House Debates, Defeats Kucinich Resolution Directing Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal
McArthur, Shirl, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
ON MARCH 4 Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), with 17 original co-sponsors, introduced H.Con.Res. 248 "directing the president pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the U.S. Armed Forces from Afghanistan." The simple, one-sentence measure would direct the president to remove U.S. forces from Afghanistan within one month of the resolution's adoption, or no later than Dec. 31, 2010 if the president determines that earlier withdrawal would not be safe.
Many anti-war Democrats, as well as fiscal conservatives in both parties, have opposed President Barack Obama's decision to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan and the $33 billion more for FY '10 that decision will require. So the House Democratic leadership agreed to use Kucinich's resolution as a vehicle for a long-overdue, formal House debate on March 10, followed by a roll-call vote, to allow members the opportunity to go on record expressing their views on the war. During the debate, 21 representatives spoke or submitted statements in favor of the resolution, and 28 spoke or submitted statements opposing it. Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) straddled the fence, saying she shares Kucinich's sentiments but not his schedule. In the end, she voted no. The measure was defeated by a vote of 65-356, with nine members absent. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) was absent, but submitted a statement in favor of the resolution.
The 65 who voted in favor of the resolution were Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Campbell (R-CA), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Danny Davis (D-IL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Mike Doyle (D-PA), John Duncan (R-TN), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Jesse Jackson (D-IL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Timothy Johnson (R-IL), Walter Jones (R-NC), Steve Kagen (D-WI), Kucinich, John Larson (D-CT), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Dan Maffei (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Mike Michaud (D-ME), George Miller (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Richard Neal (D-MA), David Obey (D-WI), John Olver (D-MA), Ron Paul (R-TX), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jared Polis (D-CO), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Bart Stupak (D-MI), John Tierney (D-MA), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Diane Watson (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).
As previously reported, the White House has said the administration plans to submit a supplemental request for the $33 billion more, probably in April. The Capitol Hill publication Roll Callreported that Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Woolsey has said that there will be an effort to put troop withdrawal language into the supplemental funding bill, or at least require a vote on such language.
Yemen Resolution Placed on Senate Calendar
Regarding Yemen, S. Res. 400, introduced in January by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), has gained few co-sponsors, but on March 11 it was reported out of the Foreign Affairs Committee and placed on the Senate calendar. It would request the Obama administration to prepare a joint, comprehensive strategy to address instability in Yemen. The measure also reaffirms the Senate's "commitment to helping prevent state collapse in Yemen, denying terrorists a safe haven, and supporting the people and government of Yemen in dealing with Yemen's profound and interlocking security, development, and economic challenges." It has three new co-sponsors, for a total of six, including Kerry. …