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South Mountain Peace Action's Letters to Senators and
Congressmen on Recent Votes on Iraq

June 15, 2007


Congressman Bill Pascrell and Congressman Donald Payne
Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressmen Payne and Pascrell:

On behalf of South Mountain Peace Action of Maplewood and South Orange, NJ, I'd like to thank you for voting against the $95 billion Iraq supplemental bill HR 2206 on May 24, 2007.

As you know, on May 4, 2007,we Fedexed you 1,337 signatures of Maplewood and South Orange residents thanking you for your vote on the original supplemental bill which had an Iraq withdrawal timetable (HR 1591) and urging you to insist that the final supplemental also include a timetable.

Your votes against HR 2206 are living proof that Congress does not have to subordinate itself to the President even if it cannot override his veto.

It is regrettable that a majority in Congress did not have the political courage and conviction to stand up to the President's veto, but instead capitulated to his demand for endless war in Iraq, raising the funds appropriated thus far to more than $500 billion. Only hours after the President signed the supplemental, it was reported that April and May 2007 had the highest number of deaths of American troops of any two consecutive months of the war. And last week the death toll of US troops in Iraq rose past 3,500.

The bill signed by the President does not support our troops -- it puts them at greater risk than ever with no end in sight.

I also want to express South Mountain Peace Action's appreciation for two other votes to end the war that you cast in May 2007: for the McGovern 6-month timetable bill and for the pre-conference HR 2206 bill that would have limited funds to three months and required a vote on whether to continue the war in July 2007.

Finally, I want to assure you that South Mountain Peace Action will publicize your courageous votes in our communities and that we stand ready to support your efforts for a responsible end to this unnecessary war in any way that we can.

Sincerely,

Paul Surovell, Chair
South Mountain Peace Action
June 15, 2007

__________________________________________

Senator Frank Lautenberg and Senator Robert Menendez
Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Lautenberg and Menendez:

On behalf of South Mountain Peace Action of Maplewood and South Orange, NJ, I'd like to express our disappointment in your vote for the $95 billion Iraq supplemental bill, HR 2206, which raises to more than $500 billion the amount appropriated thus far for an unnecessary war that continues to drain our nation's resources, undermine our national security and has cost the lives of more than 3,500 American servicemen and servicewomen.

Shortly after the President signed HR 2206, it was reported that April and May 2007 had the highest death tolls for our troops of any two consecutive months since the war began.

HR 2206 does not support our troops as argued by the President and other proponents. To the contrary, HR 2206 puts our troops at greater risk than ever, with no end in sight.

We were not only disappointed, but surprised that you voted for HR 2206, since you had previously voted for HR 1591, which included a withdrawal timetable, followed by your vote for the Feingold Amendment which also had a withdrawal timetable.

As you know, in early May we Fedexed you 1,337 signatures of residents of Maplewood and South Orange thanking you for your vote for HR 1591 and urging you to insist that the final supplemental bill sent to the President also include a timetable.

We are proud that both representatives of Maplewood and South Orange, Congressman Bill Pascrell and Congressman Donald Payne, had the political courage and conviction to vote against HR 2206 because the withdrawal timetable had been removed by the conference. Their votes are living proof that Congress does not have to subordinate itself to the President even if it does not have the votes to override a veto. Four additional New Jersey Congressmen also voted against HR 2206 as well.

It is very unfortunate that New Jersey's Senators did not stand with them to demand an end of the President's war.

We urge you in the future to join your New Jersey congressional colleagues and vote in accordance with the principles you upheld when you voted for HR 1591 and for the Feingold amendment, by voting for Iraq legislation that will end the war and take our troops out of harm's way, and by voting against legislation like HR 2206 that perpetuates the war and puts our troops at greater risk than ever.

All polls show a strong majority of Americans want a timetable to end the war in Iraq. Our state and our country need your leadership on this vital matter.

Sincerely yours,


Paul Surovell, Chair
South Mountain Peace Action
June 15, 2007

 
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