It’s still not clear how they’ll try to do it, but it is clear that our pressure is being felt.
The House majority whip asked Democrats how they would vote on the war escalation funding alone and on it in combination with useful, sane legislation. It appears likely that more than 40 Democrats said they would vote No in either case. If so, that’s an accomplishment to take into consideration and build on, even if the Democratic leadership manages to pass the war funding.
On Tuesday they brought unemployment insurance up for a vote in a stand alone bill on no notice. They did so in a way that required a two-thirds vote, and they fell short. But they can bring it up in a way that requires a simple majority and pass it. House Majority Leader Hoyer has it on the schedule as a possibility for Wednesday. They can bring everything up as stand-alone bills, and maybe they will.
But at least one congressional staffer claims that they can hold separate votes on two parts of one bill, the war escalation funding on the one hand, the disaster relief and other sensible things on the other, and pass the bill without ever voting on it in its entirety. Possibly what he means is that they can pass one part and then vote on the other as an amendment to the first. If they do this, and the Republicans play along, then the war escalation funding will likely pass with mostly Republican votes, and anything else will likely pass with mostly Democratic votes. We won’t have won a vote for peace on the floor, but that was never terribly likely. They count heads before they move. Our most likely success was always what we’re looking at: forcing them to separate the pig from the lipstick.
But how close can we come to voting down the pig in a clean vote? We won’t know until we try. We’ve got more than 40 Democrats, but how many more? and how many Republicans? Will enough of them vote No, assuming easy passage, to actually put passage into doubt? Those who vote Yes with no lipstick and no excuses will be prime targets for voting out of office in November (yes, even if they’re replaced with someone even worse, because you can’t get much worse than this).
Back in April we held a forum to persuade Congressman Bill Delahunt to vote against war funding. Well, it and the endless pressure from his constituents, or something, finally worked, as today he announced: Delahunt To Oppose War Funding. Of course, it may turn out that Delahunt announced this upon learning that the war money would be passed in a clean vote with primarily Republican votes. In other words, this could be yet another case of voting No as soon as you’ve been assured that the Yes votes will prevail. If so, that would still be more than Delahunt would have done on his own. And now he’s on record opposing any more war funding in this vote or future ones, as are a growing number of his colleagues who are not retiring (he is). And the leadership has been forced to continue Republican wars with Republican votes.
The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice if we push hard enough.
House GOP Leader John Boehner today said that we should raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 in order to pay for wars. I asked someone in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office whether she disagreed with this beyond not liking to say it out loud. No comment.
Call your Representative through the Capitol Hill switchboard: (202) 224-3121 and Email 21 key members with one click.
Now’s the time to get them on record opposing any more funding for these wars ever.
Report on your progress at http://defundwar.org
Peace of the Action
Washington, D.C., July 4-17
Brown Bag Lunch Vigils
Everywhere, third Wednesday of every month
National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now
Albany, July 23-25
PDA Grassroots Leadership Conference
Cleveland, July 23-25
Veterans for Peace National Convention
Portland, Maine, August 25-29