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Congress Alert

Rep. Walter Jones: Congress Should Decide if US Military Stays in Afghanistan


Rep. Walter Jones, speaking on the US House of Representatives floor yesterday morning, called on Congress to exercise its constitutional power over US military policy in Afghanistan. In particular, Jones insisted that Congress debate and vote on the matter instead of acquiescing to keeping the US military in Afghanistan for ten more years under a bilateral security agreement being negotiated by US President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

Near the conclusion of his four minutes speech Jones states:
To the American soldier, I'm sorry to say, but, if we don't do our job in congress, you will be [in Afghanistan] until 2024.

Watch Jones's speech here starting at time marker 14:18.

Richard Engel's NBC article Endless Afghanistan that is quoted in Jones's speech may be read here.

Jones, an RPI Advisory Board member, has long opposed the war in Afghanistan. Jones's speech yesterday follows his powerful speech last month calling for an end to wasting US lives and money in Afghanistan.

On January 4, during the first week of the current congress, Rep. Barbara Lee introduced H.R. 200, the Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act, that would use congress's "power of the purse" to end the US military presence in Afghanistan. HR 200 has 41 cosponsors, including Jones—the lead Republican cosponsor. Below is Lee's short, simple bill:

H.R. 200

To provide that funds for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated and expended only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act”.

SEC. 2. Statement of policy.

It is the policy of the United States to ensure that funds made available for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan are to be used only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.

SEC. 3. Limitation on use of funds for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

(a) Limitation.—Funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated and expended only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.

(b) Rule of construction.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed—

(1) to authorize the use of funds for the continuation of combat operations in Afghanistan while carrying out the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan; and

(2) to prohibit or otherwise restrict the use of funds available to any department or agency of the United States to carry out diplomatic efforts or humanitarian, development, or general reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.
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