Making History

For the past few weeks I’ve been pestering Senator Jon Kyl’s legislative aide, Peter, about the senator’s co-sponsorship of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act.  A couple of weeks ago, he assured me that Kyl had co-sponsored (something he rarely does), but we had no proof.  I bugged him again. Yesterday, he told me it was officially reported to Senator Russ Feingold’s office (one of the two original sponsors).  I was elated! And I was even more elated to hear this. In short, Kyl was the bill’s 51st co-sponsor in the Senate, making this the first sub-Saharan Africa-related bill to be supported by a majority of the Upper House since at least 1973 (maybe even earlier, that’s as far back as electronic records go).  Four senators got together to announce this landmark, showing unprecedented bipartisan support. If you’re interested, you can find some good excerpts from their announcement on Feingold’s site here.  The support in the Senate is great, but we’ve still got a ways to go:

Bad news is, the bill already would have passed the Senate if it wasn’t for one fiscal conservative. A while back, Senators Feingold and Brownback hot-lined the bill for passage, meaning it would automatically get 100 yeas unless a senator specifically blocked it. Right before the deadline, an anonymous hold was put on the bill. We now know that Senator Coburn is standing in the way of the best chance to end the longest-running war in the most conflict-heavy continent. In addition to that, the House is stalling.  150 representatives have co-sponsored, but we’ll keep pushing.  I’m trying to set up meetings with Mitchell’s and Flake’s district offices, so we’ll see. Got to keep fighting the good fight!

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