Reject Marco Rubio’s Sneak Attacks on Peace & the First Amendment
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On November 28, sixty-three Senators, including fourteen Republicans, voted to discharge from committee to the floor the Bernie Sanders – Mike Lee – Chris Murphy Yemen War Powers Resolution to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi regime's catastrophic war in Yemen. Sixty-three Senators said by deed they thought that allowing the Senate to have an up-or-down floor vote on ending the unconstitutional Yemen war was the right thing to do.
But Florida Republican Marco Rubio voted no on discharging the resolution from committee to the floor. He didn’t just vote to continue the unconstitutional war in Yemen. He voted to prevent a floor debate and vote on ending the unconstitutional war in Yemen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), James Risch (R-ID), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) voted the same way as Rubio. They didn’t just vote to continue the unconstitutional war; they voted to prevent the Senate from having an up-or-down floor vote on ending the unconstitutional war.
Now, this coming Tuesday, the Senate is expected to vote on a package of bills assembled by these four pro-war Republican Senators, led by Rubio.
Rubio’s “omnibus” includes a bill that attacks the First Amendment rights of Americans to advocate for the economic boycott of controversial Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. This bill is opposed by the ACLU on First Amendment grounds. This bill is opposed by Americans for Peace Now – the American counterpart of the Peace Now movement in Israel – both on First Amendment grounds and because the goal of Rubio’s bill is to protect the settlements from international human rights activism. In December, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Dianne Feinstein opposed a similar bill on similar grounds.
Rubio’s “omnibus” also includes a bill that seeks to keep the war in Syria going, despite President Trump’s promise to end it. Rubio’s Syria bill has been opposed by the Friends Committee on National Legislation, America's largest peace lobby in DC, on the grounds that it would tie the hands of U.S. diplomats working to negotiate a political solution to the Syria conflict, impose unrealistic conditions for ceasefire, and punish Iranian civilians with broad sanctions.
Bills enacting such far-reaching changes in U.S. government policy affecting war and peace and First Amendment rights should not be crammed through Congress in an “omnibus.” If they are considered at all, each should receive its own up-or-down roll call vote, so Members of Congress can be held accountable for their votes by their constituents.
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