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Congress Licks Bush's Shoes
Here's how I started out thinking this morning, before the House voted: As illustrated in this graphic by Chris Jeffries, the Dems have surrendered. They've surrendered to Bush and Cheney and abandoned our troops to remaining in Iraq to kill, die, and suffer for - let's be exact here - eternity. There is no hint of an end date in this latest bill.
The votes this week are only happening because the Democratic leadership has chosen to make them happen. If members of the Democratic leadership vote No, that is only because they are hypocrits. They are only voting No because they know there are enough Yes votes for passage - with most of those Yes votes coming from Republicans. Pelosi not only takes her talking points from the RNC ("Impeachment is off the table," "We will never fail to fund the troops"), but also facilitates votes for Republicans. Senators abandoned by their "leadership" should not simply vote No; they should filibuster.
If we can get enough Democrats to vote No (or filibuster), it could wreck the whole pretense. And at least we're going to have an honest vote for the first time, where everyone admits that a Yes vote is to fund the war and a No vote is to not fund the war... Unless, the Democrats make the only vote a vote on a Rule, to try to hide the war vote (this is what David Sirota claims will happen). If the Republicans vote No because they want an open debate, all of the Democrats except for the handful of them with some integrity, will have been lined up to vote Yes. Then that Yes vote will have to be depicted as (somehow) a vote to end the war by funding it. It appears more likely that, even with the vote on a rule, the Republicans will vote Yes to fund the war, and Democrats who join them will be clearly on record funding the war too.
Here's how things got underway this morning in the House:
10:30 a.m. They do appear to be debating and then voting on a rule. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter actually just claimed on the floor of the House that if Congress does not fund the war, Bush will continue the war but lack money for things the troops need. She promised to always fund the war. And she bragged about the (waiverable) "benchmarks," the minimum wage, etc., etc. What a disgrace! The troops can be left in Iraq or be brought safely home. They aren't going to be left in Iraq without food or supplies. A President who continues a war that Congress ends must be impeached, not obeyed.
10:40 Rep. David Dreier is speaking, apparently in opposition to the rule. The rule dumps more money into the war than Bush asked for. Bush should not be given any check, even with notes scrawled all over both sides of it, but this check is indeed blank. Dreier is not upset about that. He is upset about the maneuverings of the Democrats in Congress and the early morning Rules Committee meeting today.
10:44 Dreier is now speaking in support of continuing the war. Does this mean the Republicans will vote Yes? Will lots of Democrats (though not enough) vote No?
10:50 Rep. David Obey is talking now, blaming the White House for the late timing. "I hate this agreement. I'm going to vote against the major portion of this agreement even though I negotiated it." Wow. Obey should run for President. He's the sort of clear and consistent guy the Democrats like to run.
10:54 Obey is now blaming Bush's veto for preventing money from getting to the troops. As long as Obey is maintaining the pretense that the money is for the troops, and is planning to vote No on it, it is clear that he knows there are enough Yes votes for it to pass and that he wants it to pass.
11:03 Rep. Jim McGovern is blaming Bush for the occupation and blaming the Senate for being "too timid". He's a No vote. No votes are being given time to speak by Slaughter - at least if they're high ranking on Rules Committee.
11:08 Rep. Dan Lungren is speaking. He's a Yes vote, supporting Bush and the war and its escalation, attacking "the enemy."
11:14 Rep. Greg Walden, another Republican, is speaking on a side issue.
11:21 Rep. Jay Inslee is speaking against giving Bush "a blank check" - he's said the phrase about 4 times. Sounds like a No vote. How giving Bush ANY KIND of check could be justified is beyond me.
11:29: Dreier is still upset about the rushed process and advocates voting No on Rule. But if rule succeeds, he says, "I thank God that we are going to pass this measure."
11:36 They're voting.
11:37 Apparently they're going to wait to vote on this together with other vote(s) later tonight. It appears there will be further debate and vote in House tonight, and a Senate vote tonight or tomorrow.
