Category Archives: US Senate

Tell Your Senators: End Our Unauthorized War in Yemen

From Indivisible, 3/8/18

In a matter of days, the Senate will do something they should have done a long time ago: try to stop Trump from waging illegal war.

Here’s what you should know about the war abuses of our current administration:

No president should be able to take us to war outside our democratic norms of checks and balances.

Trump inherited, and is doubling down on, a war that is both disastrous and illegal. The United States military is participating in the Yemen civil war by helping Saudi Arabia carry out airstrikes. These strikes amount to war crimes, and have killed tens of thousands of people. The US-backed coalition decision to block food and medicine from getting into the country has pushed more than 8 million Yemenis to the brink of starvation. And it’s created the largest cholera outbreak in modern history.

This war doesn’t help US national security. In fact, it places us on the same side of the conflict as terror groups like al-Qaeda and helps them grow stronger. This is outrageous. And it must end.

The Constitution says that Congress — NOT the president — decides when the US goes to war, but Congress has never even voted on this.

Now, a bipartisan group of senators, led by Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT), are using a rare procedure to force the Senate to finally take a vote. This bill, S. J. Res. 54, would declare the war unauthorized, and end it (unless Congress chooses to authorize it). It only needs a simple majority in the Senate — we can win this .
Here’s what you can do:

Review our resource for more information about the situation in Yemen, the United States’ role, and just how important this is.

Use our call script to call both your senators. Don’t assume that a senator will vote the right way or the wrong way on this — the issue divides Republicans and Democrats in surprising ways.

Once you’re on the phone, tell your senator that Congress has never authorized this war, and evidence shows that the US-supported airstrikes are causing a humanitarian crisis and may amount to war crimes. Let them know that you’ll watch how the senator votes.

The Senate needs to vote on this immediately, even though the House may not act. The fact that Congress has never authorized this war is reason enough for senators to support the resolution. But beyond that, this is one of the very few tools that Congress has in its toolbox to stop a president from using unauthorized military force. If we win on this, and pass this resolution, it shows that Congress can do it again if and when they have to in the future — perhaps to stop Trump from starting a new war with North Korea.

This vote will likely happen next week. The Trump administration is lobbying HARD against this bill by pressuring senators on both sides of the aisle. That means your senators need your support to stand firm and vote the right way on this bill.

In solidarity,

Indivisible Team

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Filed under US Senate, War

The Senate’s Only Black Republican Opens Up About Being Mistreated by Cops

by Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 7/15/16

Citing recent killings by police, Tim Scott of South Carolina asked his colleagues to stop ignoring the struggles of those who face racial prejudice.

Tim Scott of South Carolina is the only black Republican in the United States Senate. This week, moved by police killings of Eric Garner, Walter Scott, and Philando Castile, he rose to the floor to deliver a moving speech about his personal history being stopped by law-enforcement officers for what amounted to driving while black. “While I thank God that I have not endured bodily harm,” he declared, “I have felt the pressure applied by the scales of justice when they are slanted. I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and the humiliation that comes from feeling that you are being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.”

The first time he was stopped by police, his car had a malfunctioning headlight. A cop approached, hand on his gun, and told him, “Boy, don’t you know your headlight isn’t working properly?” He felt “embarrassed, ashamed, and scared. Very scared.”

Other traffic stops followed. …

continue reading at The Atlantic

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Filed under Race, Ethnicity, Immigration, US Senate

On endorsements and superdelegates: let the people decide

By Nathaniel Smith, Columnist, The Times of Chester County, April 19, 2016

I don’t need elected officials to tell me who to vote for

I try to be appreciative of elected officials and the work they do. And I wouldn’t want their jobs, not for the money and perks, not for the fame and glory. But right now I’m annoyed.

Officials elected by vote of all the people of the state should, in my view, once elected, continue to represent all the people of the state. Those officials belong to one of the two major parties, of course, because with rare exceptions, Independents can’t hold public office (thus shutting 1 in 5 Americans out of the system; no wonder people are disgruntled). But I don’t think those statewide officials ought to engage in partisan campaign operations. It just doesn’t look good.

Therefore, I don’t think they should serve as unpledged “superdelegates” at political conventions and put themselves in potential conflict with the will of the voters in their own party. All that power is tempting, but they should resist it. In the presidential convention, 10% of the Pennsylvania Democrats’ votes will be at the whim of the superdelegates. That’s less than the total convention with 15%, but still could make a big difference… against the will of the people.

And those superdelegates particularly should not try to play kingmaker by endorsing candidates for office. Candidates work hard and many are committed to the public welfare, possibly even more than those who hold office currently. People donate money to candidates and work hard for their favorites. Many voters are very concerned about particular issues. Americans should be encouraged to run for office, pay attention to issues, and vote-not to follow the desires of their current elected officials.

Here is the immediate cause of my annoyance. I now have received two missives from Senator Bob Casey endorsing Katie McGinty over Joe Sestak, whom I greatly prefer for many concrete reasons. So I went to Senator Casey’s web site, as our elected representatives always plead with us to do so they can “serve us better,” and I wrote a brief objection….

continue reading at The Times of Chester County

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Filed under 2016 election, US Senate

PA-Sen: Fetterman Calls on DNC Chair to Resign

by Chris Calabrese, Politics PA, 3/7/16

John FettermanBraddock Mayor and Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman has called on DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign from her post after she co-sponsored a bill that would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s forthcoming payday loan regulations.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established by President Obama in 2011 and was the brainchild of now Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“These predatory lenders often target low-income families and communities of color like Braddock, taking advantage of those who are economically unstable,” Fetterman said in an email to supporters.

“Republicans in Congress are fighting back with a bill to gut a new set of pending rules at the CFPB on the payday lending industry — and if you’re not shocked yet, wait for it: they’ve found a friend in Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who just signed on to co-sponsor the bill and is lobbying her Democratic colleagues to do the same,” he continued….

continue reading at Politics PA

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Filed under 2016 election, US Senate