Lewis, Clyburn’s senior deputy whip, to vote ‘no’ on war funding

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) a staunch pacifist, civil rights icon and part of the House leadership team, says his philosophy of non-violence will not allow him to vote for the Democrats’ Iraq spending bill.

“In matters of foreign policy, violence and war is obsolete. The money is there to support a continuation of the war,” Lewis said in a brief interview with The Hill. “I just cannot do it.”


Lewis’s position, announced late Monday from the House floor, leaves House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) without his senior chief deputy whip as Democrats head into the closest vote of the 110th Congress.

In his floor speech, Lewis said that “as an individual committed to a world of peace with itself, I will not and I cannot in good conscience vote for another dollar or another dime to support this war.”

Clyburn said he has no dispute with Lewis’s stance. He said he knows the congressman’s position on the bill stems from his pacifist views — views that withstood the violence generated by civil rights opponents in the 1960s.

“John Lewis took his medicine,” Clyburn said. “Nobody will take what he took in the ’60s. John Lewis is an avowed pacifist. We all respect his position on this bill.”

Clyburn noted that he and Lewis, both founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, once rode together to a meeting at Shaw College in North Carolina to meet with Martin Luther King Jr. When violence was expected, Clyburn said he got off the bus — “I was under orders from my wife,” he said — but Lewis rode on.

Lewis, a co-founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, said he will not help leadership try to pass the bill, but he’s not trying to persuade others to vote against it, either.

“I’m not trying to convince anyone,” Lewis said. “It would be hard for me to ask people to vote for it in good conscience. I just remove myself.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), another lawmaker on Clyburn’s nine-member whip team, is also planning to vote no. It appears that the other seven members will vote yes.

There are at least 11 Democrats who are firmly against the bill or leaning no.

Several House committee chairmen are undecided or not commenting on the measure, including Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) and Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.).

House leaders admitted yesterday that they currently don’t have the votes among their own caucus to pass a $124 billion supplemental appropriations bill that calls for withdrawal of troops from Iraq by September 2008.

But they say they will have a vote this week and expect to win.

“If you’re asking if I have 218 votes at this minute who I know will vote for it, the answer is no,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Asked whether he might have to reschedule the vote for lack of support, Hoyer added, “I hope the answer is no, and I expect the answer is no.”

Democratic Conference Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) said, “We’re going to have a vote this week.”

Emanuel said former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who endorsed the Democrats’ Iraq plan yesterday, will address the caucus today.

The Rules Committee was expected to schedule a meeting for today to consider what, if any, amendments will be allowed during anticipated floor debate tomorrow. That is likely to produce a side skirmish over whether Democrats are living up to their promise to run votes more openly or whether they’ll block amendments to prevent a delicate balance from being upset.

Republicans say amendments haven’t been completely blocked on an appropriations floor vote since Democrats last ran the House. Democrats counter that when Republicans ran the floor, they rarely left supplemental spending bills completely open to appropriations and frequently allowed only Republican amendments.


Progressives and Blue Dogs weigh in on war-funding bill

Yes or leaning yes

Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii)
Michael Arcuri (N.Y.)
Melissa Bean (Ill.)
Nancy Boyda (Kan.)
Corrine BrownCorrine BrownFormer Florida rep sentenced to five years in prison for fraud, tax evasion Genuine veteran charities face a challenge beating the fakes Former Florida rep found guilty of tax evasion, fraud MORE (Fla.)
Rep. Lois Capps (Calif.)
Dennis Cardoza (Calif.)
Peter DeFazio (Ore.)
Chet Edwards (Texas)
Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Gabbard, Steyer inch toward making third Democratic debate Gillibrand unveils mental health plan MORE (N.Y.)
Phil Hare (Ill.)
Alcee Hastings (Fla.)
Tim Mahoney (Fla.) (leaning yes)
Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoLawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Democratic senator on possibility of Trump standing up to the NRA: 'That's just such BS' Schumer to Trump: Demand McConnell hold vote on background check bill MORE (Hawaii) (leaning yes)
Steve Kagen (Wis.)
Tom Lantos (Calif.)
John Larson (Conn.)
Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.)
George Miller (Calif.)
Juanita Millender-McDonald (Calif.)
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Patrick Murphy (Pa.)
Donald Payne (N.J.)
John Salazar (Colo.)
Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)
David Scott (Ga.)
Joe Sestak (Pa.)
Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.)
Tim Walz (Minn.)
Charlie Wilson (Ohio)

No or leaning no
Dan Boren (Okla.) (leaning no)
Danny Davis (Ill.) (leaning no)
Keith Ellison (Minn.) (leaning no)
Dennis Kucinich (Ohio)
Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeJackson Lee: 'Racism is a national security threat' Most oppose cash reparations for slavery: poll Poll: Most Americans oppose reparations MORE (Texas)
Hank Johnson (Ga.)
Barbara Lee (Calif.)
John Lewis (Ga.)
Jim Marshall (Ga.)
Pete Stark (Calif.)
Edolphus Towns (N.Y.)
Lynn Woolsey (Calif.)

Undecided/no comment
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Robert Brady (Pa.)
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Leonard Boswell (Iowa)
Chris Carney (Pa.)
Jim Cooper (Tenn.)
Lacy Clay (Mo.)
Yvette Clarke (N.Y.)
Steve Cohen (Tenn.)
John Conyers Jr. (Mich.)
Henry Cuellar (Texas)
Elijah Cummings (Md.)
Lloyd Doggett (Texas)
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Brad Ellsworth (Ind.)
Barney Frank (Mass.)
Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)
John Hall (N.Y.)
Jane Harman (Calif.)
Stephanie Herseth (S.D.)
Baron Hill (Ind.)
Rush Holt (N.J.)
Darlene Hooley (Ore.)
William Jefferson (La.)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)
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Nick Lampson (Texas)
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Doris Matsui (Calif.)
James McGovern (Mass.)
Jerry McNerney (Calif.)
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Jim Oberstar (Minn.)
Collin Peterson (Minn.)
Charles Rangel (N.Y.)
Bobby Rush (Ill.)
Mike Ross (Ark.)
Linda Sanchez (Calif.)
Heath Shuler (N.C.)
Hilda Solis (Calif.)
Zack Space (Ohio)
Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (Ohio)
Gene Taylor (Miss.)
Maxine Waters (Calif.)
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