Abayomi Azikiwe, left, editor of the Pan-African News Wire and Rev. Ed Rowe, Pastor of Central United Methodist Church at downtown Detroit MLK Day Rally on January 15, 2007. (Photo: Robert Akrawi).
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
PANW Editor's Note: Detroit will send a delegation to the Sept. 29 march on washington against the war. The trip is organized by the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI). For information on bus tickets to travel to Washington D.C. contact MECAWI at (313) 680-5508, e-mail: email@example.com, or log on to the following URL: http://www.mecawi
End the War - Keep War Funding Off The Floor!
What if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refused to present a bill on the floor of Congress to fund the criminal U.S. occupation of Iraq? The possibility of a Bush veto would not be an issue.
Although there are billions of dollars still in the pipeline, Bush and the Pentagon, faced with a new political reality, would be forced to begin making plans for withdrawal.
As Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has full control over which pieces of legislation make it onto the floor of House to be voted on. The Democratic Party majority in Congress could just sit on any war spending bill and there would be no funds for the war
Funding for war in Iraq could be stopped at any number of steps in either the House or Senate.
According to the U.S. constitution spending bills have to originate in the House of Representatives. Congress has control over executive branch by having decisive control of funds for war.
Not only does the Speaker of the House control the legislation put on the floor for a vote, the Democrats, as the majority party, currently control the chair of all committees in both houses of congress. The Appropriations Committee could also just not bring the funding bill out of committee.
As the new majority Speaker of the House, one of Nancy Pelosi’s first acts was to declare that Impeachment proceedings against President Bush were ‘off the table’. This meant she would refuse to allow this burning issue to come to the floor of House. If instead as House Speaker, Pelosi were to declare that war funding is ‘off the table’, funding for war would not be possible.
When millions of people voted for Democratic Party politicians, who claimed to be anti-war last November, this is exactly the kinds of legislative actions they expected a Democratic, supposedly anti-war majority in Congress to take.
It is important to confront the direct fraud that the Democratic majority in Congress is putting forth in their complicity on voting to fund the war.
Even though they control the majority in both houses even since election they have given endless excuses about how they do not have the votes to do what they promised to do.
The Democrats claim that because they do not have a 2/3 majority they are powerless to over rule Bush's veto on the war funding. So they must pass a bill that Bush would approve. They could simply refuse to present a bill for ANY war funding.
They clearly have the Constitutional authority, the legislative power and political mandate.
But it will take a massive determined, angry and independent movement to force the conciliatory Democratic majority in Congress to put Impeachment on the table and take war funding off the table.
The Democrats with endless help from the corporate media have presented a hand wringing theatrical fraud about their lack of sufficient votes to take any action against the war.
Spending bills originates in House Appropriations Committee. Dave Obey (D Wisc). Obey could also simple refuse to move funding for the war out of committee. This is the fate of many hundreds of bills introduced into Congress each your. Most bills ‘die in committee’.
The Appropriations Committee has a Sub-committee on Defense chaired by John Murfa (D-PA), who says he wants to bring troops home He could do this by refusing to bring forward funding for the war.
At every stage Congress could act to stop funding the war.
After a funding bill is approved in the House of Representatives it moves to the Senate. Senator Robert Byrd, D-VA, head of the Senate Appropriations committee and so eloquently opposed to war could just refuse to move the bill thru the Senate Appropriations Committee. Harry Reid, Senate Majority leader could refuse to bring a bill to the Senate floor. Any of these measures would also ‘kill’ the multi-billion dollar war funding bill.
There would be no need to have a 60% majority to stop a Republican filibuster nor would the supposed anti-war Democrats need a 2/3 majority to overcome a presidential veto.
To further justify their collaboration on the war, members of Congress use their supposed concern for U.S. troops as a human shield. They are hiding behind soldiers and the threat that if they cut off funds U.S. soldiers would wake up tomorrow and not have food, water, even have funds to pull out.
This is also a fraud. The Pentagon does not live pay check to paycheck like working people do. The budget and supply process is decided months and years in advance. There is a long supply chain – planning and allocation are known many months in advance.
The Pentagon is using the funds for Iraq war to plan and prepare new wars against Iran. Half the U.S. navy has moved to within striking range of Iran. More than 10,000 sites have been targeted by Pentagon planners.
Congress and media know the determination of corporate America is to stay in Iraq for a generation or more.
As Congress again votes before the October 1 deadline to continue the war a political challenge is being prepared by the Troops Out Now Coalition. The greatest contribution of the Encampment scheduled to take place directly in front of Congress from Sept 22 to 29 is to show the kind of independent mass action that is needed to really end the war. Learning through bitter experience about the role of both capitalist parties is an essential part of the struggle to end the war.