More Child Brides, Please

Zuma/<a href="http://zumapress.com/zpdtl.html?IMG=20090305_cob_p79_876.jpg&CNT=2">Louie Palu</a>

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Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) has yet to assume the gavel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But in these waning days of the 111th congress, she’s wasting no time hacking away at this country’s credibility as a champion of basic human decency. Her most recent masterpiece: killing a bill that commits the country to combating forced child marriages abroad, and directs the Obama administration to develop a multi-year strategy to address the issue. Ros-Lehtinen’s objections? That it’s too expensive, and could be used to promote abortions.

Under normal procedure, the 241 votes the bill received on Thursday would’ve been enough to win its passage. But thanks to a rule (designed to expedite legislation by disallowing additional changes) invoked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) the bill needed a two-thirds majority—or 290 yeas—to pass, a vote count that supporters of the bill from both parties still expected to meet easily. After all, its Dick-Durbin-penned cousin in the Senate passed unanimously.

Ros-Lehtinen tried to thwart the bill by raising concerns over its five-year, $108 million price tag. But once she failed, it should have been smooth sailing. Foreign Policy‘s Josh Rogin breaks down what happened next:

[A]bout one hour before the vote, every Republican House office received a message on the bill from GOP leadership, known as a Whip Alert, saying that leadership would vote “no” on the bill and encouraging all Republicans do the same. The last line on the alert particularly shocked the bill’s supporters.

“There are also concerns that funding will be directed to NGOs that promote and perform abortion and efforts to combat child marriage could be usurped as a way to overturn pro-life laws,” the alert read.

But the bill doesn’t even include any abortion-related funding. Still, Ros-Lehtinen’s blast was enough to scare off any remaining pro-lifers who hadn’t been sufficiently freaked out by her warnings about its cost.

Ros-Lehtinen’s efforts to thwart this bill show that she wants to do as much as she can, as early as she can, to frustrate plans to improve the mechanics of diplomacy. In what should have been a win for bipartisan decency, scare tactics won the day. Between Ros-Lehtinen’s unwavering skepticism of global diplomacy, hard-line approach towards Iran and North Korea, and unabashed slamming of the State Department and foreign operations, it’s becoming clear what sort of foreign policy course the GOP intends to chart over the next two years: one that dismisses the pursuit of humane objectives.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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