Thursday, June 08, 2006

Congressional Black Caucus Action

June 8

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) -- Early today United States troops in Iraq killed al Qaeda terrorist and insurgency leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Senator Obama released the following statement:

"I am proud that American troops, with the help of Iraqis, were able to find and kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He was a brutal monster whose single-minded goal was to sow instability and the death of innocent Iraqis and American forces.

"While this successful attack will not completely end the insurgency in Iraq, it does strike a major blow against al Qaeda and gives hope to the possibility of a secure and stable Iraq. It is an encouraging development that should fill Americans and Iraqis with pride."

Democrat candidate for the United States Senate in Tennessee Harold Ford, Jr. also weighed in on the death of al-Zarqawi.

Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN)

"Our troops in Iraq scored a tremendous victory today with the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Once again, the 101st Airborne led the way, moving in just after the bombing to identify Zarqawi. Our warfighters are continuing to perform heroically and bravely and deserve a tremendous amount of praise.

"There is no question that we are better off with Zarqawi dead. But the insurgency has never just been about one person. We must remain vigilant about implementing a real plan that will enable the Iraqis to take control of their own security."

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) -- There was a lot of conversation on Capitol Hill early this year that Congress would renew the Voting Rights Act this session. But we find ourselves in June and reauthorizationion has slowed to a crawl. Today Congressman Butterfield wrote a letter to House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) urging him to bring the bill up for vote. The text of the letter follows:

June 7, 2006

The Honorable John A. Boehner
Majority Leader, House of Representatives
H107, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Majority Leader Boehner:

I am writing to respectfully urge you to schedule the "Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006" for consideration by the House.

As you know, reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act has strong bipartisan support, including the House Speaker and a large contingent from the South. This represents a welcome contrast to ferocious debate over protecting voting rights in 1965, and an improvement over 1982, when there was noticeable hostility on the part of some Southern lawmakers.

I am deeply troubled by recent media reports that some of our colleagues in the South have reservations about this legislation and may seek to delay its prompt consideration by the House. During the last 40 years, we have made strides toward ensuring the protection of every American's right to vote. The Voting Rights Act has been a cornerstone of that progress. To weaken or delay reauthorization of this important and historic legislation expresses the willingness to step back in time.

While strides have been made, the immense need for this legislation was demonstrated clearly through the more than 8,000 pages of documentation describing discriminatory voting practices that was submitted to the House Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, the election process continues to be abused - through redistricting schemes, last minute changes of polling locations and outright restrictions on registration for some eligible voters.

The Voting Rights Act provides an effective mechanism for courts and the Justice Department to address practices that are racially motivated. It is a remedial statute whose authority stems from the Congressional determination that certain areas of our nation have a history of discriminatory election laws.

Sadly, racial conflict remains a part of life. We must ensure that this vital protection remains in place to defend people against racial abuses. With that in mind, I respectfully urge you to schedule this matter for consideration.

Very truly yours,

G. K. Butterfield
Member of Congress


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