Cut Off War Funds by Stopping the Congressional Discharge Petition

UPDATED March 30:  No signatures while Congress is out of session – which means the Easter recess puts a stop to it until Monday, April 8.

Nothing can justify a genocide.  And nothing can justify providing weaponry and support for those conducting a genocide.

Nevertheless, the US Senate on February 13 passed a bill that provides billions for Israel’s slaughter of tens of thousands of Palestinians.  It authorizes $14 billion dollars in military aid for Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza.  And it passed the Senate on February 13 by a vote of 70 to 29.  Of those opposing this heinous bill, whose names can be found here, 26 were Republican; only three were not.  One of that tiny trio, Senator Merkley commented, “I cannot vote to send more bombs and shells to Israel when they are using them in an indiscriminate manner against Palestinian civilians.”  His stance is to be applauded although the term “indiscriminate” is not simply the understatement of the century but blatantly euphemistic since Israel’s bombardments are carefully targeted.

However, whether Republican or Democrat or Independent, those who took a stand against the war and genocide that this Senate bill represents deserve praise.  The establishment of both major Parties favored it as did many pressure groups, including pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian voices.  So those opposing the bill will certainly be targeted and pay a price unless they receive support.  So, look for your Senator on the list of “Yeas” and “Nays” for the bill.  The “Nays” deserve praise and support, both public and private, and the “Yeas” a solid dose of opprobrium.

The bill also provides $61 billion to fund the Ukraine proxy war to “weaken” Russia, in the words of DOD Secretary Lloyd Austin, and $5 billion to Taiwan and other US allies as part of the  military portion of the “Pivot” to China’s neighborhood.   We shall return to these provisions below.

“Discharge Petition”

The Senate bill has now been forwarded to the House.  And there it has encountered an impasse, because Speaker Johnson has refused to bring the measure to the floor of the House for a vote.  And a small band of MAGA Republicans has committed to remove him from Speakership if he does so.  If challenged Speaker, Johnson needs a majority vote, that is, 218 votes, to remain as Speaker.  But the GOP has a razor thin majority, only 219 members; and so, a very small, determined minority can remove a Speaker, as former Speaker Kevin McCarthy ruefully learned.  Such a minority has emerged and has promised to remove the Speaker if he brings the Senate bill to the floor of the House.

In response, the pro-genocide, prowar forces have hit on a way to bypass Speaker Johnson and get a vote on the Senate bill.  They are employing a time-honored, but not widely known, element of Roberts Rules, a “Discharge Petition” which works in the following way in the House.  If a majority of House members sign a petition to bring a bill out of a committee where it is being considered (that is, “discharge” the committee of responsibility and put the matter in the hands of the entire House), then the bill comes to the floor for a vote.  Thus, the Speaker can be bypassed if a majority signs such a petition.

Such a Discharge Petition has been initiated by the ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee, James McGovern.  McGovern signed and began to circulate the Petition on March 12, and as of March 22, it had garnered 191 signatures, all but one of them Democrats!

Progressives for Genocide and War

The 191 Democrat signatures (out of 213 in the House) on the nefarious Discharge Petition is yet another body blow to the idea that the Democrat Party is a party of peace.  But what about the Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus?  Among their goals they list: “Ending our forever wars, cutting the bloated Pentagon budget, and prioritizing diplomacy.”

There are about 96 voting House members in the Progressive Caucus and 74 of these have signed on to the Discharge Petition!  Only 22 members of the Progressive Caucus, a distinct minority, have not signed the pro-genocide, prowar Petition.  We should encourage these 22 to stick to their position; without them the Discharge Petition may gather enough support to pass.

This is of such importance that it is worth providing a list of the courageous Representatives that deserve support in their opposition to the Discharge Petition.  Here they are (in alphabetical order):

Bowman, Jamaal, (NY); Bush, Cori, (MO); Carson, Andre, (IN); Casar, Greg, (TX); Castro, Joaquín, (TX); Cherfilus-McCormack, Sheila, (FL); Dingell, Debbie, (MI); Frost, Maxwell, (FL); Garcia, Jesus G. “Chuy,” (IL); Grijalva, Raul, (CA); Gomez, Jimmy, (CA); Khanna, Ro, (CA); Lee, Barbara, (CA); Lee, Summer, (PA); Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandra, (NY); Omar, Ilhan (MN); Pocan, Mark, (WI); Presley, Ayanna, (MA); Ramirez, Delia, (IL); Tlaib, Rashida, (MI); Velazquez, Nydia, (NY); Watson-Coleman, Bonnie, (NJ).  If any of these is your Congressperson, contact them and tell them you respect and support their position on the Discharge Petition.  But if your Congressional Rep is one of the 191 who have signed onto the petition, then tell them to remove their signature before it is too late.


UPDATED March 30:  No signatures while Congress is out of session – which means the Easter recess puts a stop to it until Monday, April 8.

What about support for the Ukraine proxy war?  Nothing can justify omnicide

Unfortunately, there are many inside and Congress and out who support the Ukraine proxy war.  Some of them argue that they support the Senate bill because it has funding for arms to Ukraine.  But because the same bill contains arms for Israel, this comes down to arguing that supporting a genocide is justified in order to get support for the Ukraine proxy war.  Remember what we said at the very outset.  Nothing can justify support for a genocide – and certainly support for another war cannot do so.

In fact, there is one thing that is worse than genocide and that is omnicide, the destruction or near destruction of the human species in a nuclear war.  And the Ukraine proxy war puts us on the road to nuclear war with the world’s most powerful nuclear armed force, Russia.  Similarly, arming of Taiwan against China puts us on the road to nuclear omnicide.

So, let’s get to work.  Call upon your Congressional Rep to oppose the pro-genocide, pro-omnicide Discharge Petition and refuse to sign it.  If they have already refused to sign the Petition, praise them to the skies.  And ask them to call on other Reps to do the same.  If they have signed the nefarious petition, call on them to withdraw their signatures.

Defeat of the Discharge Petition is a big step forward for those who wish to put us on the road to peace.

Author: John V. Walsh

John V. Walsh writes about issues of war, peace, empire, and health care for, Consortium News,, The Unz Review, and other outlets. Now living in the East Bay, he was until recently Professor of Physiology and Cellular Neuroscience at a Massachusetts Medical School. John V. Walsh can be reached at