“America on a War Footing”– Dennis Kucinich condemns HR 5859 and its late night approval by just three members of Congress

The three members of Congress who did this:
Rep. Ed Royce (California)
Rep. Eliot Engel (New  York)
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)

Rep. Jim Gerlach (Pennsylvania) wrote HR 5859.
America on a War Footing: Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking
By former Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Posted at Global Research, December 16, 2014
Truth Dig

Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a hydra-headed incubator of poisonous conflict. The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s financial and physical security by handing the national treasury over to war profiteers.

Here’s how the House’s touted “unanimity” was achieved: Under a parliamentary motion termed “unanimous consent,” legislative rules can be suspended and any bill can be called up. If any member of Congress objects, the motion is blocked and the bill dies.

At 10:23:54 p.m. on Thursday, a member rose to ask “unanimous consent” for four committees to be relieved of a Russia sanctions bill. At this point the motion, and the legislation, could have been blocked by a single member who would say “I object.”  No one objected, because no one was watching for last-minute bills to be slipped through.

Most of the House and the media had emptied out of the chambers after passage of the $1.1 trillion government spending package.

The Congressional Record will show only three of 425 members were present on the floor to consider the sanctions bill. Two of the three feigned objection, creating the legislative equivalent of a ‘time out.’ They entered a few words of support, withdrew their “objections” and the clock resumed.

According to the clerk’s records, once the bill was considered under unanimous consent, it was passed, at 10:23:55 p.m., without objection, in one recorded, time-stamped second, unanimously.

Then the House adjourned.

I discovered, in my 16 years in Congress, that many members seldom read the legislation on which they vote. On Oct. 24, 2001, House committees spent long hours debating the Patriot Act. At the last minute, the old bill was swapped out for a version with draconian provisions. I voted against that version of the Patriot Act, because I read it. The legislative process requires attention.

Legislation brought before Congress under “unanimous consent” is not read by most members simply because copies of the bill are generally not available. During the closing sessions of Congress I would often camp out in the House chamber, near the clerk’s desk, prepared to say “I object” when something of consequence appeared out of the blue. Dec. 11, 2014, is one of the few times I regret not being in Congress to have the ability to oversee the process.

The Russia Sanctions bill that passed “unanimously,” with no scheduled debate, at 10:23:55 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2014, includes: 1. Sanctions of Russia’s energy industry, including Rosoboronexport and Gazprom.

  1. Sanctions of Russia’s defense industry, with respect to arms sales to Syria.
  2. Broad sanctions on Russians’ banking and investments.
  3. Provisions for privatization of Ukrainian infrastructure, electricity, oil, gas and renewables, with the help of the World Bank and USAID.
  4. Fifty million dollars to assist in a corporate takeover of Ukraine’s oil and gas sectors.
  5. Three hundred and fifty million dollars for military assistance to Ukraine, including anti-tank, anti-armor, optical, and guidance and control equipment, as well as drones.
  6. Thirty million dollars for an intensive radio, television and Internet propaganda campaign throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union.
  7. Twenty million dollars for “democratic organizing” in Ukraine.
  8. Sixty million dollars, spent through groups like the National Endowment for Democracy, “to improve democratic governance, and transparency, accountability [and] rule of law” in Russia. What brilliant hyperbole to pass such a provision the same week the Senate’s CIA torture report was released.
  9. An unverified declaration that Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, is a nuclear “threat to the United States” and should be held “accountable.”
  10. A path for the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which went into force in 1988. The implications of this are immense. An entire series of arms agreements are at risk of unraveling. It may not be long before NATO pushes its newest client state, Ukraine, to abrogate the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Ukraine signed when it gave up its nuclear weapons, and establish a renewed nuclear missile capability, 300 miles from Moscow.
  11. A demand that Russia verifiably dismantle “any ground launched cruise missiles or ballistic missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers …”—i.e., 300 and 3,300 miles.

Read the legislation, which Congress apparently didn’t.

As reported on GlobalSecurity.org, earlier that same day in Kiev, the Ukrainian parliament approved a security plan that will:

  1. Declare that Ukraine should become a “military state.”
  2. Reallocate more of its approved 2014 budget for military purposes.
  3. Put all military operating units on alert.
  4. Mobilize military and national guard units.
  5. Increase military spending in Ukraine from 1 percent of GDP to 5 percent, increasing military spending by $3 billion over the next few years.
  6. Join NATO and switch to NATO military standards.

