House Opposes Military Draft Bill
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday against a bill to reinstate the military draft, a tool that had been used by Democrats to point out the inherent inequality of volunteer service.
The House voted 2-402 against suspending the debate and moving toward passage, meaning that the bill could be debated in perpetuity. The procedural motion is an action that prompts the sponsor of the legislation to pull it out of consideration.
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (search), D-N.Y., introduced the legislation in January 2003 in an effort to highlight what he saw as an ill-prepared and ill-advised Iraq policy. Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (search), D-S.C., pushed a similar bill in the Senate.
The legislation in both chambers declares that it is the obligation of every U.S. citizen and resident between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a two-year period of national service.
GOP leaders said that Rangel and Hollings introduced the bills with the sole intent of scaring people in an election season.
This campaign is a baseless and malevolent concoction of the Democrat Party, and everyone in this chamber knows it. It has one purpose -- to spread fear. To spread fear among an unsuspecting public, to undermine the war on terror, to undermine our troops, to undermine our cause, and most of all, to undermine our commander-in-chief in an election year," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas.
The bills have lain dormant for nearly two years, but e-mails widely circulated on college campuses, which claimed that the Bush administration was trying to secretly revive the draft, prompted House Republicans to quash the issue by calling for a vote.
"Clearly these bills are filed not by Republicans, not on behalf of the administration, but by those who are being partisan Democrats about this and trying to scare people," said Sen. John Cornyn (search), R-Texas.
Rangel, however, did not act like he was kidding. He has been a vocal proponent of the draft, claiming that only mandatory national service would alleviate what he says are disproportionate numbers of working-class people and members of minority groups serving in the military.
"I believe in the draft and ... shared sacrifice," Rangel said.
Rangel, himself, voted against the bill, though he could argue that the procedural rules that guided the vote, which would have required a two-thirds approval, forced him to oppose it. However, Rangel has acknowledged that the legislation was also devised to arouse more controversy and debate about the war in Iraq, which was only in the planning stages when the bill was introduced.
"It's a wake-up call as to the sincerity that people have to supporting the war," Rangel said. "If they believe in the war, they should be able to say that everyone's family should be prepared to make the sacrifice."
Rangel suggested that the threat of a draft could move public support away from the administration's Iraq policy.
"If the American people don't support it, they're not going to support the draft," Rangel said. "And the administration is going to have to take a different look as to how you get rid of evil people."
Earlier Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said regardless of the political game played in the House, he had no intention of bringing the debate to the Senate floor.
"I can tell you it's not going to be addressed in the United States Senate. It is a non-issue and is not going to be addressed," Frist said.
The vote, which shows Republicans en bloc voting against any effort to bring back the draft, could help shut down Internet rumors that the Bush administration had a secret plan to reinstate the draft. The White House had said Bush would veto the measure if it passed.
"Inherent inequality," huh? Well, it does exist. When Rangel - as vile a liar as ever sat in Congress - first floated this turd in the national punchbowl, somebody took the time to research the facts. Turns out that ordinary white guys are overrepresented in the bleeding/dying MOS's, and underrepresented in the support MOS's.
Will this shut the Dems up???
Nope, it's now become a plot hatched by Bush, Enron, Cheney and the Antarctic Nazis...
Nothing will shut them up
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives on Tuesday crushed a bill to reinstitute the draft as Republicans accused Democrats of raising the specter of compulsory military service to turn voters against President Bush (news - web sites)'s reelection bid.
After a bitter debate on Bush's handling of Iraq (news - web sites), the House killed the bill 402-2 as Republicans sought to stamp out rumors of an impending draft that have swept college campuses and the Internet, worrying young people and parents across the country.
With the presidential and congressional elections less than a month away, the White House also worked to dampen draft rumors that Republicans said have been fueled by Democrats. It threatened to veto the bill it called "both unnecessary and counterproductive."
"This campaign is a baseless and malevolent concoction of the Democrat party," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican. "It has one purpose -- to spread fear."
Rep. John Conyers (news, bio, voting record), a Michigan Democrat, countered that Bush's Iraq policies have so strained U.S. forces, that a draft was possible no matter how unpopular it would be.
"Guess what, we're running out of troops ... Let's not be astounded that what follows is a draft. The only problem is that you can't announce it until after the election," Conyers said."
Rep. Charles Rangel (news, bio, voting record), a New York Democrat, said he offered a bill last winter to reinstitute the draft to spark debate on a system that he said placed the burden of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites) on lower-income people who make up most of the volunteer U.S. military.
DeLay said Republicans pulled up the long-dormant bill "to expose a fraud" that he said "has been given voice by the leading Democrats" that Bush would move to reimpose the draft after the Nov. 2 election.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, called reinstituting the draft "a nonissue" and said it would not be addressed in that chamber.
House Democrats accused Republicans of a dirty election-year trick, and used the debate to attack Bush's Iraq policies which they said have left the country in chaos and discouraged help from foreign troops.
"This president's foreign policies are what's scaring the kids of this country," said Rep. Tim Ryan (news, bio, voting record), an Ohio Democrat.
Some Democrats also said they doubted Bush would have taken the country to war if members of wealthy families had been called on to fight it.
"He would never have been able to say bring 'em on with other people's children," Rangel said.
"This is a rich man's war, and it's a poor man's fight," said Rep. John Dingell (news, bio, voting record), a Michigan Democrat. "We do not have enough troops in the field to prevail," he said, while accusing Republicans of ducking debate on how to get more forces.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush has made it clear he "strongly supports the all-volunteer military," and "does not believe we need a military draft."
"There are some who have tried to bring this up as a scare tactic, and that is highly unfortunate," McClellan said.
Rep. Jim McDermott (news, bio, voting record), a Washington Democrat, said, "Every time they get up on television and say there's never going to be a draft ... people start calling our offices saying when's the draft going to start."
McDermott said Republicans were worried because new voter registrations were going up "and they know those people are going to come out and vote against them. So they're trying their best to tamp down this fire, but they can't get anyone to believe them any more." (Additional reporting by Thomas Ferraro and Susan Cornwell)
every single republican voted against it
160 democrats voted against it
2 Dems voted for it