Today, the House of Representatives approved President Obama’s $96.7 billion dollar supplemental for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 368-60.51 Democrats voting against the supplemental were joined by 9 Republicans. Click here to see how your representative voted.
The supplemental continues a military approach to fighting terrorism, allocating roughly 9 times more money for military tools than civilian ones. Given the long, well-documented failure of military means of fighting terrorism, the strategy funded by the supplemental is likely to be counterproductive. The bill also lacks benchmarks to ensure its objectives are met and an exit strategy from Afghanistan. You can see a breakdown of the funding by clicking here.
Amendments to the supplemental were not allowed. However, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced a bill (HR 2404) today requiring the Department of Defense to come up with an exit strategy from Afghanistan by the end of this year. This bipartisan bill has significant support. Peace Action West and other organizations have encouraged constituents to urge their representatives to cosponsor the bill. Already, 73 representatives have signed on. In his statement on the supplemental and his exit strategy bill, Rep. McGovern said,
Everyone I know – including President Obama – keeps telling me that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, only a political solution.
And I believe this, too.
So, I’m very concerned when we put billions of dollars into building up our troops and the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan without a clear mission – and without an exit strategy.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the supplemental next week. Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved their version of the supplemental, totaling $91.3 billion. $85 billion goes to funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.