congress

Put Pentagon Bloat on the Table to Pay for Domestic Infrastructure

The Washington Post claims today that Hillary Clinton won't be able to fulfill her promise to increase domestic infrastructure spending, because House Republicans will insist on cuts elsewhere to pay for it. But that would only be the end of the story if we assumed - as the Washington Post apparently does - that the bloated Pentagon budget is sacrosanct.

Not every House Republican votes in lock-step with the Pentagon. Forty House Republicans - many of them members of the House Liberty Caucus - voted with the overwhelming majority of House Democrats to stop the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Urge Democrats and Republicans in Washington to put cuts to the bloated Pentagon budget on the table to pay for domestic infrastructure spending by signing our petition at MoveOn.

Tell Congress: Break Up the Big Banks!

They may not agree on much. But both Democrats and Republicans included reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act - separating traditional commercial banking from Wall Street financial speculation - in their official party platforms.

"Too big to fail" banks are a threat to our economy. But they're also a threat to our democracy - and not only to our democracy, but to other people's democracies.

For twenty years I've supported efforts to reform U.S. foreign policy at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank - in particular, to stop IMF "bailouts" that transfer bad bets from big banks onto public balance sheets, planning to pay for these bailouts with democracy-smashing "austerity" policies.

It's painfully obvious - after the "Asian financial crisis" in the 1990s, after Argentina, after Greece, after Puerto Rico - that we're never going to have a decent chance to meaningfully reform IMF policies until we break the political power of the big banks. And one of the best ways to start doing that is to break them up.

A yuge coalition of groups, including the AFL-CIO and Daily Kos, is working to do just that. Join us by signing our joint petition.

Congress: Commit U.S. to be #ZeroBy2050

The COP21 international summit on the climate produced a landmark climate agreement with nearly 200 nations as cosignatories. [1] The agreement recognized "that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet" and "that deep reductions in global emissions will be required" to revert climate change and its effects.

It is time for the U.S. to take steps to reduce its carbon emissions. The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) has introduced a resolution that calls for the U.S. to be emission-free by 2050 and details ways for the U.S. to reach that goal. We are joining organizations like the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, CREDO and others in calling for Congress to support this resolution.

Urge members of Congress to cosponsor and support the CPC's bill for the U.S. to be emission-free by 2050 by signing our joint petition:

http://www.signherenow.org/petition/zeroby2050/jfp/

As we've seen in Syria, climate change is a security issue. [2] Outside experts and Pentagon officials agree that droughts and extreme weather caused by climate change can exacerbate existing tensions within a society and increase the risk for war. A more peaceful world will be facilitated by a greener world.

Climate change poses a very real danger to the lives and well-being of every person on the planet, but especially to those in developing countries. The U.S. has a special obligation to take action to eliminate its carbon emissions because it is the second biggest carbon emitter and, thus, bears a larger responsibility to vulnerable communities affected by climate change.

Urge Congress to commit the U.S. to being emission-free by 2050 by signing & sharing our joint petition:

Congress: Debate and Vote Before New Libya War

The Obama administration is drawing up plans to significantly escalate U.S. military action in Libya. Administration officials say the campaign in Libya could begin in a matter of weeks.

Urge Congress to exercise its Constitutional responsibility to debate and vote before U.S. military escalation in Libya by signing our petition at MoveOn:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/congress-debate-vote-before-new-libya-war

This escalation is being planned without a meaningful debate in Congress about the merits and risks of a military campaign, the New York Times notes. Pentagon officials have not made a case that the proposed military action has achievable goals, and airstrikes could lead to a ground war.

If Congress takes no action, endless war will likely be extended to a new country, without time limit, without restrictions on the use of U.S. ground troops, and without any limit on who can be targeted, even if they have never attacked the United States nor shown any public inclination to do so.

Urge Congress to exercise its responsibilities under the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution by debating and voting on U.S. military escalation in Libya before it happens by signing and sharing our petition:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/congress-debate-vote-before-new-libya-war

TPP: No To Post-Election "Etch-a-Sketch"

In an interview from Davos with Bloomberg TV on January 20, Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue, a top lobbyist for the pro-corporate-power Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] agreement, assured viewers that if Hillary Clinton wins the Presidential election, she will support the TPP, even though she opposes it now.

