Johnson, Lewis, Scott Vow No More Iraq Funding

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(APN) ATLANTA — US Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA), John Lewis (D-GA), and David Scott (D-GA) have each signed on a new letter, joining 67 others Members of Congress in promising they will not support any more funds for the US occupation of Iraq, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

“Mr. President… We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for US military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office,” the Congress Members wrote in a letter dated July 20, 2007.

US Rep. Lewis has been one of only a few Members of Congress to not support any appropriations for the US occupation of Iraq, this Congressional Session.

“Tonight I must make it plain and clear that as a human being, as a citizen of the world, as a citizen of America, as a Member of Congress, as an individual committed to a world at peace with itself, I will not and I cannot in good conscience vote for another dollar or another dime to support this war,” Lewis said in his floor remarks during a March 2007 debate.

For US Reps. Johnson and Scott–and dozens of other Members nationwide–this is a very big step. Both Members are likely to face progressive challengers in the 2008 Election.

Both Johnson and Scott, as well as US Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), voted yes on HR 1591, the bill calling for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in 2008. This deadline was not soon enough for Mr. Lewis, who voted no. The bill passed with a slim coalition of Democrats, 218-212, on March 26, 2007.

The other Georgia Democrats in the delegation, US Reps. John Barrow (D-GA) and Jim Marshall (D-GA), also voted no on HR 1591; however their no’s are considered to be reflective of their desire not to have withdrawal timetables at all.

President George Bush vetoed HR 1591 on May 1, 2007, and Democrats in Congress caved in, later sending a new bill back to the President with no timetables.

That bill, HR 2206, passed Congress 221-205, and later became public law. Mr. Lewis voted no on this bill. All other Georgia Democrats voted yes, though, including Bishop, Johnson, and Scott, as well as Barrow and Marshall who have been opposed to timetables for withdrawal.

The Members of Congress who voted no on HR 2206, for not having a timetable, were US Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Mike McNulty (D-NY), Mike Michaud (D-ME), Pete Stark (D-CA), John Tanner (D-TN), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Diane Watson (D-CA), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

The Members who had voted no on HR 1591 for the reasons of the timetable being not soon enough, were US Reps. Kucinich, Lee, Lewis, McNulty, Michaud, Waters, Watson, and Woolsey.

Thus, the letter sent to President Bush today signifies growth from 8 Democrats opposed to further funding in March 2007, to 10 in May 2007, to at least 70 in July 2007.

As a result, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will no longer be able to count on support of Democratic Members to be sufficient to continue to fund the US occupation of Iraq. If she chooses to continue supporting bills to continue such funding, it will have to be with significant Republican support.

The support of Johnson, Lewis, and Scott in Georgia is significant, because this means 25% of Georgia’s Congressional delegation is now opposed to said funding, in fact a proportionally high number in comparison to other US states.

About the author:

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

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