House War Funding Vote Delayed UFPJ Legislative Update

by Sue Udry

May 9, 2008

1. Vote delayed, more phone calls needed!
2. Plan now for Senate vote
3. Background on House action and reason for the delay
4. A note from Legislative Working Group Conveners re: staff
5. Peace Action Lobby Day - July 20 -21
6. Sample Press Release

1. Vote delayed -- more time to organize and call!
The House will delay the vote on the Iraq funding until next week.  We have heard feedback from staff that they are getting a lot of phone calls urging a No vote on the funding.  Thank you for alerting your networks and making phone calls.  Please share with this listserve the results of your calls..  Remember, this will likely be the last binding vote on Iraq until after Inauguration Day -- now is the time to pull out all the stops!

There is still time so continue to urge people to make a phone call.

2. It is time to start planning NOW for the Senate vote! We cannot let this vote take place without a huge outcry!

Thank you for all that you do -- KEEP DOING IT!

3.  Background on House actions
Facing opposition from Republicans and a possible revolt from the Blue Dog Democrats, Pelosi has put the vote on Iraq funding off until next week.  The Blue Dogs are unhappy that approx. $11 million in domestic spending is not offset in the bill.  They are apparently okay with the $162 billion in deficit spending for the war though.... Blue Dogs have told Pelosi they will vote against the rule that allows her Iraq funding bill to come to the floor unless she finds a way to offset the domestic spending.  At a press conference yesterday, Rep. Maxine Waters, chair of the Out of Iraq Caucus indicated that the OIC might also consider voting against the rule. A progressive/OIC vote against the rule would not ultimately prevent the funding bill from coming to the floor, but it could force a vote on the Lee amendment (to fund only the withdrawal of troops).  Rather than focus on procedures, UFPJ's advocacy focus will continue to focus on our core demand --  Vote NO on the funding.

Erik Leaver, one of our UFPJ Legislative Conveners, has written The Iraq Supplemental, A Three Ring Circus
David Swanson, also a UFPJ Legislative Convener, has written an explanation and alert about the rule

4. A note from Carolyn Eisenberg and Gael Murphy
UFPJ was fortunate to have been able to hire John Bruhns as our legislative coordinator earlier this year.  Due to family circumstances, John has had to step back from his role as our legislative coordinator -- but his passion and determination to work to end the war has not wavered.  He will continue to be involved with our work as well as other anti-war work. We greatly appreciate John's contribution as legislative coordinator and look forward to continuing to work with him.  For the short term, our previous legislative coordinator, Sue Udry will fill in, on a part-time basis until the war funding fight ends.

5. Save-the-Date: Peace Action Lobby Day July 20-21
UFPJ has not (and has no plans to) host a lobby day this year -- so this is your opportunity to visit DC and talk to your legislators about Iraq, Iran and Nuclear Weapons.  The lobby day is in conjunction with the Peace Action 50th Anniversary Congress

6. UFPJ press release:

Peace Movement: House Leadership Plan to Fund Iraq War
Betrays Constituents

New York, NY -- United for Peace and Justice, the nation's largest coalition of anti-war groups, today expressed anger and incredulity at a proposed $162.6 billion war funding bill the House of Representatives will consider next week. Unlike previous measures, this bill will extend funding for the war and occupation in Iraq through the rest of the Bush presidency and into the beginning of the next president's term, giving him or her "a virtual free hand" for six months.

Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator of UFPJ, today declared, "We are outraged that the Democratic Party leadership is working to give President Bush every penny he has asked for to continue a war they say they oppose. Amazingly, the bill includes $66 billion for fiscal year 2009, giving the next president the opportunity to continue the war with little or no accountability to Congress until next summer. This is an appalling abdication of responsibility."

"We should be clear about what this means," said Cagan. "What Congress is really doing by authorizing this war for another year, is writing a death sentence for hundreds if not thousands of U.S. servicemembers and Iraqis."

"At a time when money is urgently needed in our communities, the new bill would bring the total for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to an unimaginable $860 billion. The possible addition of an amendment that funds worthy programs does not conceal the bottomline on war spending: It is robbing our people and our communities at a time of desperate need," said UFPJ Co-Chair George Martin.

"Across the country, our members are picking up their phones to ask their representatives to oppose continued funding of the war. We have marched, lobbied, sat in offices, protested outside offices and voted for pro-peace candidates. Polls consistently show that over 60% of the people of this country want the troops to come home within a year," said UFPJ Legislative Coordinator Sue Udry. "United for Peace and Justice and other national peace groups are watching this vote, and will make sure voters are reminded this fall who voted to continue the war, and who voted to end it."