War Escalation Funding Fight This Week
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who will openly tell you he does whatever President Obama and Speaker Pelosi instruct, can bring the war escalation funding to the House floor despite the opposition of Appropriations Chairman David Obey. This is because the House passed the bill without the war escalation funding and sent it to the Senate, which has now sent it back to the House.
The current plan is to pass a single bill that includes both the war money and some lipstick (disaster relief, etc.). This will require keeping the lipstick thin enough to win some Republican votes and slathering it on thick enough to win a lot of Democratic votes (which can also be won through campaign funding, earmarks, committee positions, PR stunts, etc.).
One trick that will apparrently be used to win Democrats' support is the inclusion of extra, meaningless votes, just for show, on the two components of the bill. They'll vote on the war escalation funding, and lots of Democrats will vote No. And they'll vote on the disaster relief, etc., and lots of Republicans will vote No. Both elements will pass, but nothing will have been done. Then they'll hold a meaningful vote on the whole bill, and lots of the Democrats who just moments before pretended to oppose war escalation will vote for the bill that funds it.
This can only work if Nancy Pelosi is correct in her belief that we're all a bunch of morons.
You'll be told that they've scaled back the war funding. What they've just done is remove the few crumbs that were intended for potentially useful civilian aid in Afghanistan ( http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/53558 ). Meanwhile they've increased the military funding, which is all for escalating the war and therefore cannot plausible be squeezed into the same sentence with "scaled back."
You'll be told that separate votes were held and that your representative opposed the war funding. This is nonsense. The only way to oppose war funding is to try to stop it, which means voting against it no matter what else is included.
Call your Representative through the Capitol Hill switchboard: (202) 224-3121 and send them an Email here:
They've just been asked by the House Majority Whip how they will vote in the pretend vote on the war funding alone and how they will vote on the actual bill with everything that's in it. Demand to know what answers they gave. Report those answers at http://defundwar.org
If we can stop this thing through Thursday, we'll have a break over which to continue building opposition, a break during which more news (always bad) will keep coming in from Afghanistan, a July 4th break during which we will celebrate opposition to another foreign occupation.