Defense Appropriations bill up for vote soon; call your representative









The Defense Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2013 may come up for a vote in the House of Representatives as early as Tuesday, July 17. The bill includes $519 billion for the basic military budget and $88.5 billion for the Afghanistan war, or 57% of  all 2013 federal appropriations, according to the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation

Several members of Congress, including Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) are expected to offer amendments to cut total spending by anywhere from $1.1 billion to $19 billion.

In addition, Rep. Lee is expected to again offer the amendment she has proposed several times, to limit spending on the Afghanistan war to what is needed for a safe, responsible return home of all U.S. troops and contractors.

Reps. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) are expected to propose an amendment barring use of funds past 2014 on any mission not having Congressional approval.

United for Peace and Justice ( is asking people to call their representatives, urging them to vote Yes on amendments to cut spending, and No on the overall bill unless amendments pass to end funds for the Afghanistan war, end use of drones, and eliminate expensive and unneeded weapons systems.

(Based on an alert from the New Priorities Campaign,

Meanwhile, Republicans in the House continue to push for dismantling or major cuts to all sorts of domestic programs caring for human needs at home …


Homeowners’ rights signed into law











Yesterday (Weds., July 11) Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, legislation to curb financial institutions’ abuses that have robbed many foreclosed homeowners of their homes (see People’s World article posted here on July 3).

The new legislation is to take effect Jan. 1. It’s the country’s first law to put into practice safeguards the states won earlier this year in their settlement with the country’s five largest banks.

It will bar banks from foreclosing while they are negotiating a modification, give homeowners a single point of contact with lending institutions, bar robo-signing (fraudulent signing of mortgage documents), and let borrowers take banks to court when they break the law.

If you’re a reader in California, tell your neighbors and friends about the new safeguards, and work with housing rights organizations to make sure banks live up to the law; if you’re in another state, tell your state legislators to follow California’s lead!

– Marilyn Bechtel