1:23 p.m. Here's the vote on the rule to have the debate and vote, H Res 438 providing for the consideration of the Senate amendment to H.R. 2206, making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007. Only seven Democrats voted No: CLAY, HARMAN, KUCINICH, MCNERNEY (finally), MOORE, STARK, WATERS. Harman nearly lost a primary to peace candidate Marcy Winograd. Where are our other usually reliable members? The vote was 218-201. They could have voted No and still achieved passage. 8 Dems and 5 Repubs didn't vote at all (see above link). Here's what the AP says:
"The House voted 218-201 to advance the measure, paving the way for a final vote later that day. Democrats, who said they were disappointed with the White House deal, agreed not to block debate so long as the House would vote later this year on a separate proposal to bring troops come home before July 2008."
This little crumb (from AP) might be closest thing to silver lining on this one:
"The bill also for the first time explicitly states that the U.S. would leave Iraq if asked by the Baghdad government."
Unbeknownst to Congress, it already has been.
5:15 Debate is underway and David Obey is saying yet again that the bill before us is the best we can do given the votes we've got. (As if he and Pelosi have badgered the hell out of people to try to get peace votes the way they've done for war votes. As if they've worked for peace for 5 months the way they've worked for war. As if Iraq was even mentioned in Pelosi's 100-hour plan. As if Pelosi never said cutting off funding was off the table. As if Obey himself didn't just say as I was writing this that cutting off the funding was off the table.
5:20 Rep. Jerry Lewis is accusing Obey of favoring pork (true enough) and not "supporting the troops" (keeping them in Iraq to be shot at). (Obey plans to vote No on his own bill.)
5:27 Steny Hoyer is going on and on about how bad the war is. But how will he vote? He says he'll vote Yes. He loves the (waiverable) "benchmarks".
5:34 Barbara Lee says don't give Bush any more money. "How many will have to die before this Congress stops writing blank checks? ...I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill.".
5:38 Lynn Woolsey: The voters who gave us a majority trusted us.
5:42 John Murtha says we have to "fund the troops" and "they'll run out in a few weeks." Murtha is considered a good Democrat. Yet he keeps up the pretense that wars are fought for the benefit of the young men and women sent to fight and be killed. What part of BRING THEM HOME can you not understand? "By September we'll be able to judge," he says. Then he goes on to say that he already knows what will happen. So what is he waiting for? He's waiting for Bush and Cheney to change their minds[!!]. He ought to be sent out of Washington for mental health therapy.
5:51 Chris Shays says that Iraqis are children, they're like children at a 6th grade dance, the Sunnis, Shias, Kurds aren't talking to each other.
5:52 Murtha is screaming that he's trying to win the war. He's really not stable.
5:54 Roy Blunt likes the bill and especially the "benchmarks."
5:56 David Obey once again accuses Bush of abandoning the troops by vetoing the last bill.
I'll say this again: I object to the idea that the Dems should accuse Bush of "abandoning the troops." If we don't FOR CHRISSAKE STOP ONCE AND FOR ALL PRETENDING THAT WARS ARE FUNDED FOR THE TROOPS, WE WILL NEVER EVER END ANY WARS. Sorry for the caps, but I don't know how many times this has to be said or how to make it any clearer.
Pelosi promised the media repeatedly in recent days and over the past year that "Our troops will be funded." This is UNADULTERATED FATALLY SELF DEFEATING BULLSHIT. Nobody is ever going to abandon the troops. They are either going to be left to kill and die and be wounded and traumatized in Iraq OR they are going to be brought safely home. There is no third possibility called "abandoning" or "not supporting" or "not funding" them.
If the peace movement keeps talking about "funding the troops" there will never be peace. Believe it or not - and I know this seems insane - there are some things we should NOT accuse Bush of.
6:02 John Boehner just claimed Hussein had been a threat to Iraq's neighbors, and that he had WDMs but shipped them somewhere when the US invaded. Unbelievable! Then Boehner said that once you send troops somewhere you cannot question whether or not you should have. So presumably he's continuing to believe the lies as a matter of principle.
6:12 Pelosi is talking at length. She opposes her own bill because the "benchmarks" are waiverable. She says there will be a vote on repealing Bush's authority to use force in Iraq (as if he were ever authorized to launch an aggressive war based on lies and occupy Iraq with massive toops presence for five years; as if he'll end the occupation because it's deauthorized but funded). Pelosi just quoted Hannah Arendt. Has she ever read her?
