Peace Action Responds to House Votes on Afghanistan War Funding

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Paul Kawika Martin
951-217-7285, pmartin@peace-action.org

Peace Action Responds to House Votes on Afghanistan War Funding

WASHINGTON - Peace Action, the nation’s largest grassroots
peace group, said that the votes in House of Representatives tonight on
Afghanistan showed that Congress is losing patience for the longest war
in history.

“A
year ago, American voters turned against the Afghanistan war.  They
understand that the enormous costs of blood and treasure are not
necessarily making us safer.  Congress is slowly catching up with their
constituents.  The votes in the House showed increasing congressional
concern for a failed policy in the Afghanistan region at a time when
Representatives are thinking about elections four months from now,”
stated Paul Kawika Martin, the group’s policy and political director.
President
Obama asked for an additional $33 billion dollars for his escalation
strategy in Afghanistan in an “emergency” supplemental.  The Senate
attached the funds to a FEMA emergency supplemental the House passed. 
The House voted to concur with the Senate and voted on four amendments
including one that passed by Chairman Obey to add $10 Billion for
teachers and other monies.
25
Representatives voted to strike all Afghanistan military funding while
22 voted “present” despite the risk of being criticized for not
supporting the troops.  On a bipartisan vote, 100 Representatives voted
for the Lee amendment to fully fund the withdraw from Afghanistan.  The
most impressive vote was the 162 Representatives including 9
Republicans for the comprehensive McGovern (D-MA)-Obey (D-WI)-Jones
(R-NC) amendment.  Nearly two-thirds of the President’s party voted for
an exit strategy and other significant restrictions.  All these votes
are significantly stronger than past votes opposing the war.
The
McGovern (D-MA)-Obey (D-WI)-Jones (R-NC) amendment would have required
the president to present Congress with 1) a new National Intelligence
Estimate on Afghanistan by January 31, 2011 and 2) a plan by April 4,
2011 on the safe, orderly and expeditious redeployment of U.S. troops
from Afghanistan, including a timeframe for the completion of the
redeployment.  The amendment also requires Congress to vote by July
2011 if it wants to allow the obligation and expenditure of funds for
Afghanistan in a manner that is not consistent with the president's
announced policy of December 2009 to begin to drawdown troops by July
2011.   The amendment also requires quarterly reports to Congress on
the status of the plan submitted to Congress and strengthens and
expands oversight of private contractors in Afghanistan to deal more
effectively with corruption, waste, fraud and abuse.  Last, the
amendment clarifies that no part of the amendment shall limit the
president's ability to attack al Qaeda, gather and share intelligence
with allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or modify U.S. military
strategy on-the-ground over the period of redeployment.
The
amendment offered by Barbara Lee (D-CA) would have limited would limit
funds for military operations in Afghanistan for only force protection
and to begin the redeployment of all troops and military contractors.
Martin,
who travelled to Afghanistan late last year, concluded “it’s time to
transition from more military spending to investing in diplomacy,
development and economic stimulus that creates long-term stability in
the region.  The political approach is the only solution now and we
will have to borrow less from China to do it.”
Full text of the amendments can be downloaded here:

 

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Founded in 1957, Peace Action, the United States' largest peace and disarmament organization with over 100,000 members and nearly 100 chapters in 34 states, works to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs and encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights.

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