United For Peace & Justice, Feb. 20, 2008
THURSDAY, FEB. 21: Join the Massive National "You are NOT a Lap Dog*" Call-In Day!
Call Speaker Pelosi at 202-225-0100 and Majority Leader Hoyer at 202-225-4131. If you don't get through to an actual person, leave a voicemail message.
In a surprising display of courage, the House Democratic leadership last week stood up to Bush and the weak-kneed Senate and refused to bring to the floor a bill that would allow Bush to continue to spy on the people of this country without a warrant. Can this newfound courage last?
We need Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to continue to stand strong against domestic spying and telecom immunity. And we need them to learn from this -- they do have power if they choose to use it -- they do have the power to end the occupation of Iraq. Pelosi and Hoyer can start by refusing to allow Bush's $102 billion Iraq war funding request to come up for a vote.
1. Thank you for standing up to the president and the Senate and refusing to allow a vote on the Senate bill letting Bush continue warrantless wiretapping of people in this country and granting immunity to telecom companies who facilitated illegal wiretaps.
2. Please continue to stand up for the Constitution and refuse to allow a vote on a bill that would condone warrantless spying on us or immunity for telephone companies that break the law!
3. Stay strong! Refuse to allow a vote on Bush's new $102 billion Iraq war funding request. If Democrats want to end the occupation, they must take the first step and stop funding it.
We must stay strong as well. UFPJ member groups and allies around the country are currently mobilizing for a wide range of powerful actions marking the 5th anniversary of the war and occupation in Iraq. Join us in March to say, 5 YEARS TOO MANY!
* "We're not the lap dog of the president or the United States Senate." --Rep Hoyer on Feb. 13, when the House leadership refused to bow to political pressure on FISA legislation.
Early last week, the Senate passed FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) reform legislation that trampled civil liberties and offered immunity to telecoms that facilitated illegal wiretaps. The president and the Senate wanted the House to quickly pass the Senate bill, because the act it was written to replace was due to expire on Feb. 15. The House stood up to Bush and the Senate and allowed the "Protect America Act" to expire, without passing the replacement bill. The fear-mongering has not stopped, with Bush claiming that terrorists are planning an attack that will far surpass 9/11, and he will be helpless to stop them without the ability to spy on us without a warrant.
Unfortunately, the battle over domestic spying and telecom immunity is not over. The House will return to the subject next week. The leadership must be assured that they did the right thing by refusing to bow to pressure and fear mongering, and that they must continue to defend the Constitution.
The battle over FISA teaches an important lesson about congressional power -- the Democrats have it, if they care to use it. Pelosi and Hoyer have demonstrated that they are willing to go to the mat over domestic spying and telecom immunity -- now we want to see them go to the mat to end the occupation of Iraq.
Bush has requested another $102 billion for Iraq -- which would push total spending on the war so far above $624 billion. Rep. Murtha, Chair of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, is preparing a bill to fund that request. He says the bill will be ready by the end of February. The peace movement will have to wage a strong campaign to defeat the war supplemental, or to turn it into a bill that only funds the withdrawal of all troops and contractors. It won't be easy -- the presidential elections are capturing the attention of activists and the general public. We must keep the pressure on!