Under the guise of democratizing, the West stripped Ukraine of its sovereignty with a U.S.-backed coup, employed it as a foil to advance NATO to the Russian border and reignited the Cold War, complete with another nuclear showdown.

The people of Ukraine will be less free, as their country becomes a “military state,” goes into hock to international banks, faces structural readjustments, privatization of its public assets, decline of social services, higher prices and an even more severe decline in its standard of living.

In its dealings with the European Union, Ukraine could not even get concessions for its citizens to find work throughout Europe. The West does not care about Ukraine, or its people, except for using them to seize a strategic advantage against Russia in the geopolitical game of nations.

Once, with the help of the West, Ukraine fully weighs in as a “military state” and joins the NATO gun club, its annual defense budget will be around $3 billion, compared with the current defense budget of Russia, which is over $70 billion.

Each Western incitement creates a Russian response, which is then given as further proof that the West must prepare for the very conflict it has created, war as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That the recent Russia sanctions bill was advanced, “unanimously,” without debate in the House, portends that our nation is sleepwalking through the graveyards of history, toward an abyss where controlling factors reside in the realm of chance, what Thomas Hardy termed “crass casualty.” Such are the perils of unanimity.

Here is the chain of events and the speeches made:


UKRAINE FREEDOM SUPPORT ACT OF 2014 — (House of Representatives – December 11, 2014)

[Page: H10305] GPO’s PDF

Mr. ROYCE. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Oversight and Government Reform, and the Judiciary be discharged from further consideration of the bill (H.R. 5859) to impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, to provide additional assistance to Ukraine, and for other purposes, and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Wagner). Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

Mr. ENGEL. Madam Speaker, reserving the right to object, although I don’t intend to object, this is a very important measure. We need to send this measure to the President’s desk, and we need to do so tonight. I am delighted that we are doing so.

It is clear that Russia is not only fomenting separatism in Ukraine, it is actively supporting the uprising and sending troops to back it up. This is an invasion, plain and simple.

I am concerned that the Kremlin’s designs don’t stop with Ukraine. Putin is already putting substantial pressure on our NATO allies and our European friends. We must not bow to his aggression.

If we don’t act now, where will we be in 6 months? Where will we be in 2 years? Where will we be in a decade?

Since the Cold War, a vision has emerged of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. That reality is within reach. Putin’s aggression puts that future in dire jeopardy. We cannot let that hope die.

We need to let President Putin know loudly and clearly we will not stand for his blatant disregard of international law, we will not abandon our friends, and, as the United States, we remain the world’s champion of freedom, democracy, and the dignity of all people.

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for sending the House this bill so that we can stand as one in the face of Russia’s aggression. In the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Royce and I, as ranking member, have worked together to say that we will not stand for Putin’s aggression.

I think this is a very, very important thing to do, very important bill to pass.

With that, I withdraw my reservation of objection.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

Ms. KAPTUR. Madam Speaker, reserving the right to object, though I don’t intend to object, I would like to stand this evening and say, as cochair of the Ukranian Caucus, along with my dear colleagues, Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania, and the ranking member of the full committee, Congressman Eliot Engel of New York, I stand in strong support of H.R. 5859, a measure that allows America to shine the hope of liberty to the distant land of Ukraine, a measure that we hope to send to the President’s desk very soon, and we need to move it tonight.

It is clear that Russia is actively fomenting upheaval and propagandizing in the West about its illegal invasion. It is an invasion, plain and simple, of a sovereign nation. The Kremlin’s designs don’t stop with Ukraine, and we see substantial pressure being placed on our NATO allies and other European friends. Liberty cannot bow to Putin’s aggression.

Six months ago, when Russia invaded Ukraine, 4,000 more Ukrainian lives were existing and have been taken. Just according to the U.N. 1,000 additional lives have been lost since the cease-fire that was negotiated in September, and approximately 13 lives per day are being lost.

Since the cold war, a vision has emerged of a Europe whole, free, and at peace, and that reality is within reach. Putin’s reckless aggression cannot stand. The United States cannot let the hope of liberty die, surely, in a land where its people have historically suffered more than any other place on Earth. The ravages of World War II still sting their memory and ours, and motivate our actions here tonight.

By approving H.R. 5859, America sends a clear signal to the world that we are the standard bearer of liberty at home and abroad. I am very pleased to join my colleagues this evening.

I thank the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for sending the House this bill.

With that, I withdraw my reservation of objection.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

There was no objection.

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