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November 19, 2002

November 19, 2002

Evening Homeland Security Bill Update

 

As many of you witnessed on c-span at different times during the day the Homeland Security Bill was discussed.  CTVIA has received requests from members trying to understand what occurred today.  To that end, we will try to briefly explain today’s activities surrounding the Homeland Security Bill. 

 

First, a very brief background on this bill, the Senate and the House previously voted for two different versions of a Homeland Security Bill.  Since they were different it caused a conference committee to be called where both versions were discussed and a final revised bill was agreed upon.  The result of that revised bill was known as HR5701 in the House and was posted last Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2002, at 5:17 AM for the public to view it.  The House passed that version last Wednesday night by a vote of 299 to 121 opposed and 11 who did not vote. The Senate then introduced the Senate Amendment 4901, known as the Thompson Amendment, which was the same exact language as HR 5701.

 

Today, the Lieberman-Daschle amendment was voted on which failed by 47 to 52 with 1 person not voting which was Senator Kennedy (D-MA).  The Lieberman amendment would have allowed families of mercury vaccine injured children to sue the manufacturers.  Had that amendment passed it would have caused the Homeland Security Bill to go back to the house, which could have potentially killed the bill.

 

Then a very brief discussion on the Thompson Amendment, known as S4901 and which was the same language as HR 5701, ensued.  In a valiant attempt to get the Senators to think about their actions, Sen. Byrd (D-WV) insisted that they discuss the budget aspects of S4901 under a 1970s Budget guideline, since the government was assuming all liability for the vaccine manufacturers, which would obviously cause the U.S. budget to increase if, the Homeland Security bill was passed.  Sen. Gramm (R-TX) immediately requested that a vote be called to waive the discussion on the budget aspects of S4901.  This vote to waive the discussion passed with 69 to 30, which meant that no discussion on the budgetary affects of S4901 would occur. 

 

At that point, Amendment S4901 was voted on so that it would become S5005 the official Homeland Security Bill.  (This was still the same exact language as HR 5701.)  S4901 became the official Homeland Security Bill that would later be voted on by a vote of 73 to 26 with Sen. Kennedy, again not voting.

 

Cloture was invoked.  This meant that there would be 30 hours permitted for debate on the Homeland Security bill.  Since the Senators had plans to leave by the end of the week for Thanksgiving holidays and since there were other issues to discuss and no other amendments could be brought forward the Senate decided to finally vote on the Homeland Security bill at approximately 7:30 PM EST.  The Senate passed the Homeland Security bill in a vote of 90 for and 9 opposed with Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) not voting.

 

The Homeland Security bill will now go to President Bush to either veto, which is very unlikely, or be signed into law.  You may still contact President Bush at 202-456-1111, email at president@whitehouse.gov or fax at 202-456-2461.

 

Many groups worked very closely together in getting the word out to their members and even other organizations so that they could have their voice heard.

 

As an organization, we are not giving up on fixing this bill. We will work with national groups, such as the National Vaccine Information Center http://www.909shot.com, and all the state sister organizations such Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education, http://www.vaccineinfo.net

 

CTVIA would like to make three suggestions for taking action at this time.

 

  1. Contact President Bush and request that he veto the Homeland Security Bill.
  2. Since many people besides Connecticut residents get these email updates consider joining the National organization, National Vaccine Information Center, http://www.909shot.com   When you become a member of NVIC request the information on your state organization.  There are many state organizations.  If there is not one in your area consider starting one.  Once you make contact with your state organization be sure to join it so that you can be kept up-to-date with legislative activities in your state.  Offer to volunteer.  All the state organizations, including CTVIA is run by volunteers who have dedicated enumerable hours to the issue of informed consent and vaccine safety for all citizens.  The only way to improve a situation is for people to get involved.
  3. Seriously consider sending a thank you note to the following 9 Senators who stood alone against the Homeland Security bill.   They took a tremendous amount of heat and should be thanked for standing in the gap.  Consider making it personal by sending a drawing from your child as a thank you.  While there is no guarantee, the Senators who are appreciated will probably be more willing to go to bat next year to fix this horrible piece of legislation.  The Senators who voted NO are below.

 

Finally, if you have found this information helpful and would like to get on the free Email list of CTVIA visit http://www.ctvia.org and click on “Sign Up for Free Email List” on the left side of our screen.  If you would like to get more information on vaccine issues please check out our newsletters section online.  CTVIA newsletters cover all the vaccine congressional hearings, except those on anthrax.

 

To view the rest of the congressional votes you may visit: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/vote_menu_107_2.htm

 

Thank you for your dedication to letting people know about this issue.  On a personal note, thank you to NVIC and all the state leaders for all their efforts.  Your perseverance and dedication was not in vain.  To the CTVIA volunteers who helped us get the word out, thank you will never be sufficient.  All of those who stepped up to the plate, who sat on hold to talk for their Senators, who forwarded emails and other things are to be commended.

 

CTVIA will keep you informed as other legislative/congressional activities occur.

 

The Senators who voted NO on Homeland Security Bill on November 19, 2002 are as follows.

 

Akaka, Daniel - (D - HI)

141 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-6361

E-mail: senator@akaka.senate.gov

 

Byrd, Robert - (D - WV)

311 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-3954

E-mail: senator_byrd@byrd.senate.gov

 

Feingold, Russell - (D - WI)

506 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-5323

E-mail: russell_feingold@feingold.senate.gov

 

Hollings, Ernest - (D - SC)

125 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-6121

E-mail: http://hollings.senate.gov/email.htmlhttp://inouye.senate.gov/webform.html (You have to go to this link and type in your comments.)

 

Jeffords, James - (I - VT)

728 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-5141

E-mail: vermont@jeffords.senate.gov

 

Kennedy, Edward - (D - MA)

317 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-4543

E-mail: senator@kennedy.senate.gov

 

Levin, Carl - (D - MI)

269 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-6221

E-mail: senator@levin.senate.gov

 

Sarbanes, Paul - (D - MD)

309 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-4524

E-mail: http://sarbanes.senate.gov/pages/email.html