‘There is a wide variety of jobs created from protecting public lands, many of which are detailed in the Center for American Progress’ recent report, “The Jobs Case for Conservation.” These include outdoor guides, construction workers restoring trails and forests, manufacturers of outdoor goods like skis and hunting equipment, engineers, and park rangers, to name just a few. The Outdoor Industry Association notes that the outdoor recreation industry supports 6.5 million jobs and $730 billion in economic growth every year.’
Email your Senators today!
Ask them to vote “YES” on the New START treaty.
Yesterday one of the most important votes of the 111th Congress was held in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – a strongly bipartisan, 14 – 4 vote that cleared the way for the full Senate to ratify the New START treaty between the U.S. and Russia. The START treaty is an important step toward our overall goal of a nuclear-free future.
Now we need your help for the final push to ensure this modest but strategically critical treaty gets a vote before this Congress adjourns.
A BIG THANK YOU to AFSC supporters in Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi who asked their Senators to do the right thing and vote yes on the New START Treaty resolution of ratification. With your help, Senators Bob Corker (TN) and Johnny Isakson (GA) joined their fellow Republican Richard Lugar (IN) and all the committee’s Democrats to create a clear bipartisan majority for the treaty. Well done!
The strength of this committee vote increases the likelihood that the measure can garner the 67 votes necessary to approve the treaty— if the full Senate has an opportunity to vote on the measure. With some seeking to block this resolution from an up or down vote and elections fast approaching, the Senate could run out of time to advance this important agreement.
We need to ask for your help again. Urge your senators to publicly call for a vote before Congress adjourns in October, and to vote “yes” on the New START Treaty.
Many of us wish this treaty went further. When fully implemented, the U.S. and Russia will still have more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.
But the treaty will make us safer by
- reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons
- allowing U.S. inspectors to monitor Russian nuclear weapons, and
- clearing the way for additional steps away from nuclear proliferation – steps
that may be politically unviable for many years if this vote fails.
Please contact your Senators today and ask them to call publicly for a vote on the New START treaty.
Thank you for writing our government to take this important step for everyone’s safety.
Forward this message to your friends.
Help support AFSC’s worldwide work for peace, justice and human dignity. Make a donation today.
Bipartisanship has been in short supply in America these days, to put it mildly. Over the past year, health care reform, financial regulatory reform, and energy legislation have all met fierce resistance on Capitol Hill, where the mood has too often been one of distrust, reflexive opposition, and frustration. Fortunately, this spring the Senate was handed an opportunity to demonstrate its ability to work together on at least one issue of critical importance — arms control — in the form of New START, the United States‘ latest nuclear reductions treaty with Russia. And in an important first step Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee demonstrated that bipartisanship is not dead yet.
Traditionally, such treaties have garnered overwhelming Senate support, even in uncertain and polarized times. On Thursday the committee, by a bipartisan vote of 14 to 4, approved a resolution of ratification providing our advice and consent to New START. Three of those 14 votes came from Republicans.
The question now is whether we can seize this moment and push ahead with finalizing a treaty that reaffirms American leadership on nuclear issues — or whether the ideological obstructionism and political rancor that has plagued so many other issues surfaces in connection with one of our most pressing national security challenges.
New START, which U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed in April, limits the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,550 deployed strategic warheads apiece. It also places caps on missiles and bombers, as well as launchers like missile silos. Under the existing Moscow Treaty, negotiated by George W. Bush, each country is permitted to deploy between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads, so some see this new treaty’s reductions as modest. And it is true: This is no disarmament pact. But when you’re talking about nuclear weapons, even modest agreements can be significant.
New START continues 40 years of nuclear diplomacy, which was first aimed at ending the arms race — and then at reversing it. By eliminating redundant weapons, the agreement continues the cuts that Ronald Reagan initiated when he signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1987 and began negotiations on the original START Treaty. Even if America’s relationship with Russia is now strong enough that neither side fears an attack from the other, it still makes sense for the nuclear superpowers — our two countries possess some 90 percent of the world’s atomic weaponry — to establish clear limits on their arsenals. The predictability that stems from having such limits, along with the transparency provided by the monitoring and verification provisions contained in New START, produces stability that will make any future crisis less dangerous.
Of course, because it reinforces U.S.-Russian relations, the treaty makes it less likely that any crisis will arise in the first place. Those improved ties will have other benefits as well. Already, in the past five months Russia has begun allowing our forces to transit its territory on their way to Afghanistan, it has suspended a deal to sell Tehran advanced anti-aircraft missiles, and it has supported a U.N. resolution further sanctioning Iran for its nuclear activities. Friendlier relations will also facilitate vital initiatives, like the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which are designed to keep weapons and fissile material out of the hands of terrorists — our top national security priority.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the New START treaty in a 14-4 vote. Three Republicans voted with Democrats — a sign that Obama may get the votes needed for final passage. But it is unclear whether the full Senate will consider the treaty this year.
Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the treaty in April. It would shrink the limit on strategic warheads by about a third from the current ceiling of 2,200. Some Republicans fear the treaty doesn’t include sufficient safeguards to prevent Russian cheating.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration was poised for a victory on one of its top foreign policy goals Thursday as a Senate panel appeared likely to recommend approval of a U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control treaty with a bipartisan majority.
It was not clear that the administration has the votes or the time to get the treaty, known as New START, to the Senate floor for ratification this year. Hopes for passage improved this week, however, as a second Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee looked likely to support it.
Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the treaty in April. It would shrink the limit on strategic warheads to 1,550 for each country, down about a third from the current ceiling of 2,200. It also would implement changes in current procedures that allow both countries to inspect each other’s arsenals and verify compliance.
Democrats had delayed a committee vote on the treaty as they sought broader support from Republicans. They will need at least eight Republican votes on the Senate floor to have the two-thirds majority needed for ratification.
Some Republicans say the pact does not establish adequate procedures for ensuring that Russia abides by its terms. They also fear that Moscow could use the treaty to limit U.S. missile defense plans. Some Republicans also are tying their support to assurances that Democrats will provide more money to maintain and improve existing nuclear warheads.
But the treaty’s prospects received a boost this week when a Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Corker, endorsed an amendment from the committee’s senior Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar, aimed at overcoming his party’s reticence on the treaty.
But some Republicans weren’t persuaded and Tuesday’s debate became heated at times. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., cited the missile defense concerns and said the treaty would undermine U.S. security.
“If we are going to move ahead with the commitment not to protect the people of the United States, I think everyone in this country ought to know it,” said DeMint.
That provoked the ire of Kerry and other Democrats, who said that all the lawmakers were committed to protecting the American people.
Democrats say the treaty could be considered by the full Senate before the November congressional election. But given the intense partisan atmosphere in Washington in the run-up to the vote, Democratic prospects may be better in a “lame-duck” session that would take place after the elections, but before the new Congress is seated. Passage could be more difficult under a new Congress because Republicans are expected to pick up seats in the election.
The administration has held the treaty up as a sign that its efforts to improve relations with Russia have borne fruit. Failure to ratify the treaty or a long delay would represent a significant foreign policy setback.
On September 16, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans to vote on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia.
Take Action Please include personal details in your message such as where you live and why this is an issue you care about. Personalization leads message to have greater weight in congressional offices.
Dear President Obama,
We must ensure the future survival and sustainability of not only our generation, but future generations to come. Everything and everyone, human and nonhuman, is intricately interconnected, and we must ensure that our environment and society is moving forward toward the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Henry David Thoreau: peace, freedom, justice, equality, and environmental sustainability. Thank you for your leadership and your wisdom. Thank you for everything you have done, are doing, and will do in the future to make the world and our country a better place, more peaceful, disarmed, and free. Peace be upon you, your family, your friends, our country, and all the world, human and nonhuman alike.
On April 5th President Obama pledged the United States to demonstrate leadership for nuclear disarmament and abolition. Now we must work to ensure that commitment is fulfilled. Help us add 100,000 signatures to an international petition for abolition to be delivered before the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations in May 2010. When you’re done, download a paper petition here and collect signatures from your friends and family.
via Peace Action
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
From an Email:
In the past few months you signed our petition for a nuclear free world, thank you! Now we are at a critical junction for nuclear disarmament work. Please take another step towards a nuclear free world by forwarding the message below to as many friends as you can.
Once you’ve done that take a minute to download a paper petition and circulate it
because a grassroots movement must be organized the old fashioned way –people talking to people!
to march with the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 80 Hibakusha (survivors of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ) and thousands of peace and disarmament activists from around the world in New York City.
Thanks again for all your support! Please take a minute to forward the message below.
I signed Peace Action’s petition for a nuclear free world, and I hope you will too. Now is a critical time for nuclear disarmament, and lending our voice to the effort can make a real difference now.
Last week, President Obama announced the new nuclear arms reduction agreement with Russia, the follow on to the START Treaty, to be signed April 8th. The details have not been released, but the GOP is already getting geared up to oppose the treaty.
The ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on strategic forces, Representative Michael R. Turner of Ohio, released a letter he solicited from the directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories in January, questioning a federal report which said modernization of existing stockpiles was not necessary.
As President Obama tries to take one small step towards nuclear disarmament, the GOP begins efforts to confuse, distort and delay efforts to reduce the stockpiles.
President Obama needs to take a bigger step towards a nuclear weapons free world that won’t be mired in a tug-of-war in the Senate.
President Obama should initiate good faith multilateral negotiations on an international agreement to abolish nuclear weapons, in our lifetime!