6:18 They've just begun a 15-minute vote. I'm watching to C-Span, and most of the callers are furious at the Democrats' spinelessness and want the war ended immediately. One caller pointed out that Republicans keep saying that not "supporting the troops" lowers their morale but that it's Republicans who keep saying over and over again that Congress has not been "supporting the troops" whereas Democrats keep swearing they do "support the troops," so perhaps the Republicans are willing to hurt morale to score political points.
6:46 The war half of the bill (which was split into two parts) passed 280-142. Of the 142 No votes, 140 were Democrats. SOME Congress Members are listening. Some just voted No on the war because the people made them. But it's not nearly enough, and the leadership is not with us. They brought this bill up for a vote and allowed it to pass. And had the vote been close, some of those voting No would have flipped and voted Yes.
Here's the roll call. These Democrats voted YES for eternal occupation: Altmire, Andrews, Baca, Baird, Barrow, Bean, Berkley, Berry, Bishop (GA), Boren, Boswell, Boucher, Boyd (FL), Boyda (KS), Butterfield, Cardoza, Carney, Chandler, Clyburn, Cooper, Costa, Cramer, Cuellar, Davis (CA), Davis, Lincoln, Dicks, Dingell, Donnelly, Edwards, Ellsworth, Emanuel, Etheridge, Giffords, Gillibrand, Gonzalez, Gordon, Green, Gene, Herseth Sandlin, Hill, Hinojosa, Holden, Hoyer, Kagen, Kanjorski, Kildee, Kind, Lampson, Larsen (WA), Levin, Lipinski, Mahoney (FL), Marshall, Matheson, McIntyre, Meek (FL), Melancon, Mitchell, Mollohan, Moore (KS), Murtha, Ortiz, Peterson (MN), Pomeroy, Rahall, Reyes, Rodriguez, Ross, Ruppersberger, Salazar, Schwartz, Scott (GA), Sestak, Shuler, Skelton, Snyder, Space, Spratt, Stupak, Tanner, Taylor, Thompson (MS), Udall (CO), Visclosky, Walz (MN), Wasserman Schultz, Wilson (OH).
These Democrats did not vote Yes or No: Berman, DeGette, Engel, Jones (OH), Lewis (GA), Oberstar.
These Democrats made this happen: Pelosi, Hoyer, Murtha, Obey.
This goes to the Senate TONIGHT. The debate is underway. Go get some popcorn. Maybe a few rotten tomatoes.
8:30 p.m. The Senate is voting. It looks like a handful of Senators are voting NO to eternal war, including: Boxer, Burr, Dodd, Feingold, Leahy, Sanders, Whitehouse, Wyden.
9:00 p.m. It was 80-14 for eternal war. Clinton and Obama joined those voting NO.
HERE ARE THE NAY VOTES:
Boxer (D-CA), Burr (R-NC), Clinton (D-NY), Coburn (R-OK), Dodd (D-CT), Enzi (R-WY), Feingold (D-WI), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Obama (D-IL), Sanders (I-VT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR)
Here's what activists recorded about their work in the hours leading up to the vote:
Nancy Pelosi - will vote No according to American Progress Action Fund
Jerrold Nadler - will vote No according to constituent Rusti Eisenberg, leans No according to The Hill, will vote No according to Courtney Lee Adams
Lynn Woolsey - will vote No according to The Hill
Raul Grijalva - will vote No - has released statement
Dennis Kucinich - will vote No - has released statement
Jan Schakowsky - will vote No according to a constituent
Ed Markey - will vote No according to constituent Susan Lees
Anna Eshoo - will vote No according to Lenny Siegel who found it on her website
Welch - will vote NO -- from a constituent in anonymous comment below
Barbara Lee - wil vote No according to anonymous comment below
Carolyn Maloney - will vote No according to constituent Frances Anderson
Yvette Clark - undecided according to Rusti Eisenberg, will vote no according to Sam Koprak
Lois Capps - will vote No according to constituent Dinah Mason who got that from Danielle in her DC office
Diane Watson - will vote No according to Tim Carpenter who got an Email from Jim Clarke in her office who said they'd received 300 calls about it today
Mike Capuano - will vote NO according to constituent Vicky Steinitz
Pallone of NJ 6th - will most likely vote NO on supplemental according to an anonymous comment below citing a staffer.
