Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Updates on war funding and civil liberties legislation

From United for Peace (AfD is a member group), an update on some war funding and civil liberties legislation.

The Iraq funding bill will go back to the House for another vote. UFPJ points out that media coverage has focused on GI Bill funding, and ignores funding the occupation with no strings attached for another year. For talking points to change the discussion, click here. For roll calls on the bill click here.

The Defense Authorization Bill, which funds the Department of Defense to the tune of $600 billion, had a few good amendments attached and some bad ones trimmed. Click on the links for roll calls.

The Lee Amendment passed 234 to 183. It requires congressional approval of any agreement between Bush and Maliki on the long term presence of U.S. troops in Iraq.

The Pierce Amendment, which would have authorized $10 million for a new nuclear warhead, failed 145-271

The Holt Amendment passed 218-192. It requires soldiers in the field to videotape interrogations of prisoners, to prevent abuse.

The Braley Amendment, which requires the President to submit a report to Congress on the long-term costs of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom within 90 days of enactment, passed as well, 245-168.

The Homegrown Terrorism & violent radicalization bill has died in the Senate Homeland Security Committee. But a new FISA bill is being drafted behind closed doors, possibly including the Senate bill's full retroactive telecom immunity provision with only a few cosmetic changes. Once a deal is struck, it could come to the House floor with little warning. So, please contact your representative now and remind them that we're watching. Click here for information.

One last item: Sen. Joseph Lieberman is going after YouTube, asking the online video site to remove postings by “Islamic radical groups”. YouTube said removing content was not so simple, especially without consideration of whether these videos were legal, non-violent, or contained no hate speech. Read more here.

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