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New Congressional Caucus With A Nice Ring: Out Of Afghanistan

Posted by DownWithTyranny on May 22nd, 2010

From our partners at DownWithTyranny!

Congress has all kinds of funky caucuses, scores of them– and not just the big famous ones like the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Blue Dog Caucus, but even groups like the Addiction Caucus, the Azerbaijan Caucus, the Bourbon Caucus, the Physics Caucus, the Minor League Baseball Caucus, the Landscape Caucus, the Zoo and Aquarium Caucus, the Flat Tax Caucus and the Friends of Switzerland Caucus. According to Wikipedia, “A congressional caucus is a group of members of the United States Congress that meets to pursue common legislative objectives… The most common caucuses consist of members united as an interest group. These are often bipartisan (comprising both Democrats and Republicans) and bicameral (comprising both Representatives and Senators).” And as of this week, there’s a new one: The Out Of Afghanistan Caucus. This is how Tom Hayden explained it:

Representative John Conyers, frustrated by Congress’s inaction towards the Afghanistan War, is forming a new Out of Afghanistan Caucus to focus Congressional opposition to the continuing conflict. The action came as the death toll for American soldiers crept over the one
thousand mark and conservative estimates place the cost of Afghanistan-Iraq at more than $1 trillion.

According to a House source, the new caucus “creates a channel for members who are united against the war,” after months in which the Congressional Progressive Caucus has not taken an oppositional stance. “There is a lot more conflict among Democratic members who don’t want to oppose the Obama administration or who still believe this can be a humane war,” the source added.

There are seven members so far: John Conyers (D-MI), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Jim Moran (D-VA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Alan Grayson (D-FL). And there’s plenty of room for support– first from among the nearly three dozen Democrats who stood up to Obama on June 16 last year when he continued Bush’s shameful and financially devastating policy of dishonestly funding wars with supplemental budgets (i.e.- borrowing against our grandchildren’s futures). Then there are the 88 co-sponsors of HR 5015, Representative Jim McGovern’s bill that would “require a plan for the safe, orderly, and expeditious redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan.” That group even includes a small handful of conservative Republicans: John Duncan (TN), Timothy Johnson (IL), Walter Jones (NC), and Ron Paul (TX). Three new members signed on this week, Ann Eshoo (D-CA), John Tierney (D-MA) and Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH).

I found this speech from last year about what’s wrong with the occupation of Afghanistan by Alan Grayson very compelling and I just watched it again. I thought you might like to as well– particularly because our country just had it’s deadliest day of the year this week as rebels attacked the main U.S. airbase, Bagram. Keep in mind while you’re watching it that a few days ago Oklahoma conservative, Senator Tom Coburn, said he intends to oppose– right up through filibustering– the Afghan war funding bill if it’s another supplemental like the ones he always voted for when Bush pushed them through. Now he says if the wars aren’t paid they shouldn’t be prosecuted. Most senators don’t agree and in all likelihood a cloture to shut him down would succeed. The best hope for ending this way is in the House, and the chances there are extremely slim until the general public gets activated. Are you activated? Watch Grayson:

LATE BREAKING NEWS: And last night Congressman Grayson introduced the “War Is Making You Poor Act” to limit the amount of funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to eliminate the federal income tax on the first $35,000 of every American’s income ($70,000 for married couples), and to cut the deficit by $15.9 billion. Right off the bat there’s bipartisan support with both progressive Democrats like Dennis Kucinich (OH), Barbara Lee (CA), John Conyers (MI), and Bob Filner (CA) signing on as co-sponsors, as well as conservative Republicans Ron Paul (TX) and Walter Jones (NC). And John Boehner, head of the House Republicans? He opposes it. When he talks about lowering taxes, he means lowering taxes of millionaires, not on the middle class and working families.

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