Tammy Baldwin - will vote No according to Joy First of Madison, WI, who writes: "I called Tammy Baldwin's (Wisconsin House) staff in DC and they told me she will vote no. We brought flowers to her Madison office where it was confirmed by them also."
Olver - will vote No according to an Email from his staff sent to Tim Carpenter.
Keith Ellison - will vote No (finally) according to Michael Perkins
Kennedy - will vote No according to Providence Journal
Langevin - will vote No according to Providence Journal
Sam Farr - will vote no according to Medea Benjamin
Massachusetts Reps - "Re our reps, we seem to have all NO votes here in MA, except perhaps Lynch." - Susan Lees
Jim Moran - will vote No according to constituent Peter Rush: "This is Peter Rush, in Virginia, and I just called Jim Moran’s office (VA-8) about 9:30 Thursday, and they told me Moran is voting against the bill. If true, this would mean that he has changed his mind, in the right direction, since yesterday. I also called the offices of the other Democrats from Virginia, Bobby Scott from Richmond (VA-3) and Rick Boucher (VA-9), but their staffs say they don’t know how he will vote, and Sen. Jim Webb, whose staffer also said he didn’t know how Webb was going to vote. Webb gave a pretty strong speech April 26 justifying his vote for the previous bill, and it would be a betrayal of what he said if he turns around and supports this one, so we’ll see."
Carol Shea-Porter 1st District NH - will vote NO according to Beth, an office staffer, according to constituent Barbara Hilton. And she just said so on the floor.
Yarmuth (D-KY) voting NO, according to Kevin Martin
McNulty (D-NY) voting NO according to Kevin Martin
Carson (D-IN) voting NO according to Kevin Martin
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) NO according to Kelly Campbell
Rep Fatah - will vote No, David Gibson reports: "OK. Just spoke with Nuku Ofori, Fatah's LD on Iraq. He told me that Fatah was not taking a position until the actual language of the Bill was released, which it was today, and that he was to brief the Congressman on the bill. He also told me that we can expect a "No" vote if there is no exit language in it, which seems to be the case."
Pete Stark (CA) will vote NO according to a constituent call, reported via email
Henry Waxman (CA) will vote NO according to a constituent call, reported via email
Jerry Mcnerney (CA) will vote NO according to his website, via comment below
Julia Carson (IN) will vote NO according to comment below
Lois Capps (CA) will vote NO according email
David Wu (D-OR) leaning NO according to Kelly Campbell
Nydia Velasquez - is leaning NO according to Eisenberg
Edolphus Towns (NY) leaning NO, according to anonymous commenter below, Rusti Eisenberg reports: "Cong Towns (D-Brooklyn) is leaning towards a "No" but is not decided. Its pretty dismaying that "antiwar" Congressional reps can't make up their mind on this "no-brainer.""
Rahm Emmanuel -- undecided according to constituent call, quotes in news suggest he's voting YES
Chris Van Hollen - undecided according to constituent Sue Udry
Maurice Hinchey - undecided according to The Hill
Ed Perlmutter - undecided according to the Hill
Charles Rangel - undecided, likely No, according to constituent Nancy Kricorian
Bobby Scott - "Undecided! Richmond office suggested he would vote no since he voted against war to begin with but suggested I call DC office. Did so and was told he was undecided, but the person that answered was unaware that the debate would be taking place today (maybe it is not?). Call his DC office at 202-225-8351 if he is your rep. Thanks, Rain"
Bob filner - undecided according to constituent Barbara Cummings who writes: "I just called again and his DC office said he has not made up his mind and is taking calls today. So I'm notifying everyone I know in this district to call now. 202 225 8045 Please ask everyone to call. They did ask for my address so don't cheat."
