Peace Groups Release Congressional Scorecard; Chairman Waxman Comments
Washington, DC – April 9, 2009 – In the midst of an emerging sea change in American foreign policy thinking, 117 congressional leaders have recently demonstrated an especially strong record of leadership towards a more effective national security strategy. This is according to a peace and security performance report on the 2008 session of the 110th Congress, released jointly by Peace Action, the nation’s largest grassroots peace organization, and its largest affiliate Peace Action West.
One of these leading policymakers is Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA-30), chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, who had this to say about his record: “I am proud to have voted last year for stronger congressional oversight of the funding and war in Iraq, for nuclear non proliferation, against wasteful weapons systems and military spending, and against torture of detainees at Guantanamo. My votes reflect my longstanding principles and beliefs. I am also proud that this year we have a new President of the United States, who has reversed the policies and priorities of the Bush Administration’s policies. We will work closely together for more responsible and progressive foreign policy.”
Kevin Martin, Peace Action’s Executive Director, emphasized the importance of this leadership. “We have an opportunity now to significantly change how the US interacts with the global community and what tools aside from military force the government relies on to keep us secure. Given the urgency surrounding the war in Afghanistan and negotiations with Iran, we need more leaders in Congress who will actively promote those changes now.”
According to Jon Rainwater, Peace Action West’s Executive Director, the role of the American public is critical in pushing for that new foreign policy vision. “We must seize the opportunity to rebuild our country’s reputation in the eyes of the world. After seven years of war it’s time for a fundamental reorientation of our foreign policy. These 117 members of Congress are leading the way, but we need more like them. That’s why Peace Action makes sure Americans know how their Representatives cast their votes on life and death issues, and encourages constituents to contact Congress and share their views. Ultimately, it’s an active and vocal public that will determine if the country makes the profound changes in US foreign policy that we need,” Rainwater added.
Fifty-eight members of Congress earned a perfect score in the report, including Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representatives John Lewis (D-GA-5), George Miller (D-CA-7) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-7). Fifty-nine scored 90 percent. Members of Congress who earned top marks voted on such critical issues as opposing a blank check for the occupation of Iraq, blocking the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons, and fully funding nonproliferation programs, foreign assistance and other important civilian security tools. Peace Action and Peace Action West’s Congressional Scorecard for the 110th Congress is available for download here:
The groups jointly produce a report on congressional voting records every year.
Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 members and nearly 100 chapters in 34 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights, and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.
Peace Action West advocates for a foreign policy that embodies the best values of the American people. As a membership organization with close to 50,000 supporters, we foster broad-based civic activism to create a strong voice for peaceful and pragmatic solutions to global problems. Our activities serve as a bridge between the public and the officials who make decisions that affect the lives of millions of people.
More information on the organizations and their campaigns are available at http://www.Peace-Action.org and www.PeaceActionWest.org