Monday, September 20, 2010

URGENT - Oppose Cloture on Defense Authorization Bill

In an ideal world, a Defense Authorization bill would be about defense authorization. But the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011 (S. 3454), is about much more and must be opposed.

Chief among the bill’s defects is an amendment by Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) authorizing the performance of elective abortions at military hospitals in the US and around the world. The USCCB and the Military Archdiocese opposed this amendment when it was proposed and have asked that it be stripped from the bill.  Now it appears that an amendment by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) to strip the abortion provision will not be allowed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

A motion to invoke cloture on the Defense Authorization Act is scheduled for early tomorrow afternoon (Sept. 21). At this point, the only was to prevent turning military hospitals worldwide into abortion clinics is to oppose cloture. Missouri residents please call Senators Christopher “Kit” Bond and Claire McCaskill urging them to vote NO on cloture for the Defense Authorization Act.

Senator Kit Bond
(202) 224-5721
Web Form: bond.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactUs.Con...

Senator Claire McCaskill
(202) 224-6154
Web Form: mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=contact

All other states, please visit this link to find your senator and urge them to vote NO on cloture.

Convoluted Politics

The addition of the DREAM Act to the Defense Authorization Act is further complicating matters. The DREAM Act is a good bill, is strongly supported by the U.S. Bishops, and it will not pass as a provision in the Defense Authorization Act. Its inclusion in the defense bill is purely about the mid-term elections and not about passing good legislation.

The DREAM Act would permit states to afford undocumented aliens living within their jurisdictions with in‐state tuition rates. It also would provide for the legalization of undocumented aliens who came to the United States before age 16, have been in the United States for at least five years, have passed background checks, and who agree either to attend college or serve in the military for at least two years.

It is a matter of simple justice to those immigrant children who had no say in their entry to the US, have no home abroad, have been here a long time and who agree to demonstrate being good citizens. It is also good economics. Why any senator would oppose a good education for the people who are going to be paying their social security one day, or from putting them on official tax rolls, is beyond me.

But plenty of Republicans and several Democrats responding to current anti-immigrant fervor will oppose it. The last time the DREAM Act came before the Senate in 2007, it failed to invoke cloture by 8 votes. At that time, 12 Republicans voted in favor of cloture and 8 Democrats opposed cloture. As a provision of the Defense bill and in the lead-up to mid-terms, fewer Republicans are likely to support the DREAM ACT and more Democrats are likely to oppose it.

It will not get a fair hearing. To support cloture on the Defense Authorization Act in the hope that the DREAM Act might pass is folly. And it may very well be folly at the expense of the lives of the unborn and the integrity of our military hospitals.