Nearly two dozen activists clogged a small conference room in Congressmember Susan Davis' City Heights office last Thursday and talked Davis aide Todd Gloria's ear off for more than an hour. They expressed their displeasure with Davis' vote earlier this year against an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would have severely limited the president's ability to wage war against Iran. They also urged Davis to cosponsor a more recent Iran resolution sponsored by Hawaii Congressmember Neil Abercrombie, and they said they wanted Davis to step up and be more of a leader on matters of foreign policy.
One member of the group said Davis is “too nice.”
The group's efforts yielded almost immediate dividends. Davis spokesperson Aaron Hunter told CityBeat on Tuesday that Davis will cosponsor the nonbinding Abercrombie resolution, which says that neither the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 nor “any resolution previously adopted, or any other provision of law” gives the president the authority to attack Iran.
The activists were part of a nationwide movement organized by the liberal group MoveOn.org to put pressure on House members to get behind Abercrombie.
Hunter said Davis “recognizes that they have a mission that they're on to try to get support for this position, and she's happy to help them with their cause, but maintaining congressional authority over going to war with Iran has always been a priority for her.”
Davis voted against the earlier defense appropriations amendment, introduced by Oregon Congressmember Peter DeFazio, because it contained language that was too restrictive in the U.S.'s ability to prevent war by military means, Hunter said. He said that if President Kennedy had been under such restrictions, he might not have been able to thwart the Cuban Missile Crisis. San Diego's other Democrat in Congress, Bob Filner, voted for the DeFazio amendment.
Alan Bennett, a local MoveOn.org activist, was thrilled to hear the news. “We're very appreciative that Representative Davis has made this very significant commitment to constitutional law and to the historic exercise of the war powers authority from the Constitution,” he said.