I had hoped to go to a party for Rep. Barbara Lee on Sunday, but it turned out to be too early in the day for me and we have those pesky Sunday Bobblehead shows to cover. Still, I heard it was a great event. I wanted to thank her because she was the only member of Congress who voted against Bush's war resolution back in 2002. And she explained it this way:
BARBARA LEE: First, our nation is in grieving, we're all mourning, we're angry; there are a range of emotions taking place. Myself personally, I am also grieving and I believe fully and firmly that the Congress of the United States is the only legislative body that can say, "Let's pause for a moment...and let's look at using some restraint before we rush to action." Because military action can lead to an escalation and spiral out of control. So, why I voted no, was one, the president already has the authority to execute a military action. He doesn't need Congress; under the War Powers Act he has that authority. But Congress is the people's house, and the Congress is responsible for providing checks and balances, and you cannot just allow the administration to run ahead with a strategy without reporting back and without having some oversight.
Too bad the rest of Congress didn't see the situation as clearly as she did.
Howie Klein was there and he has some interesting news about her bill to stop the Afghanistan war and how we're supposed to pay for it:
And Thursday, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, she introduced HR 3699, a bill that will prohibit funding any increase in the number of members of the United States Armed Forces in Afghanistan.
Bush funded his wars with supplemental budgets which meant he just printed money-- trillions of dollars-- to pay for them without having to worry about raising taxes (on current voters) or about cutting services directly. One result has been the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Obama campaigned on a promise not use supplemental budgets but to ask Congress for money through established budgetary procedures. That would kick in pay-go and a member of Congress voting for funds to escalate expensive occupations of other countries would have to agree to either raise taxes on his or her constituents-- what do you think Boehner, Cantor, Pence, Ryan and other leading GOP warmongers will think of that?-- or cut back on social programs, a prospect none too attractive to many of the conservative and moderate Democrats who have gone along with Bush's outrageous supplemental budgeting and are thereby complicit in the economic disaster that has ensued.
I really thought "pay-go" was our ace-in-the-hole to stop the war in Afghanistan. Not even a political thug like Rahm Emanuel could bully and bribe enough Democrats and Republicans to go for this, especially not at a point when the war is as increasingly unpopular as it is. If the Senate doesn't kill the legislation that the House passed, it is, in effect, a vote for a war that will last until Obama is voted out of office. Please help Blue America build and strengthen a coalition of anti-war Democrats in Congress by contributing to No Means No.
(Everyone who donates today has their name entered in a drawing to win two items autographed by Al Franken, a copy of the book The Truth... With Jokes and a copy of a rare advance screener for his DVD God Spoke.
Way to go, Rep. Lee.