APN Chat with US Rep. Bob Filner on Impeachment

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(APN) ATLANTA — “I’m calling to confirm my cosponsorship of H Res 333 to impeach Bush and Cheney,” US Rep. Filner (D-CA) told Atlanta Progressive News in a phone interview.

“These guys have governed with cynicism and complete contempt of the American people from the beginning,” Filner said.

“For political reasons impeachment was taken off the table,” Filner said.

“The latest… to say he’s above the law and he’s not part of the Executive Branch… he’s just gone too far for the average American citizen,” Filner said.

H Res 333 is Articles of Impeachment of Vice President Cheney. President Bush’s impeachment has also been proposed–although not yet through any bill–by several Members of Congress.

Currently, 10 total cosponsors are listed on the Library of Congress website for H Res 333: US Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), plus US Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Albert Wynn (D-MD), so far.

Two additional cosponsors confirmed by APN are US Rep. McDermott (D-WA) and US Rep. Filner (D-CA).

Impeachment activist David Swanson says US Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has also indicated to a source that he wanted to have been a cosponsor but said a clerical error had left his name off the list. Moran has been out of the country and will confirm either way shortly when he returns.

US Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) called for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to put impeachment back on the table, in a press release on his website. He did not specifically state he would cosponsor H Res 333, and actually, his remarks seem to relate more to Bush than Cheney.

Kucinich’s Office did not return a call today seeking confirmation on Moran’s cosponsorship.

US Rep. Filner had been a cosponsor of H Res 635, a former bill in the last Session by US Rep. Conyers (D-OH), to create a Select Committee to investigate possible impeachment offenses by Bush.

So, why did it take him several months to cosponsor H Res 333, when so many of Bush’s offenses cited in H Res 635 would also apply to Cheney?

“I wasn’t focusing on it. Dennis [Kucinich] wasn’t asking people. But it comes into real sharp focus,” Filner said, given current news related to the Vice President.

Filner, Chairman of the US House Committee on Veteran Affairs, said one of the major reasons he cosponsored the bill is because he sees the devastation the Invasion of Iraq has done to our military members.

“We’re killing em off for saving face,” Filner said.

“I’m Chairman of the Veteran Services Committee. In the last four years, the Army has taken in over 20,000 PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome] claims and said: No, you have a personality disorder; therefore, we have no obligation to give health benefits,” Filner said.

“Besides the fact that begs the question of why did we take em in, in the first place,” Filner said, “We take the crime of the war and we add the crime of no benefits.”

“They give you a bill for the signing bonus if you’re injured before your time is completed,” Filner said. In other words, if a person signs with the military and receives a $20,000 bonus, Filner said, but is discharged due to injury before completing the promised amount of time in the contract, then they are told to repay the military.

Filner said it is not likely that most Members of Congress don’t understand the deception employed by Cheney to take the US into Iraq. Rather, a decision not to pursue impeachment is a political one.

“The Party–wrongly in my view–doesn’t want to be seen as ultra-radical. People want us to confront these guys, they’re [Bush and Cheney] literally getting away with murder,” Filner said.

“Impeachment they [Party leaders] think is a fringe idea. We’re too responsible for that. A judgment I think is wrong,” Filner said.

Filner stopped short of saying Pelosi should put impeachment back on the table, though.

Filner said he thought it was getting close to the end of Bush’s term so he thought impeachment proceedings might be a distraction. However, “We should put on the table a much more direct confrontation of the war.”

Filner said there would be a vote next month on Bush’s authority to invade Iraq and another vote the following month on appropriations.

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com

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