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United For Peace and Justice
Washington Update – November 22, 2005
Members of Congress are home for the holidays, we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to visit them in their district offices, or question them about the war in Iraq at public events in the district. For updated lobbying materials – including talking points, bills and actions to ask for and more, please check the legislative page on the UFPJ website: http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=3116#grassroots
It was a busy week in Congress, the upshot is that we have many vehicles to press members on to show their support for an end to the war.
Senate passes resolution calling for the year 2006 to be a year of transition in Iraq.
On Tuesday, November 15, the Senate debated competing amendments to the Defense spending bill (Democratic vs. Republican) on the war in Iraq. While both amendments were weak, they were of great symbolic importance. They both called for a phased withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and called on the President to make 2006 a year of significant transition in Iraq. The Democratic version, introduced by Sen. Levin (D-MI) used slightly stronger language than the Republican bill, introduced by Sen. Warner (R-VA) and called for the establishment of a timeline. Levin's amendment garnered 40 votes, and the Warner amendment passed 79-19.
Out of Iraq Caucus Announces Discharge Petition on H.J.Res. 55 (Homeward Bound)
A discharge petition calls for a bill to be brought to the floor for a debate and vote, circumventing the normal committee route, where many progressive bills die. It requires a simple majority (218) of members to sign the petition. Ask your Representative to sign the discharge petition – it has a new bill number: HJRes.543. For more information on the discharge petition, visit the PDA website: http://www.pdamerica.org/
Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) held a press conference announcing his plan for an immediate redeployment from Iraq. This bold call, coming from an ex-marine and much-decorated veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, got people's attention. The text of his speech is available on the UFPJ website.
Rep. Murtha introduces HJ.Res.73 – to redeploy U.S. forces from Iraq
**** please see story below, this bill is still alive and seeking co-sponsors!****
Current co-sponsors are (all Democrats):
Rep Becerra, Xavier [CA-31]
Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8]
Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14]
Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12
Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16]
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3]
Rep McNulty, Michael R. [NY-21]
Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8]
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15]
Rep Solis, Hilda L. [CA-32]
Rep Weiner, Anthony D. [NY-9]
Shenanigans in the House of Representatives
(Due to a problem with my e-mail, many of you did not receive the second email sent out on Friday about the vote Friday night in the House… here is a summary of what happened.)
The House did not vote on Rep. Murtha's bill (H.J.Res.73). Instead, the Republicans substituted HJRes571, sponsored by Rep. Hunter (R-CA)
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.
It was an obvious political ploy and it didn't work – but it did give rise to some impassioned and often vitriolic debate. This bill was defeated 403 –3 with 6 members voting present.
Iraqi Leaders call for Withdrawal of foreign troops
Iraqi political leaders issued a statement demanding the withdrawal of foreign forces on a specific timetable. The statement was signed by about 100 Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders attending a reconciliation conference backed by the Arab League.
Public Response Needed on Murtha Proposal
Rep. Murtha's moving speech on the Iraq war has opened a door for us. It is essential that we mount a strong show of public support – and the best tactic we can employ right now can be carried out from the comfort of your home. Please, before you get up from this computer, send a letter to the editor to your local paper (and send a BCC to email@example.com – so we can keep count of how many letters we generated). This is your letter, focus on whatever moves you. Below are a few sample letters to help you get started.
(Sample courtesy Peace Action)
To the editor:
U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), a decorated Korea and Vietnam war veteran and veteran congressional hawk on military matters, surprised many in Washington with his call last week for the immediate withdrawal of US troops for Iraq.
Predictably, Murtha is being attacked by Republicans, who seem to want a blank check for the war in Iraq, for advocating "cutting and running". In fact, it is the supporters of the war who have cut and run from the reality of the tragic futility of staying the course in Iraq -- thousands more Americans and Iraqis dead and wounded and billions of our tax dollars squandered. Moreover, as Murtha noted, 80% of Iraqis, according to a recent poll, want us to leave.
Instead of scorn, Murtha deserves praise and support for his courageous leadership. Isn't that what we want from our elected officials?
Jane 4 Peace
Thank You for All You Do!
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