US Common Sense Budget Amendment Gets 81 Yes Votes in House

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(APN) ATLANTA — US Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s (D-CA) amendment to the US House Fiscal Year 2008 Budget received 81 yes votes on March 29, 2007, a big step forward for the proposal, Atlanta Progressive News has learned. US Reps. John Lewis (D-GA) and Hank Johnson (D-GA) joined Woolsey and 78 others in voting “aye.”

The amendment, in the nature of a substitute to the Budget bill which came out of Committee, would have essentially replaced the proposed Budget with the Common Sense Budget Act.

The Common Sense Budget Act (CSBA), as reported in Atlanta Progressive News a few months back, would take 15% from the Pentagon and give it to domestic programs.

“The federal budget is more than a blinding series of numbers, charts, and tables. It is an expression of our national values,” Woolsey said in a press release on her website.

The amendment, according to its text, “projects enactment of the Common Sense Budget Act, which would save at least $60 billion per year on largely obsolete Cold War weapons systems plus tens of billions more in waste, fraud, and abuse in DOD spending identified by the nonpartisan Government Accounting Office (GAO).”

“It repeals the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of taxpayers and cracks down on corporate welfare by eliminating certain tax breaks and corporate loopholes,” the bill continues.

“It provides funding for immediate, cost-effective steps to redress global warming and the rapid acceleration of renewable energy development. It fully funds NCLB and IDEA to improve Teacher Corps and job training. It also fully funds the S-CHIP program to ensure every American child eligible is covered for basic health insurance. It ensures whatever federal funding is needed to provide health care (including mental health care) for all American veterans (including but not limited to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan military operations),” the bill continues.

“Finally, the substitute increases funding for Community Development Block Grants, Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction, community policing, and priority clean-up of leaking underground storage tanks that threaten the drinking water of nearly half of all Americans,” the bill states.

US Rep. Woolsey introduced the CSBA as its own bill in the last, or 109th, Congressional Session as HR 4898. At the end of the 109th Session, the bill had 39 total cosponsors including Georgia’s US Reps. Cynthia McKinney and John Lewis (D-GA).

US Rep. Woolsey just reintroduced the bill again this Session, as HR 1702, and it already has 23 total cosponsors, 16 less than last year; however, it is likely many of last year’s supporters have not signed on again due to an oversight. US Rep. Lewis is not listed as a cosponsor this year.

Locally, Atlanta Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) have been promoting the CSBA through skits involving disproportionate stacks of Oreo cookies to show the skewed priorities of the current federal budget.

According to WAND’s skit… “Let’s say one cookie equals 10 billion dollars. The Pentagon’s annual budget is 44 cookies or 442 Billion. So how much do you think we spend on this other stuff?”

“K-12 Schools — 3 ½ cookies.

“World Hunger — 1 cookie

“Alternative Energy – ¼ cookie

“Children’s Health care — 4 cookies

“Head Start — ¾ cookie.”

Several months ago, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream cofounder Ben Cohen visited the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda Meeting to make his Oreo presentation and educate local advocates about the bill.

“The two-pronged legislation cancels weapons programs developed for Cold War era conflicts, such as excessive nuclear weapons, the unproven ballistic missile defense system, and the controversial F-22 fighter jet, and redirects the $60 billion dollar savings to other top-priority programs facing funding shortfalls,” according to a press release obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.

“We need to overturn the notion that pouring money into weapons systems that were designed to fight the Soviet Union makes our nation safer, especially when it means shortchanging the kind of preventive security solutions that are critical to combating global terrorism,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, according to the press release.

According to Woolsey’s press release, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) recently adopted their own set of budget recommendations, and those recommendations were grounded in the principles of the CSBA.

About the author:

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

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This article may be reprinted in full at no cost where Atlanta Progressive News is credited.

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