This year has been a trying one for those of us who want Congress to take concrete action to end the war. In dealing with various factions within the House and Senate, legislative compromises have been made that represent positive steps toward ending the war, but not the kind of strong action needed to bring our troops home. At Peace Action West, we have worked to develop a strategy that recognizes the realities in Congress but also stays true to our goal of withdrawing ALL troops from Iraq as soon as possible. This same struggle can be seen with some of our allies in Congress who have been at the forefront of the movement within Congress to end the war. Representatives Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters released this statement Tuesday about the $50 billion bridge fund Congress will vote on this week:
Since July of this year, 92 members of Congress have written to the President to put him on notice that we will only authorize funding for Iraq that is used to fully fund the safe and orderly redeployment of our troops from Iraq. And over the past week, members of the Progressive and Out of Iraq Caucuses have met with our party’s leadership, and we have insisted that any potential funding for Iraq must be incorporated in a redeployment bill, not one that continues to fund the President’s occupation. Today, with this legislation, we are seeing the results of our efforts.
While this bill is not perfect, it is the strongest Iraq bill to date. This is the first time that this Congress has put forth a bill that ties funding to the responsible redeployment of our troops, and it also includes language mandating a start date for the President to begin the redeployment of our brave men and women.
While we remain disappointed by the end date being a goal no later than December 2008, we see this as legislation that the Senate can and should pass.
This is a concrete step in the right direction, and an important marker for this Congress to lay down.
We agree that while this bill is not as strong as we would like it to be, it does represent progress, and Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid have been employing the kind of strategy we have been pushing for a long time—if Bush vetoes funding for the war that includes a timeline, then he won’t receive any money. Click here to call your representative and senators to urge them to only support funding for the war if it is used to bring our troops home.
The House passed the "bridge fund" bill last night, by a vote of 218-203. Four Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill. The Senate could vote as early as today, so call your senators and urge them to support funding only for withdrawal of troops from Iraq.