Eye On Congress
This week the House voted 399 to 24 to extend the ban on the U.S.
building permanent bases in Iraq past the end of September 2007.
Although this measure by itself will not stop the war or the president's plans for a long-term military presence in Iraq, the House action is another demonstration that members of Congress are concerned about the direction of U.S. policy in Iraq.
The Senate should be debating the Defense Appropriations Bill at any time.
Here are some highlights. Many of these are Cold War Weapons, which is a good subject for letters to the editor:
Future Combat Systems (FCS) Fully funds the Administration's $3.6 billion request for Future Combat Systems, an advanced collection of armored vehicles, robots, and aerial drones connected through a sophisticated battle command network. The House cut $867 million from FCS in its version of the authorization bill.
The Senate has taken a first step toward banning the export of cluster bombs, a weapon with a particularly deadly record of killing and maiming civilians. Just before the July 4 recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee added a provision banning cluster bomb exports to the bill funding the State Department.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the Reliable Replacement Weapon during the week of June 25.
The House Appropriations Committee has already voted to zero out funding for the RRW. The Committee said that, almost two decades after the end of the Cold War, the United States does not have a plausible nuclear strategy and essentially put a freeze on long-term spending until we develop one.
Imagine that U.S. diplomats are meeting regularly with Iranians and Syrians, that the U.S. continues to prohibit the Pentagon from establishing permanent military bases in the Iraq, that the bulk of U.S. combat troops are out of Iraq, and that Washington is supporting efforts to negotiate a ceasefire between the Iraqi government and violent, anti-U.S. insurgent groups. Problems still remain, but the U.S. has turned onto the pathway out of Iraq. Violence is decreasing.
We would have a radical departure from the U.S. war.
The White House press secretary announced this week that President Bush wants to establish a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq similar to the half-century long U.S. military role in South Korea. This public acknowledgement confirms what we at FCNL have long suspected: President Bush wants to establish a permanent military presence in Iraq.
Members of Congress have failed to respond to the public demand for a change in policy in Iraq. They are about to approve, and the president will sign, legislation providing nearly $100 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without insisting on a change in policy.
Congress has capitulated to the stubborn demands of President Bush just as they were beginning to take steps to correct the failed U.S.
strategy in Iraq.
America is faced with the prospect of a second arms race. Complex 2030 is the Department of Energy¹s (DOE) plan to rebuild the nuclear weapons complex in order to perpetuate nuclear warhead production indefinitely. The Kansas City Plant makes 85% of the components for all nuclear weapons and will be a major contributor in building any proposed new warheads. DOE has jumped the gun by planning to rebuild the Kansas City Plant before an informed public debate on the future of U.S. weapons policy.Currently the General Services Administration (GSA) is conducting a simple, stand alone Envir
A majority in Congress still hasn't gotten the message that it's time to end the war in Iraq. Yesterday, the House rejected legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. military troops from Iraq and then approved nearly $100 billion in additional funding for war.
The Senate still needs to act, but we at FCNL anticipate that the final supplemental spending bill will fund the same failed war policy without substantially altering the course of the war.
House Armed Services Com. Blocks funding of RRW and nuclear weapons news from Sunflowers news letter
FCNL's year-long campaign to block the Bush administration plan to develop the first new nuclear weapons in nearly two decades had its first success . This week, a key subcommittee of the House Armed Service Committee zeroed out funding for the new nuclear bomb plant intended as a first step toward a $150 billion project to rebuild the nation's nuclear arsenal. Read more here
The American Association for the Advancement of Science issued a report this past month, stating that US nuclear policy needed to be reexamined before going forward with the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program.
The report, which was written by a high-level panel that included former directors from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was highly critical of the proposed RRW. The administration has argued that the RRW program would allow the US to cut the size of the nuclear stockpile while ensuring security and reducing cost. The report concluded that the cost savings might never occur with the RRW and those improvements in reliability and security would only be integrated into later RRW models. The report also said that building new nuclear weapons could start an international arms race.
The United States should be dismantling nuclear weapons, not building new ones. But instead, Congress will be voting soon on whether to approve the Bush Administration's latest request to pursue a new generation of nuclear weapons. Don't let the administration further devastate our nation by building a new, unneeded arsenal of civilization-shattering nuclear weapons. Please call your Senators and Representative to ask them to vote "no" on funding a new generation of nuclear weapons.
Representative Lynn Woolsey has reintroduced her Resolution (H.Res. 68)
calling for the global abolition of nuclear weapons, support for the NPT,
ratification of the CTBT, and an end to missile defense and the
weaponization of space. Dear Colleague letters were sent on March 12,19
and 27. So far the co-sponsors are Rep. Tammy Baldwin WI-2, Rep.Raul
Grijalva AZ-7, Rep.Dennis Kucinich OH-10, Rep. James McGovern MA-3,
Rep.Janice Scakowsky IL-9 and Rep Fortney Pete Stark CA-13.
The Democratic leadership claims the $125 billion supplemental is the
way to end the war. Aside from setting a date for bringing home troops,
the bill includes a number of items many in the peace movement would
ordinarily support - veterans' health benefits, Katrina survivors'
assistance, children's health insurance...So what's the problem with the supplemental? Why aren't peace activists
Because it gives President Bush another $100 billion to continue the