Friday, July 2, 2010

Updating the US House Vote for/against War Escalation

July 1, 2010
10:55 PM

CONTACT: Peace Action
Paul Kawika Martin
Peace Action Responds to House Votes on Afghanistan War Funding
WASHINGTON - July 1 - 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 time-frame 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 draw-down 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 limit funds for military operations in Afghanistan for only force protection and to begin the redeployment of all troops and military contractors.

Martin, who traveled 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


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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Peace Action, formerly SANE and the Freeze, is the nation's largest grassroots peace

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