Lee’s next Darfur bill advances

lee3.jpgThe House Financial Services Committee today unanimously approved Rep. Barbara Lee’s bill to bar international companies whose business in Sudan supports the genocide in Darfur from receiving taxpayer-funded federal contracts. The bill is now scheduled for a floor vote next Monday.

“No one should have to worry that they are supporting genocide, whether it’s through their tax dollars or their pension fund,” Lee, D-Oakland, said in a release. “This bill is designed to wash the blood off of our federal contracts, protect the rights of states to divest their own public pension funds from companies doing business in Sudan and increase the financial pressure on Khartoum to end the genocide in Darfur.”

This is Lee’s third Darfur bill to reach a floor vote this year. The House in April voted 425-1 for her resolution urging the Arab League to acknowledge and step up its efforts to end the genocide. (The one dissenter was Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, R-Texas, who never votes for legislation unless it’s expressly authorized by the Constitution.) And the House in June voted 410-0 for her resolution urging China “to use its unique influence and economic leverage” to influence the Khartoum regime. Both those earlier bills are now pending in the U.S. Senate.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.