House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is in the midst of 17 hours of floor debate on the Bush-Gephardt War Resolution – H.J. Res. 114. That debate is expected to end sometime tomorrow. There will then be one hour of debate each on an amendment introduced by Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) and an amendment introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).
The BUSH-GEPHARDT WAR RESOLUTION gives President Bush a blank check to skirt the Constitutional authority of Congress to declare war, and allows the President to act in violation of U.S. and International Law. IT CONSITUTES A CONGRESSIONAL ADOPTION OF THE BUSH PRE-EMPTION DOCTRINE. Urge your Representative to vote “No” on H.J. Res. 114.
The LEE AMENDMENT would urge the President to work “through the United Nations to seek to resolve the matter of ensuring that Iraq is not developing weapons of mass destruction…” through peaceful mechanism. It is important that we secure as many votes as possible for this amendment. Even Representatives who do not agree with our position should still vote for the Lee Amendment because it upholds the rule of law and supports the United Nations as the proper vehicle for securing a peaceful resolution to the Iraq crisis.
The SPRATT AMENDMENT will also reach the floor of the House and be debated tomorrow. This amendment to the Bush-Gephardt war resolution is the most important vote in the House against President Bush. Although it authorizes the use of United States armed forces, it does so ONLY pursuant to any UN Security Council resolution that provides for the elimination of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and ballistic missiles with ranges exceeding 150 kilometers, and the means of producing such weapons and missiles. The Spratt amendment would mandate A SECOND VOTE IN CONGRESS, following the failure of the UN Security Council to adopt such as resolution, AND failure of the Council to sanction the use of force to compel Iraq’s compliance. THIS SECOND VOTE IN CONGRESS WOULD BE REQUIRED BEFORE THE PRESIDENT COULD USE MILITARY FORCE.
The Spratt Amendment is being supported by an increasing number of House liberals and moderates alike who see it as the BEST CHANCE WE HAVE TO STOP BUSH. Therefore, any support for the Spratt amendment would be important. This amendment is certainly not perfect, but we need to secure as many votes as we can for Spratt to show the breadth of doubt and opposition to the peremptory approach of the president embodied in H.J.Res. 114.
A MOTION TO RECOMMIT — At this writing it appears that those opposed to the Bush Resolution will have the opportunity to offer a Motion to Recommit. A “Yes” vote on the motion would send the President’s resolution back to the committee of jurisdiction to ensure that Bush cannot go to war until he answers fundamental questions about long-term costs and consequences of an Iraq war to the U.S. economy and the stability of the Middle East. The point of this motion is to require the President to give Congress and the American people the answers they are demanding. (See previously distributed alert on “President Fails to Answer Basic Questions About Iraq War”).
Contact your Representatives and ask them to vote YES to the LEE and SPRATT AMENDMENTS and vote NO to the Bush-Gephardt War Resolution – H.J. Res. 114.