Feinstein/Lugar Resolution:  Next Steps 
By Diane Cantor, Executive Director and Steve Masters, Co-Chair of Advocacy

Together We have Taken the First Giant Step.
We were all gritting our teeth down to the last minute when the Senate recessed late Friday night, August 3rd, hoping for passage of the Feinstein/Lugar resolution, which had been hotlined*. In the end the resolution, along with others, was not called up for a vote before the Senate adjourned for its August recess.

The  number of co-sponsors rose to 36, with several Senators adding their names in the last days after hearing from our grassroots network. Gaining the public support of over one-third of the Senate for this resolution is a tremendous success – one which all of us in Brit Tzedek should take personal pride in and be prepared to build upon.

We should all acknowledge enthusiastically that obtaining 36 cosponsors to date—over one-third of the Senate—is remarkable work.  When we began our national grassroots efforts around Feinstein/Lugar with the challenging goal of securing at least 20 cosponsors, we never imagined we would come so far. Through our hard work and that of our allies, we greatly exceeded those expectations, and can now proceed with renewed vigor when the Senate returns from recess.


The Growing Momentum Behind Feinstein/Lugar
There is no doubt that your faxes, phone calls, emails and in-person meetings in home districts and in Washington, D.C made the difference.  You laid the foundation for the next phase of our work.

In eight states,(MA,MN,OH,OR,PA,RI,WA,WI) both Senators stepped up and signed on.  This, and the fact that there was strong bipartisan support, gives us something secure to build upon in September.  Please also remember that we have the remainder of the 110th Congress to achieve the passage of the resolution.   We will not rest on our laurels, and will come back strong in the knowledge that there is growing support within the Halls of Congress and within the American Jewish community for the "robust" diplomacy for which the resolution calls.

Next Steps:
When the Senate comes back from recess after Labor Day, Brit Tzedek will be prepared to renew our strong advocacy for passage of the resolution, building on the momentum of having 36 cosponsors.  This is an excellent position to be in and demonstrates the effectiveness of Brit Tzedek's strategy - a strong and committed grassroots advocacy field operation combined with Washington, D.C.-based initiatives.  We have proven once again that members of Congress will take leadership on this issue when they understand the depth of support inside their districts for pro-Israel, pro-Peace policies.   We are ready to renew and move forward in the pursuit of a lasting peace, so  keep yours eyes out for future action alerts!


The Feinstein/Lugar resolution is a bi-partisan pro-peace, pro-Israel resolution that calls for active U.S. engagement to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It calls on President Bush to make a two-state solution a "top priority," urges him to appoint a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and welcomes the Arab League Peace Initiative.  Read the full text of S. Res 224.


*Hotlining is a Senate procedure that enables the Senate to pass non-controversial resolutions without having a full debate on the Senate floor.  In actuality, the vast majority of bills are hotlined, and only the big ones (immigration, war on Iraq, etc) get debated on the floor.  Once a resolution is hotlined, a message (usually a call and email), is sent out to all senate offices notifying them there has been a request to pass a specific resolution by unanimous consent.  Unless a senator decides to contact the Senate cloakroom and "put a hold" on the bill, then at some point that day or next, the bill will get called up on the Senate floor and passed.


Current Senate cosponsors of the Feinstein/Lugar resolution (36):


        CA: Feinstein
        CT: Dodd
        HI: Akaka
        IA: Harkin
        ID: Craig
        IL: Durbin
        IN: Lugar
        FL: Nelson
        MA: Kerry, Kennedy
        ME: Snowe
        MI: Levin, Stabenow
        MN: Klobuchar
        MS: Lott
        MT: Baucus
        NC: Burr
        NE: Hagel
        NH: Sununu
        NM: Bingamin
        OH: Voinovich, Brown
        OR: Wyden, Smith
        PA: Casey, Specter
        RI: Reed, Whitehouse
        TX: Hutchison
        VA: Webb
        VT: Leahy
        WA: Cantwell, Murray
        WI: Kohl, Feingold
        WV: Byrd

 


Rob Levy, Washington Representative and Diane Balser, National Advocacy Chair are presently traveling and will provide advocacy updates when the 110th Congress resumes.


Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Suite 707
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
Fax: (312) 341-1206

info@btvshalom.org
www.btvshalom.org


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