Peace Action launched a petition campaign calling on the President to do just that!
Working with our international partners in Japan, and around the world, millions of signatures will be turned into the White House and United Nations during the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May.
Without the support of public opinion and a grassroots movement for peace and disarmament, no steps big or small will be taken! We have learned the lesson of the healthcare fight! The GOP may try to confuse, distort and delay. Therefore, it is up to the peace and disarmament movement to push back!
and once you do, download a paper petition and circulate it
because a grassroots movement must be organized the old fashioned way –people talking to people!
Take one more step to make sure we START and do not get stopped! The moment is now for nuclear disarmament but it can’t happen without your involvement! Sign and circulate the petition, march on May 2 in NYC and forward this message far and wide!
Judith Le Blanc
P.S. Make sure to share this e-mail with your friends and family by forwarding it on.
So this speech is amazing, not just because it is a good speech. I think it is truly transformational in the sense that it represents a profound change in the way Americans think about politics and the ability of politicians to actually help people instead of looking after themselves and special interests first . . . President Obama is certainly known for giving good speeches, but this one represents yet another turning point I feel in his presidency toward making meaningful and transformational change in American government, and by extension, the world. Perhaps if Americans are healthier, if we no longer have to worry so much about getting sick and not being able to pay for our treatment, we can be more engaged and present in the decision-making that goes on in our name. My hope is that we can say goodbye forever to the disengagement and apathy that seems to have defined the past ten to twenty years of American politics, maybe going back as far as the Reagan era, not just because of health care reform, but seeing health care reform as one more step toward a truly just and equitable society that lives up to the promise and possibility of the idealistic language used in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. My hope is that we are one step closer to realizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision and dream of a free and peaceful society. Yet we have a long way to go yet, not least of which are the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that need to end as soon as possible . . . .
“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Which brings me to the deplorable conduct of the Tea Party activists that reminded many African American Representatives of their experiences in the Civil Rights movement and their work integrating schools . . . .
Rep. Ryan decries the horrible treatment of members of Congress by the Tea Party protesters, including Rep. John Lewis, who experienced similar treatment during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960′s, and Rep. Barney Frank. Democratic representatives give reasons to support the bill, measured with wishes of ways to improve health care in the future after the bill becomes law. Republican politicians follow with first a letter by the Texas Medical Association and then a long diatribe about how the American Medical Association does not truly speak for the majority of American doctors and that the Tea Party protesters were great patriots . . . and somehow that means that Democrats are demons and the representative actually uses the word Armageddon to describe the passing of comprehensive health care reform legislation, perhaps echoing the words of house minority leader Boehner during his tirade against Democrats and health care reform and support of the “Red Whatever-They-Are” astroturf Tea Party campaign financed and organized by the Republican party leaders and their friends in the health insurance industry. I never realized how much influence the health insurance lobby had in American politics until this past thirteen months of debate in the house and senate regarding health care reform. Yet now I think it is painfully obvious that the health insurance lobby has exorbitant influence in both the house and senate, and in both major political parties. The fact that the health care reform legislation is as the Democratic representatives describe as “middle of the road,” illustrates just how far to the extreme right-wing conservative perspective the Republican leadership in the house and senate has become. I am not sure which caucus is more extreme, the Republican house or senate, but I do think that the house has certainly a big advantage as far as sheer numbers of unhinged opinionators and halfbaked conspiracy theories masquerading as intelligent discourse and “setting the record straight” of the “lies” of health care reform (yet the so-called “lies” really extend to whatever issue and subject that the individual extremist does not agree with, and to a greater extent the entire community of like-minded individuals within the Republican party mostly dominated by right-wing extremists such as the racist and homophobic Tea Party protesters currently).
Sounds like a madhouse with angry protesters threatening violence & hurling abuse at Democratic lawmakers . . . I wonder where the anti-reform Tea Party protesters get their wild ideas about how the government is going to “take over” their health care & turn the country into a communist / socialist / fascist state? It might have something to do with Republican / conservative lawmakers and media figures warning about those very conspiracy theories and halfbaked scaretactics championed by the likes of Beck, Hannity, and Limbaugh. Yet without other circumstances besides the conservative media figures and lawmakers such as Boehner and McConnell, I can’t imagine that such a great proportion of the electorate would actually fall for such brazen lies and misinformation, except that the recession and poor economic situation has created a situation rife with possibility for unscrupulous snake oil salesmen to ply their nefarious trade & try to hold onto their own power and wealth, even though they would actually be richer literally and metaphorically if they didn’t resist positive change, but participated honestly in reform for the health care system, clean energy technology, green jobs, disarmament, financial reform, peace, etc.
Peace everyone! And good luck! Let’s keep working . . . Onwards toward peace, environmental sustainability and wisdom, and social justice for all the world, both human and nonhuman . . . a better world IS possible, and we are on our way . . . .