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Congressman Payne Cites SMPA
Congressman Pascrell Votes for Woolsey Amendment

On May 25, 2005, Congressman Donald Payne cited South Mountain Peace Action and referenced our petition in a speech supporting the Woolsey amendment

which would have asked the President to prepare an exit strategy in Iraq.

Payne's speech was televised on C-Span and his remarks appear in the Congressional Record.

In a related matter, Congressman Bill Pascrell, who was also presented with the SMPA petition, voted YES on the Woolsey amendment. The amendment failed to win approval, but it received 128 votes.

Here's the text of Payne's speech:

MAY 25, 2005

Mr. Chairman, as a cosponsor of the Woolsey amendment calling on the President to develop and implement a plan to begin the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and to take other steps to provide the Iraqi people with the opportunity to control their internal affairs, I rise in support of this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, although I strongly opposed the preemptive war in Iraq, which the administration promoted based on false information and which has resulted in tragic loss of American and Iraqi lives, I would have supported as many troops as necessary in Afghanistan where our enemy, Osama bin Laden, was.

I do not believe that it would be fair to abandon the Iraqi people at this juncture. So, therefore, we should look towards having the United Nations create an international peacekeeping force to keep Iraq secure.

I would also like to take this opportunity, though, to commend a group of activists in my congressional district who are lending their voices to the important debate about our future in Iraq. South Mountain Peace Action, representing residents of Maplewood and South Orange, New Jersey, are strongly committed to seeking an international solution, led by the United Nations, and a rapid return of U.S. soldiers.

Nearly 80 percent of Maplewood and South Orange voters and 52 percent of New Jersey voters voiced their agreement that President Bush's war in Iraq is the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place.

The war has already exacted a heavy price. More than 1,600 American lives have been lost and over 10,000 servicemen and women have been wounded. More than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives, and $210 billion have been spent.

I urge support of the Woolsey amendment.

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