Urge Members of Congress to take a stand now on the TPP and pledge to keep the same position after the election by signing our petition at MoveOn:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/tpp-no-post-election-etch-a-sketch

Inside U.S. Trade reported: "The Chamber president said he expected Hillary Clinton would ultimately support the TPP if she becomes the Democratic nominee for president and is elected. He argued that she has publicly opposed the deal chiefly because her main challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has also done so. 'If she were to get nominated, if she were to be elected, I have a hunch that what runs in the family is you get a little practical if you ever get the job,' he said."

Donohue also said TPP will not be voted on prior to the election because Senate Republicans do not want to do anything that could jeopardize Republican Senators in close races. But he said he believed there was a 75 percent chance that TPP would get done in the lame-duck session after the election.

Tell Congress: We can’t fight terrorism with xenophobia

Some have used the attacks in Paris Friday to whip up a xenophobic hysteria against Syrian refugees. Members of Congress say their phones are ringing with demands to keep Syrian refugees out, but not with voices insisting that America is a place of refuge from persecution. We need to speak up. Welcoming refugees is our moral obligation. It’s also our obligation under international law.

Help us turn the tide. Call your Representative at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

“We can’t fight terrorism with xenophobia. I urge you to reject efforts to block Syrian refugees from resettling in the United States.”

When you’ve made your call, please report it below.

Call-in: Tell your Senator a “No Fly Zone” = Dangerous Military Escalation

It’s magical thinking to claim that US air power is the solution to Syria’s problems. People who claim that US air power can magically “protect civilians” in Syria should explain why US air power just blew up a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan. But Washington never seems to tire of the fairy tale that US military power is a magic solution to the world’s problems.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for the U.S. to impose a “no fly zone” to prevent Russia from attacking CIA-backed forces fighting the Syrian government. These calls for a “no fly zone” are demands for dangerous U.S. military escalation against Russia and the Syrian government – imposing a “no fly zone” would mean bombing Syria and attacking Russian and Syrian aircraft. Unfortunately, Hillary’s stand is encouraging other Democrats to call for military escalation.

This is how US wars often start, with breathless claims of an emergency requiring US military bombing to “protect civilians.” How exactly US bombing will “protect civilians” is never explained. If escalation is achieved nobody will check whether civilians were protected or not.

Call your Senator NOW at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

“I urge you to reject calls for US military escalation against Russia in Syria, including calls for a ‘no fly zone.’”

When you’ve made your call, please report it below.

President Obama has rightly called Republican proposals for a “no fly zone” in Syria “half baked” “mumbo jumbo.” Senator Bernie Sanders is standing with President Obama and against Hillary Clinton in opposition to these “half baked” proposals for military escalation.

If you haven’t signed our petition against military escalation in Syria yet, you can do that here:

How Bernie Sanders Can Kill the 1%'s TPP Trade Deal

The DC press says it's getting down to the wire on a possible vote in the House on fast track to substantially pre-approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other pending trade deals, with a vote possible as early as Thursday.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who was a close second in a recent straw poll of Wisconsin Democrats, has called for a "political revolution" to revitalize democracy in the United States.

In 2015, Let’s Not Punish the Palestinians for Joining the ICC

A proposed New Year's Resolution: in 2015, let's not punish the Palestinians for joining the International Criminal Court. No doubt some Members of Congress - presumably, the ones who aren't busy resigning for felony tax evasion or defending themselves for schmoozing with white supremacists - will try to gin up an outrage festival and demand sanctions on the Palestinians for exercising their rights.

Can Congress End the Cuba Embargo? Many Republicans Want the Embargo to Fall

 A left-right coalition, supported by the president and public opinion, could successfully push Congress to end the Cuba embargo.

Can Republicans nostalgic for the Cold War block President Obama from taking executive actions to improve US diplomatic and economic ties with Cuba? Could a Republican-led Congress vote to end the US embargo? Some Republican leaders were quick to denounce President Obama's announcement that the United States was restoring ties with Cuba. But how many divisions do these Cold War dead-enders control?

On whether Republicans can follow through on threats to block the president, Associated Press is skeptical: