Civil Rights

Iraqi refugees need a lifeline

It has been a brutal and violent few weeks for Iraqis.

At the end of October, over 50 Christian Iraqis were massacred at a church in Baghdad. Since then, organized attacks on Christian Iraqis have escalated throughout the country. This is not the beginning of such persecution: of the estimated 1.2 million Christians in Iraq in 2003, only approximately 600,000 remain today. But with this latest wave of violence, numerous Christian leaders have called for stepped up efforts to address the resulting refugee crisis. 

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Stop the police state, repeal the PATRIOT Act (Rep. Ron Paul)

The year 2011 brings in a host of opportunities and challenges to America. Will we accelerate toward economic insolvency by continuing the policies that have created this crisis, or will a new Congress elected on the energy of the Tea Party movement find the courage to change course?

With the new Republican majority in the House I will have the opportunity as a subcommittee chairman to take a careful look at our domestic monetary policy. I’m excited by the prospect of real oversight of the Federal Reserve, but I also hope to focus on the important ways in which our foreign policy and monetary policy are related. Just last week the Financial Times reported that the limited oversight of the Federal Reserve allowed by the passage of a watered-down version of my Audit the Fed bill revealed that approximately 55 percent of the loans made available under the largest Federal Reserve bailout program – termed “auction facility” – went to foreign banks. This is just but one example of the real cost to Americans of maintaining its empire overseas and it cries out for more transparency and oversight.

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President Obama: It is my honor to sign the repeal of 'Don't ask, don't tell'

You know, I am just overwhelmed. This is a very good day. (Applause.) And I want to thank all of you, especially the people on this stage, but each and every one of you who have been working so hard on this, members of my staff who worked so hard on this. I couldn’t be prouder.

Sixty-six years ago, in the dense, snow-covered forests of Western Europe, Allied Forces were beating back a massive assault in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. And in the final days of fighting, a regiment in the 80th Division of Patton’s Third Army came under fire. The men were traveling along a narrow trail. They were exposed and they were vulnerable. Hundreds of soldiers were cut down by the enemy. 

And during the firefight, a private named Lloyd Corwin tumbled 40 feet down the deep side of a ravine. And dazed and trapped, he was as good as dead. But one soldier, a friend, turned back. And with shells landing around him, amid smoke and chaos and the screams of wounded men, this soldier, this friend, scaled down the icy slope, risking his own life to bring Private Corwin to safer ground. 

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Repealing ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ makes our military stronger and more united (Sen. Harry Reid)

Today, our military reflects who we are as a nation. By repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” we showed that discrimination has no place in our military, just as it has no place in America. In addition to ensuring that our military reflects our nation’s values, our military leadership has said that repealing this policy will make our armed forces stronger and more united.

I commend Chairman Levin, Sens. Lieberman and Collins, and all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for leading passage of this landmark change in policy. I am hopeful that our bipartisan work on this issue signals that Democrats and Republicans can continue to work together.

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The Senate must put our nation on the right side of history and repeal 'Don't ask, don't tell' (Rep. Jared Polis)

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is the only law in the country that encourages people to lie or be fired if they choose to be honest. It’s a law that hurts not only the men and women who put themselves at risk serving in our armed forces, but also jeopardizes our national security. And it is a law that must be repealed.

A recent study found that 8 out of 10 Americans support repealing the law. Regardless of their political party, people recognize that on the battlefield it doesn't matter if a soldier is gay or straight. What matters is they get the job done to protect our country.

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Give up on repeal? Not now, not ever

Tomorrow the Senate may finally get to debate and vote on repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. A determined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has put the standalone repeal bill the House passed 250-175 on Wednesday (H.R. 2965) before the Senate, along with a cloture petition to cut off Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) endless and endlessly embarrassing filibuster.

So now the ball is in the Senate’s court — but it will take more than a dogged Majority Leader to see repeal through. A simple majority does not rule in the Senate. Repeal of the “Don’t ask” law prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military still needs a super majority of sixty votes to cross the finish line.


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DREAM Act is an acute issue for Asian Americans

David Cho has a dream — and it’s to become a citizen of the country in which he has grown up, graduated high school and now attends college. However, instead of entertaining employment offers upon his graduation this spring like many of his fellow economics majors, this University of California, Los Angeles marching band drum major could face deportation from the only country he has ever called “home.”

It’s heartbreaking stories such as these, combined with the fact that allowing 65,000 students to graduate from U.S. high schools every year without legal status defies fiscal logic, that bring us to call on the Senate to pass the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow young people like David who were brought to this country as minors the opportunity to become citizens and contribute to our economy if they continue their education or join the military.

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Women will be watching

Women around the world will be watching Capitol Hill today. After multiple postponements, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is again scheduled to vote on the International Violence Against Women Act Tuesday afternoon, deciding the fate of a bill that would lay out a new strategy for U.S. engagement in the global fight to end violence against women. A House version is pending before the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Women will be watching to see if senators will seize this opportunity to partner with them in helping to overcome the epidemic of violence that touches at least one out of every three women around the world.

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Crying wolf: Tribal bill unrelated to Indian gaming

Last week the House of Representatives passed important legislation as a part of the Continuing Resolution. It is a legislative solution to an unfortunate Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar that undermined the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The IRA is fundamental federal law that supports the continued existence of Indian tribes in the United States. The Supreme Court decision on an ambiguous definition from a much different era threatens 75 years of tribal progress on government structures, contracts and loans, reservations and lands, and will negatively affect tribal and federal criminal jurisdiction, public safety and provision of services on reservations across the country.   

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'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal will not be stopped in long run (Rep. Mike Honda)

In blocking the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal, Senate Republicans continue to hide behind disingenuous national security claims. In the long run, Senate Republicans, who are keen to turn this into a political charade, can't stop reform.

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