The House of Representatives is expected today or tomorrow to hold the most important votes on bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan since the war began 10 years ago.
When President Obama sent 30,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan, he promised that the U.S. would begin withdrawal of those forces by July 2011 with all combat troops out by 2014.
The outcome of these House votes could influence the President’s decision in July on the first troop withdrawals and indicate rising congressional opposition to the large American troop presence in Afghanistan.
And with these votes, Congress has its best chance in a decade to bring the U.S. troops home.
The two key amendments, to be offered to the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Authorization bill, are:
McGovern (D-MA), Jones (R-NC), Loretta Sanchez (CA), Amash (R-MI), Lewis (D-GA), Paul (R-TX), Cicilline (D-RI) and Welch (D-VT) amendment requiring a plan and a timeframe for an accelerated transition of military operations from U.S. to Afghan authorities, and other provisions.
Chaffetz (R-UT) and Welch (D-VT) amendment requiring U.S. ground troops to withdraw from Afghanistan aside from those involved in small, targeted counter-terrorism operations.
Both amendments are expected to have substantial Republican support.
Last year, the greatest number of votes against the Afghanistan War came on July 1, 2010, when the House defeated 162-260 an amendment by McGovern and now retired Rep. David Obey (D-WI) to require a withdrawal timeline.
If the Republican-controlled House can produce more votes than last year’s Democratic-controlled House, it would be a clear indication of declining war support in both parties.
The U.S. war in Afghanistan is the longest in our history, surpassing even the Vietnam War. We are in a quagmire with no end in sight.