Mark Udall - is leaning Yes according to constituent Stephanie Westbrook, who writes: "Staff at Mark Udall's office (CO 2) haven't had a chance to talk with him about this (!) but think he will vote YES, in order to support the troops. I asked where in the supplemental there is anything about supporting the troops. No answer. I was reminded, as I am every time I call, that he voted against the war. I replied that it is much more acceptable to me someone who voted for the war back in 2002 and votes to end it now than vice-versa. I also told them that I read the statement on his web site saying he will introduce new legislation after memorial day which "implements the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and provides a foundation for the phased withdrawal of American troops out of Iraq beginning in March of next year" and instead urge him to take action NOW by voting NO on the supplemental. If there are any other people out there from CO-2, please call Udall's office!"
Joe Sestak - will vote Yes according to The Hill -- Rep Sestak - undecided and leaning Yes, David Gibson reports: "According to his Washington DC office, Joe Sestak is leaning yes, but still on the fence. Call right away and tell him not to betray his pledge to vote for a date certain and vote "No" on this supplemental unless an exit timeline to fund a withdrawl by the end of this year is reinserted. We want a 'No" vote. Here is his office number:
1-202-225-2011 Cranston Grey is the Legislative Aide on Iraq. Please call right away!"
Dutch Ruppersberger - will vote Yes according to The Hill
Larsen (D-WA)- will vote Yes according to anonymous comment below
Danny Davis - will likely vote Yes: "I spoke with him myself after hearing it from the receptionist. He needs a SWARM!" - Robin, Maywood, IL
Louise Slaughter - will vote yes: she actually claimed on the floor of the House on Thursday morning that if Congress does not fund the war, Bush will continue the war but lack money for things the troops need. She promised to always fund the war. And she bragged about the (waiverable) "benchmarks," the minimum wage, etc., etc. What a disgrace!
Brown (SC) voting YES according to Kevin Martin
Mark Kirk - will vote Yes according to an Email from David _____.
Chris Dodd - will vote No and said so on CNN according to Rusti Eisenberg
Russ Feingold - will vote No - has released statement
Kerry and Kennedy - "Yesterday we heard 'undecided' from both Kerry and Kennedy offices.. Today's Boston Globe article now reports Kerry as a NO, and Kennedy undecided." - Susan Lees
Pat Leahy (VT) will vote NO, according to press release
Dick Durbin - undecided according to anonymous comment below
Clinton - undecided according to Courtney Lee Adams
Schumer - undecided according to Courtney Lee Adams
NJ Senators - undecided: From Susan: "Sen. Menendez's office didn't know how he plans to vote. I couldn't get through to Sen. Lautenberg's office. Will try again later."
Barbara Mikulski - will vote Yes
Reed - will vote Yes according to Providence Journal
Whitehouse - will vote Yes according to Providence Journal: Anonymous comment: "Today's Providence Journal actually said, 'Sheldon Whitehouse said he MAY also support the war funds bill.' That means UNDECIDED, or leaning, not a firm YES as your list indicates. C'mon, my fellow Rhode Islanders, call him NOW."
Biden - will vote Yes according to USA Today
Bunning - YES according to Kevin Martin
McConnell - YES according to Kevin Martin
Graham - YES according to Kevin Martin
DeMint - YES according to Kevin Martin
Sen Ken Salazar (D-CO) to vote Yes, by stephaniewestbrook, "But! plans to introduce legislation after the break calling for phased withdrawal. Ugh. Can't vote against the supplemental because then the troops wouldn't get the armor they need to defend themselves. Double ugh. Colorado voters - call his office! May take you a while to get through."
Senator Casey - will vote Yes, David Gibson reports: "I just Spoke a Legislative Correspondent for Sen. Casey. They tell me that Casey plans to vote for the Supp. But will vote for a new bill, Salazar - ? I didn't get the other name on the bill, that they tell me will implement the Iraq study group recommendations. I have not heard of this bill till now. They did tell me, after I lobbied them to tell the Sen. how disappointed we were in that position and in his vote against Fiengold, that they cannot say for sure and doesn't want to quote him. They seemed to indicate that it was possible that Casey could still change his vote, but it sounded like a heavy lift to me. They went on to say how the Sen. agrees with us in principal. I told them that he should vote his principals and put them into practice then. They thanked me and told me to call them anytime. Here's their number. Send to your networks. 202-224-6324"
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