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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2010
12:56 PM

CONTACT: Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)

NATIONAL CONTACT: Laura Bonham, PDA Communications Coordinator
Laura@pdamerica.org, (435) 336-2123
Tim Carpenter, PDA National Director
Tim@pdamerica.org, (413)-320-2015
NY CONTACT: Katie Robbins 212-475-8359
DC CONTACT: Donna Smith 773-617-4493

Healthcare Not Warfare Vigils in 82 Districts on March 17

WASHINGTON - March 15 - Labor and advocacy groups organized "brown bag" lunch vigils against war funding in 22 congressional districts in January and 67 in February. Currently 82 are planned for March 17th, with more being added. Organizations participating include: Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), AfterDowningStreet, the Backbone Campaign, Democrats.com, the California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee, Healthcare Now, CodePINK, and United for Peace and Justice.

On March 10th, 65 members of Congress voted to end the occupation of Afghanistan.  Yet only 14 have publicly committed to voting No on funding the same war.  A $33 billion supplemental spending bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is expected to be voted on in April or May.  
Brownbaggers are asking members of the House to publicly commit to voting No on any bills that fund wars, and to publicly urge their colleagues and the House leadership to make the same commitment. As lesser steps in the same direction, the Brown Bag Vigils are encouraging congress members to cosponsor HR 2454, calling for an exit strategy from Afghanistan, and HR 3699, prohibiting any increase in the number of U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Congress members' commitments are tracked at http://defundwar.org.

Vigil participants, who support a shift in resources from warfare to healthcare, are also asking their representatives to join the growing movement calling for "Medicare for All" by demanding passage of the Kucinich amendment facilitating state-level single-payer healthcare and by offering their support to single-payer efforts moving forward in state legislatures, including in California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Among those congress members whom brownbaggers have been pressuring and who voted to end the Afghan war on Wednesday is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee David Obey (D., Wis.). Obey said last June that he would not support any more supplemental war bills, said last October that he was not inclined to fund an escalation in Afghanistan, and said last November that he would not fund wars unless a war tax were created to pay for them. Another vigil is planned for Obey's office on March 17th.  

Other highlights include New York and DC:

NEW YORK, NY:
Congressional candidates are taking part in a number of vigils. In New York City, Senate candidate Jonathan Tasini will join a vigil being organized by Healthcare Now!, PDA and others outside the offices of Senators Gillibrand and Schumer.

When: Wed. March 17th--Noon
Where: Meet at 3rd Ave and 48th St (NW Corner)

Contact:  info@healthcare-now.org or 212-475-8359

WASHINGTON, DC:
Vigil participants will gather across Independence Avenue from the Rayburn House Office Building.

When: Wed. March 17th--Noon

Where: U.S. Capitol across from Rayburn House Office Building.

Contact: 773-617-4493.

Complete information on past and upcoming Brown Bag Vigils is available online: http://tinyurl.com/brownbagvigil

From January and February:

• videos: http://tinyurl.com/bbvigilvideos
• reports: http://tinyurl.com/bbvigilreports
• photos: http://tinyurl.com/bbvigilphotos

Typical of many congress members who have not yet committed to voting down the funding, Congressman Jim McDermott's office told DefundWar.org this week "Unless attached to funding for vitally important programs, Rep. McDermott will vote against funding to continue the war in Afghanistan as he did in December."

PDA National Director Tim Carpenter said, "We are asking congress members to treat war and peace with the importance the matter deserves and commit to ending war funding and bringing Americans home from foreign occupations no matter what nice but smaller measures are attached to a bill.  Those nice things could be passed separately, and everybody knows it."

Vigils have been planned in the following districts.  These are almost all at noon on Wednesday, February 17th, but a few are at odd times or days, so check the details:

AZ-01 Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick
AZ-05 Rep. Harry Mitchell
AZ-06 Rep. Jeff Flake
AZ-08 Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
CA-01 Rep. Mike Thompson
CA-02 Rep. Wally Herger
CA-04 Rep. Tom McClintock
CA-05 Rep. Doris Matsui
CA-06 Rep. Lynn Woolsey
CA-09 Rep. Barbara Lee
CA-10 Rep. John Garamendi
CA-18 Rep. Dennis Cardoza
CA-22 Rep. Kevin McCarthy
CA-23 Rep. Lois Capps
CA-28 Rep. Howard Berman
CA-29 Rep. Adam Schiff
CA-30 Rep. Henry Waxman
CA-31 Rep. Xavier Becerra
CA-33 Rep. Diane Watson
CA-34 Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard
CA-37 Rep. Laura Richardson
CA-40 Rep. Ed Royce
CA-41 Rep. Jerry Lewis
CA-42 Rep. Gary Miller
CA-44 Rep. Ken Calvert
CA-45 Rep. Mary Bono-Mack
CA-46 Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
CA-48 Rep. John Campbell
CA-49 Rep. Darrell Issa
CA-50 Rep. Brian Bilbray
CA-53 Rep. Susan Davis
CO-04 Rep. Betsy Markey
FL-07 Rep. John Mica
FL-09 Rep. Gus Bilirakis
FL-10 Rep. Bill Young
FL-17 Rep. Kendrick Meek
ID-01 Rep. Walt Minnick
IL-07 Rep. Danny Davis
IN-09 Rep. Baron Hill
KY-01 Sen. Mitch McConnell
MA-01 Rep. John Olver
MA-02 Rep. Richard Neal
MA-03 Rep. Jim McGovern
MA-05 Rep. Niki Tsongas
MA-08 & 09 Sen. John Kerry
MA-10 Rep. Bill Delahunt
MD-04 Rep. Donna Edwards
MD-07 Rep. Elijah Cummings
ME-01 Rep. Chellie Pingree
MI-09 Rep. Gary Peters
MS-01 Rep. Travis Childers
MS-04 Rep. Gene Taylor
NJ-04 Rep. Chris Smith
NJ-06 Rep. Frank Pallone
NJ-06 Rep. Frank Pallone
NY-15 Rep. Charles Rangel
NY-18 Rep. Nita Lowey
NY-20 Rep. Scott Murphy
NY-28 Rep. Louise M. Slaughter
NY- Senators Gillibrand and Schumer
OH-06 Rep. Charlie Wilson
OH-13 Rep. Betty Sutton
OH-17 Rep. Tim Ryan
OR-02 Rep. Greg Walden
OR-04 Rep. Peter DeFazio
OR-05 Rep. Kurt Schrader
PA-01 Rep. Bob Brady
PA-02 Rep. Chaka Fattah
PA-07 Rep. Joe Sestak
PA-15 Rep. Charlie Dent
RI-01 Rep. Patrick Kennedy
RI-02 Rep. James Langevin
SC-01 Rep. Henry Brown
SC-04 Sen. Lindsey Graham
TN-05 Rep. Jim Cooper
TN-05 Sens. Alexander and Corker
UT-03 Rep. Jason Chaffetz
WA-02 Rep. Rick Larsen
WA-03Rep Brian Baird
WA-06 Rep. Norman Dicks
WI-03 Rep. Ron Kind
WI-07 Rep. David Obey


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Progressive Democrats of America is a grassroots PAC that works both inside the Democratic Party and outside in movements for peace and justice. Our goal: Elect a permanent, progressive majority in 2008. PDA's advisory board includes seven members of Congress and activist leaders such as Tom Hayden, Medea Benjamin, Thom Hartmann and Rev. Lennox Yearwood. More info:http://pdamerica.org



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