Washington, D.C. â€“ Council for a Livable World today called for House Democrats to vote â€œYeaâ€� on the Supplemental Appropriations bill scheduled to come up for a vote on Thursday.
â€œDefeat of the Supplemental will hand President Bush the policy and political victory he longs for by enabling the passage of a funding bill with no restrictions or timeline for withdrawal at all,â€� said John Isaacs, Executive Director of Council for a Livable World. â€œThat would be an irresponsible and tragic outcome.â€�
Council for a Livable World has supported the Democratic leadershipâ€™s Supplemental proposal since it was first introduced two weeks ago. MoveOn.org announced on Monday that it would join the Council and also support the Supplemental.
Isaacs further explained: â€œThe Supplemental is the latest in a series of votes that have increased pressure on the Bush administration to end this disastrous conflict. Each action builds on the last, as opponents of the war have attracted more votes to their side. Passage of the Supplemental bill will add to this momentum and build pressure for even stronger votes in the future.â€�
Council for a Livable World sent a letter to progressive House Democrats yesterday sharing their concern that stronger language was not included but urging them to vote â€œYeaâ€� on the Supplemental. The letter is included below.
March 19, 2007
Dear Member of Congress:
We urge you to vote â€œYeaâ€� on the Supplemental Appropriations bill to take legislative action to end the war in Iraq. This legislation is an important step in bringing U.S. troops home.
The Supplemental Appropriations bill is the latest in a series of votes that have increased pressure on the Bush administration to end this disastrous conflict. Each action builds on the last, as opponents of the war have attracted more votes to their side. Passage of the Supplemental Appropriations bill will add to this momentum and build pressure for even stronger votes in the future.
Taken in context, the growing Congressional opposition to the war is dramatic:
In May, 2005 opponents of the war supported an amendment by Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) expressing the sense of Congress that the President should submit a plan for withdrawal from Iraq. That proposal attracted 128 votes in support of their position and pioneered the opposition to the war. In June, 2006 opponents of the war opposed a resolution by Henry Hyde (R-IL) against setting a withdrawal date. They won 153 votes.
In January, 2007 opponents of the war supported a resolution by Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Tom Lantos (D-Ca) opposing President Bushâ€™s plan to escalate the war. It gained a robust majority of 246 votes, including 17 Republicans.
As Republicans are likely to be nearly unanimously united in opposition to the Supplemental Appropriations bill, it is vital that Iraq war opponents unite in support of the bill. Defeat of the legislation will be interpreted by President Bush and Vice-President Cheney as giving them a free hand to pursue the Iraq war as they wish. They will be able to say that Congress has given them an all clear sign to escalate the conflict. In practical terms, they will deny the import of the Pentagon report that Iraq is now engaged in a full scale civil war. Passage of the Supplemental Appropriation, on the other hand, will pave the way even stronger legislation in the coming months.
The Supplemental Appropriations legislation is part of an ongoing process that will lead to Congress helping bring the war to an end. Those progressive legislators who have taken strong positions against the war have helped bring us to the next step in ending the war. The Supplemental Appropriations bill mandates withdrawal beginning within a year, and sooner if advances towards peace and Iraqi responsibility are not achieved.
The alternative to passing the Supplemental is not the passage of legislation with a tighter timeline. Rather, defeat of the Supplemental will hand President Bush the policy and political victory he longs for by enabling the passage of a funding bill with no restrictions or timeline for withdrawal at all. That would be an irresponsible and tragic outcome.
Like many progressives, we were disappointed that language barring an attack on Iran without prior congressional approval was not included in the Supplemental. However, there will be other opportunities to promote such legislation and to put other safeguards against dangerous provocations by the Bush administration in place. We believe that even without this language, the Supplemental is a powerful rebuke of President Bushâ€™s policies in the Middle East.
Passage of the Supplemental Appropriations bill is a vital step in a sustained strategy to end the war. This strategy has successfully built momentum against the war. We urge you to vote â€œYeaâ€� on the Supplemental Appropriations bill.
John Isaacs Guy Stevens
Executive Director Chief Operating Officer
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.