06 p.m. Republican Jerry Lewis now speaking against the bill, and rightly so, but for absurd and nasty reasons.
5:58 p.m. DILO (David "Idiot Liberals" Obey) proposed the Supplemental for a debate and vote. He claimed much of the money was "for the troops." (How so? It won't bring them home, tell them the truth, or treat them any differently from how they are already being treated.) DILO mentioned the "benchmarks" but not what they are, and certainly not that one of them involves essentially stealing Iraq's oil.
5:56 p.m. Motion to go into secret session has failed 216 to 198. At least three Democrats voted Yes.
5:50 p.m. Motion to go into secret session and hide from the public is losing thus far 204-186.
5:40 p.m. There is now a 15-minute vote underway on whether to go into closed session and keep the nosy public out of the room. Then there will be a debate and vote on the Supplemental. Let's hope Members got the message that they NEED TO VOTE NO. 169 Democratic No votes, combined with the Republicans, would more than kill this bill.
5:38 p.m. McGovern's bill is defeated by a vote of 255 to 171. 196 Republicans voted No and 2 voted YES. 169 Democrats voted YES, BUT 59 SELL OUT SPINELESS WARMONGERING WORTHLESS DEMOCRATS voted NO. 171 is not bad - imagine if Pelosi had focused her efforts on pressuring, bribing, threatening members to back it, the way she's done with the Supplementals? And many of those who voted Yes may turn right around in the next hour and vote Yes for war money. Let's hope no one on the side of the angels is celebrating 171 decent votes for peace that accomplished nothing. Here is the roll call of who voted which way. 7 members did not vote at all, including these four Democrats: Brady (PA); Brown, Corrine; Engel; Fattah. THESE ARE THE DEMOCRATS WHO VOTED WITH THE REPUBLICANS AGAINST PEACE: Altmire, Barrow, Bean, Berkley, Berman, Bishop (GA), Boren, Boswell, Boucher, Boyd (FL), Boyda (KS), Cardoza, Carney, Chandler, Cooper, Costa, Cramer, Cuellar, Davis, Lincoln, Donnelly, Edwards, Ellsworth, Etheridge, Giffords, Gordon, Green, Gene, Herseth Sandlin, Hill, Holden, Hoyer, Kind, Lampson, Lipinski, Mahoney (FL), Marshall, Matheson, McIntyre, McNerney, Melancon, Mitchell, Moore (KS), Ortiz, Peterson (MN), Pomeroy, Rodriguez, Ross, Ruppersberger, Salazar, Schwartz, Scott (GA), Shuler, Skelton, Snyder, Space, Spratt, Tanner, Taylor, Udall (CO), Wilson (OH).
5:31 p.m. Motion to recommit failed in a tight vote. Voice vote on McGovern passed in the opinion of the chair. A recorded vote was requested and is now underway.
5:30 p.m. we're looking at perhaps 140 to 150 members ready to vote YES on McGovern's bill, but first they have to be allowed to vote on it. Meanwhile there is a vote on the floor on a Republican proposal to send McGovern's bill back to the Armed Services Committee - and the problem is that there are sell-out Democrats voting for this motion to recommit.
ACTION ALERT FROM THIS MORNING
Today the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a variation of Rep. Jim McGovern's bill HR 746 to mandate the withdrawal of most American forces from Iraq. Then the House is expected to vote on a Supplemental war spending bill that gives Bush and Cheney money to continue the war and does not include even a nonbinding withdrawal date. Representatives Waters, Lee, and Woolsey have urged their colleagues to vote YES on McGovern's bill, but have failed to urge them to vote NO on the Supplemental. This is not the position of the peace movement outside the beltway, which demands a YES vote on McGovern and a NO vote on the Supplemental. We will support the supplemental only if McGovern's bill is attached to it as an amendment. TELL CONGRESS - Capitol Hill Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
McGovern's Proposal will be like his bill, except that
* the word "withdrawal" is replaced with redeployment throughout the bill;
* it would go into effect "90 days after enactment" instead of the 30 days in the original bill;
* it would withdraw all US troops except for troops engaged in limited operations against al-Qaeda and foreign terrorists, and for training Iraqi troops (this is the sentence from the House-passed supplemental in April); and
* in addition to clarifying that economic and social reconstruction aid for Iraq continues, it adds the word "diplomatic" as well, so that funding for our embassy personnel is not cut off.
Here are Talking Points on HR 2237, McGovern's Bill as Offered for a Vote Today
And while you’re calling, please ask your Congress member to co-sponsor H.Res. 333, Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Cheney. The bill, drafted by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), bases impeachment on Cheney’s manipulation of intelligence to launch the Iraq invasion and on his threats of aggressive action against Iran. The bill is now co-sponsored by William. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
We need co-sponsors for this bill impeaching Cheney first! Email your Congress member, or call them at 202-224-3121.