Hinchey, Feingold Introduce Bills to Censure Bush, Cheney, Gonzales


(APN) ATLANTA — As promised, US Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) and US Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) have introduced matching censure resolutions this week in the Senate and House, respectively, concerning misconduct leading up to and during the US invasion of Iraq, as well as disregard for the rule of law.

The Democratic lawmakers introduced the resolutions in order to hold the Administration “accountable for its blatant misconduct regarding Iraq and its attack on the rule of law,” Feingold said in a press release obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.

“These censure resolutions will let future generations know Congress stood up to the destructive policies of this administration that have weakened our national security, cost more than 3,600 American lives, and undermined the principles on which our country was founded,” Feingold said.

Feingold’s bill, S Res 302, regarding Iraq, has one current cosponsor, US Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). S Res 303, regarding the rule of law, has two cosponsors, including US Sen. Boxer as well as US Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).

Feingold also had sponsored a censure bill in the previous Congressional Session, S Res 398, which had three co-sponsors: Boxer, Harkin, and later US Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). It is unclear why Feingold waited eight months into the current Session to reintroduce a censure bill.

Hinchey’s bills, H Res 625 and H Res 626, have identical sets of 19 original cosponsors.

Those cosponsors are US Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Danny Davis (D-IL), Sam Farr (D-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), John Hall (D-NY), Michael Honda (D-CA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney ( D-NY), James Moran (D-VA), Ed Pastor (D-AZ), Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Carol Shea Porter (D-NH), and Diane Watson (D-CA).

“The Bush administration has placed an extraordinary burden on this and future generations to recover from the damage done to our Constitution and national security,” Hinchey said.

“From misleading this country into invading Iraq to establishing a warrantless domestic spy program, this White House has continuously misled and deceived the American people while disregarding the rule of law that guides our democracy,” he added.

S Res 302 and H Res 625 condemn President Bush and Vice President Cheney for the following actions: misleading the nation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime and about Saddam’s links to al Qaeda and 9/11, inadequate planning for military action in Iraq, over-straining the military and undermining homeland security, and misleading the nation about the strength of the insurgency.

S Res 303 and H Res 626 condemn the President and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for the following: Authorizing the illegal NSA warrantless wiretapping program; pursuing extreme policies concerning torture and the treatment of detainees; detaining enemy combatants indefinitely without charges, access to a lawyer, or habeas rights; unilaterally authorizing flawed military commissions that were subsequently struck down by the Supreme Court of the US; misleading US Congress and the public about, and obstructing investigations into, the firings of US Attorneys; making misleading statements regarding civil liberties abuses under the Patriot Act; and undermining acts of Congress with signing statements based on extreme theories of executive power.

“Congress cannot stay silent when the American people are demanding this administration be held accountable for its blatant misconduct regarding Iraq and its attack on the rule of law,” Feingold said.

“While it will take time to get our country back on the right track, we in Congress can act now by passing these censure resolutions to hold the White House accountable and to let the historical record show an equal branch of government found the actions of this administration undeniably reprehensible,” Hinchey said.

Hinchey and Feingold are continuing to gather support for the resolutions and no date for a vote has been set.

Feingold’s bills have been referred to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary, respectively.

Hinchey’s bills, on the other hand, were both referred to the US House Committee on the Judiciary.

Some activists felt that censure was inadequate to address the alleged crimes of the Bush Administration.

“What… is wrong with this picture? The entire Congress is almost as a whole sitting back and watching all of this… play out and are doing almost nothing about it,” Lindsey Tackett wrote in an email to Atlanta Progressive News.

“Both sides of the aisle are now shown to be complicit, and always have been complicit, in the destruction of our once prosperous nation… This never could have happened if both sides were not involved.”

About the author:

Jonathan Springston is a Senior Staff Writer for The Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at jonathan@atlantaprogressivenews.com

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