Today's the day! Congress will vote on the SOA! Print

Congress Will Vote Today on SOA/ WHINSEC Amendment

As early as this afternoon, Representatives Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and John Lewis of Georgia will introduce their amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill to cut funding for the School of the Americas, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC)!

The vote will happen today, possibly as late as 9 or 10 p.m. Keep an eye out for another email from SOA Watch ? we?ll let you know as soon as debate begins. You should be able to view or listen to that House debate on C-SPAN: (At the bottom of the page, click on "Live Stream").

It?s still important that you continue to contact Congress today to let Members know they have constituents who support human rights and the closing of the SOA/ WHINSEC. See below for a sample script.

Call Congress at 202-224-3121 or toll free at 888-355-3588.

Send an email and fax to your Representative: It only takes a minute! (Be sure to click the ?Send a Fax? box to have the fax sent). Use the template message on that page as a starting point for your message to your Member of Congress.

Background: The School of the Americas is a military training facility for Latin American security personnel located at Fort Benning, Georgia. The school catapulted into the headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used there for at least 10 years that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this shocking admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the training facility has ever taken place. Read more at

It?s been six years since our last vote in Congress, and it?s the work of so many people struggling for justice in the Americas that has gotten us to where we are today. Don't slow down now! We are so close. Visit the Legislative Action Index for more information:

Once again, please take a few minutes today to call the DC office of your Representative through the Capitol Hill Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or toll free at 1-888-355-3588. Ask to speak with the foreign affairs legislative assistant.

Here is a suggested message for you to convey:

"I am calling Congressman/woman ________ to urge him/her to vote YES on the McGovern amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. This amendment is a cut in funding for the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC. New information indicates that WHINSEC has allowed known human rights abusers to instruct and receive training at the school. Argentina and Uruguay are two more countries that have made public announcements they will no longer send students to the school, citing the negative image and history of this institution. Voting YES on this amendment sends a positive human rights message to Latin America and will help to improve the U.S. image abroad. As an elected official in Washington D.C., I hope you will represent me and vote YES on any amendment in the House that would cut funding for the school."
For more information,, visit the SOA Watch website at and the Legislative Action Index at