Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pulling of Iran Language Not So Coincidental

Last night, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the democratic leadership decided to pull language from the Supplemental Appropriations bill which stated that no funds may be authorized for military operations in or related to Iran unless specifically authorized by the Congress.

The move, not so coincidentally, coincides with AIPAC's annual conference, which Ms. Pelosi addressed on March 13, 2007. It also follows Vice President Dick Cheney's address to the AIPAC annual conference on March 12, 2007, during which he pleaded with AIPAC to "reign in anti-war democrats."

Thousands of AIPAC members are in Washington DC for the annual meeting and are lobbying individual lawmakers on the Hill for the rest of today. A priority for the group is to convince Congress to approve tougher sanctions on Iran, which is seen as a growing threat to Israel.

Rep. Pelosi's attempts to appease AIPAC and AIPAC-supported Members of Congress by taking out the language to prevent a military attack on Iran are particularly hypocritical given that in the same breath, she calls the Iraq war a failure. Congressional sources say she is attempting to finesse the move by saying that the language will be placed in some other piece of legislation. However, it is unclear which legislation, who will sponsor and when the vote on it would take place.

House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) may also have had a role in the decision to remove the language. In the 2006 mid-term elections, Hoyer received $34,500 in pro-Israel PAC contributions. (In the 2004 cycle, Pelosi received a mere $20,650 from pro-Israel PACs).

It is deplorable that Congress continues to subject itself to the power of AIPAC's purse. And it is deplorably hypocritical that at the same time the Democratic leadership issues statements saying that "the Bush Administration enjoyed virtually unfettered and unchecked power over our federal government - because one of the most complicit, complacent Congresses in history abdicated its constitutional obligation to conduct oversight," the leadership itself continues to abdicate its war-making authority to the administration.

It's not too late to re-insert the language into the Supplemental Appropriations bill, and the Committee members should do so hastily.

1 comment:

The Dynamic Dane said...

Well, it's really no surprise that the lawmakers who call themselves Democrats are toeing the same line that the Republicans have done for so long. At your suggestion (mentioned at antiwar.com), I wrote my representative in congress to get the text back into the bill. I've included the text of that message here, in case anyone else would like to use it in whole or part.