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If You Can't Impeach 'Em, Censure 'Em

August 6, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) announced this morning that they have introduced resolutions to censure President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Censure is a procedure that is used to reprimand a public official without implying any legal consequences. It is one of the only ways Congress can formally distance themselves from the administration without moving to impeach, a proposal that has long been considered “off the table.”

“These censure resolutions will let future generations know that Congress stood up to the destructive policies of this administration that have weakened our national security, cost more than 3,600 American lives, and undermined the principles on which our country was founded,” Feingold stated in a press release. So far, OpenCongress has not yet only received the full text of the House bill (the Senate version is identical). The press release previews and summarizes what is in them:

>The censure resolutions regarding Iraq, S.Res.302 and H.Res.625, condemn the president and vice president for:
>

  • Misleading the nation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime and about Saddam’s links to al Qaeda and 9/11
    >
  • Inadequate planning for military action in Iraq
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  • Overstraining the military and undermining homeland security
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  • Misleading the nation about the strength of the insurgency
    >
    >
    >The censure resolutions regarding the rule of law, S.Res.303 and H.Res.626, condemn the president and attorney general for:
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  • Authorizing the illegal NSA warrantless wiretapping program
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  • Pursuing extreme policies concerning torture and the treatment of detainees
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  • Detaining enemy combatants indefinitely without charges, access to a lawyer, or habeas rights
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  • Unilaterally authorizing flawed military commissions that were subsequently struck down by the Supreme Court
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  • Misleading Congress and the public about, and obstructing investigations into, the firings of U.S. Attorneys
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  • Making misleading statements regarding civil liberties abuses under the Patriot Act
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  • Undermining acts of Congress with signing statements based on extreme theories of executive power

We have not yet received the information for H.Res.625 and H.Res.626, Hinchey’s censure bills in the House that are identical to Feingold’s bills. We’ll update with links to their OpenCongress pages as soon as the information is made available. For now, if you want to see a list of the 19 representatives that have already signed onto them as co-sponsors, look here.

UPDATE: Full text of both House bills are now available. The Senate bills are identical (we’ve only received one of those). Follow the links above to the House bill pages and click on the “See Full Bill Text” buttons to view all the reasons Feingold and Hinchey want to admonish the administration.

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