A bipartisan Senate amendment to withdraw the remaining 8,600 U.S. troops from Afghanistan—ending a bloody war that has dragged on for nearly two decades—failed Wednesday after 16 Democrats joined 44 Republicans in voting to table the measure, effectively guaranteeing it will not be included in the chamber's $740.5 billion National Defense Authorization Act.
Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at Peace Action, applauded Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) in a statement for forcing senators to go on the record with their amendment, which would have required the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan within a year and brought an end to the 19-year war—the longest in American history.
"The pandemic clearly shows that expensive endless wars that cost $6 trillion from taxpayers make Americans less safe as they take funds from critical needs like healthcare," said Martin.
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Below are the 16 members of the Senate Democratic caucus who voted with nearly every Republican to table the Afghanistan amendment:
- Richard Blumenthal (Conn.)
- Tom Carper (Del.)
- Chris Coons (Del.)
- Dianne Feinstein (Calif.)
- Maggie Hassan (N.H.)
- Doug Jones (Ala.)
- Angus King (Maine)
- Joe Manchin (W.Va.)
- Bob Menendez (N.J.)
- Chris Murphy (Conn.)
- Jack Reed (R.I.)
- Jacky Rosen (Nev.)
- Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.)
- Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz)
- Mark Warner (Va.)
- Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.)
The Paul-Udall amendment would also have repealed the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, Congress' sweeping legal green light for the deployment of U.S. troops to Afghanistan that was subsequently used by the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations to justify military action in Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and other nations as part of the so-called "war on terror."
"American voters agree we must end endless wars," said Martin. "After nearly 19 years, over 147,000 casualties and total costs over a trillion dollars, it's long past time to bring troops home and invest in political, diplomatic, and development tools. Yet, the Senate voted against debating to end the wars."