Council for a Livable World praises Senate moving forward on Iraq

Washington, D.C. – The Council for a Livable World today praised Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) brave decision to move forward with Senate debate on President Bush’s escalation in Iraq despite weeks of obstructionist stalling by Senate Republicans. Debate is expected to take place Friday or Saturday.

“Democrats are determined to give our troops and the American people the debate they deserve, so the Senate will have another Iraq vote this Saturday. We will move for a clear up or down vote on the House resolution which simply calls on Congress to support the troops and opposes the escalation,� Reid announced Thursday.

The Senate will consider S. 574, a bill identical to the resolution (H.Con.Res. 63) currently being debated in the House that will be voted on Friday and is expected to attract support from a significant number of Republicans.

“This bipartisan condemnation of President Bush’s ill-advised policy will be an excellent momentum-builder for tougher battles coming up soon over budgetary legislation,� said Guy Stevens, Chief Operating Officer of the Council for a Livable World.

Two Republican senators, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, helped break the deadlock in the Senate by vowing to block adjournment for the President’s Day Recess until an “acceptable� deal was reached on Iraq. Hagel previously labeled the proposed escalation the “most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.�

Sens. John Warner (R-VA) and Carl Levin (D-MI) originally introduced a resolution (S. 470) that was stalled by a small cadre of Senate Republicans last week. The Warner-Levin legislation, which opposes cutting off funding for U.S. troops in Iraq, could still be offered as an amendment to the simple, 97-word House resolution. Warner hasn’t decided yet whether to support the House measure and has threatened to block it in order to get his own bill considered.

John Isaacs, Executive Director of the Council for a Livable World, urged opponents of the war to strongly endorse S. 574.

“Anti-war activists had qualms about supporting the previous Warner-Levin bill because it opposed cutting off funding. The House resolution contains no such language and thus needs our enthusiastic support in order to attract the largest number of Senate Republicans possible,� Isaacs said.

Budget battles are up the week after next when Congress returns from the President’s Day Recess. The Supplemental Appropriations, Defense Appropriations, and Defense Authorization bills present an important opportunity for congressional war critics to place concrete restrictions on the Administration’s conduct of the war in Iraq.

The Council for a Livable World, based in Washington, D.C., works tirelessly to reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security. Founded by Manhattan Project scientist Leo Szilard in 1962, the Council provides Members of Congress with technical information on weapons of mass destruction and operates a Candidate Fund that helps elect candidates who support sensible national security policies.