Last Friday I met with our Senators Washington DC staff via video-conference as a member of a delegation of  faith, union and NGO leaders.  Our goal was to convey to our Senators a desire to sustain Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and all safety net programs and make cuts to the military budget.  This request was met with a positive response.  Senator Murray’s office indicated a willingness to bring troops home from Afghanistan earlier than the present time table.

I will be important to keep reiterating this message.  The Senators need to know we have their backs if we expect them to stand strong.  To that end, there will be a prayer vigil tomorrow, Dec 21 at noon at Federal Building on 2nd Ave. in Seattle.

As early as tomorrow the House of Representatives may vote again on the 2013 Defense Authorization bill, which provides $552.2 billion for the “base national defense” and another $88.5 billion for Afghanistan and other overseas contingency operations.

You may remember that earlier this month, the US Senate passed its version of the Defense Authorization bill by 98-0. One reason, some of the Senators may have voted in favor of the bill was because it contained a Merkley amendment, calling for an accelerated withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. The bill went to conference and the Merkley Amendment has now disappeared. For the highlights of the 2013 NDAA that has just come out of conference, please use this link and check it out.

http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=f679d36d-0994-4768-80be-78296d325e2d

As well as continuing the war in Afghanistan, it is beyond outrageous that the Congress is about to authorize another $640.6 billion for the military, at the very moment that they are trying to squeeze social security and other vital programs because the federal government is so short of funds.

With vote imminent we encourage everyone to call today!   Senator Murray  202-224-2621  and  Senator Cantwell 202-224-3441

The message should ask for the reduction of the military budget, Afghanistan troop withdrawal, and maintainence of social safety net programs.  Ask them to stand strong.  As Democrats we want them to understand these points are not negotiable.

Thanks for all you do.
In Solidarity,
Judith Shattuck, Chair
Washington State Progressive Caucus