The bill dealing with the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya gave rise to a heated debate as lawmakers voiced frustration over the lack of an end in sight after 10 years of war, a Reuters report stated on Wednesday.
The American people have grown weary of open-ended military conflicts that place our troops in harm's way and add billions to our national debt, Democratic Representative John Conyers said in debate on his proposal to ensure no defense funds could be used to deploy ground troops in Libya. Hoyer said that after backing the Afghanistan war for 10 years, he now supports requiring Obama to begin planning for withdrawal.
The death of Osama bin Laden was a landmark moment, he said. The struggle has not ended with Bin Laden's death, but his death is a moment for reflection on that struggle and how we can best equip ourselves to win it, he added.
Representative Jim McGovern, who sponsored the measure, warned that Obama was likely to start his promised drawdown in Afghanistan in July with a token of perhaps 5,000 troops.
We need to safeguard our national security... but many of our greatest problems aren't halfway around the world, they're halfway down the block. And rather than nation-building in Afghanistan, we need to do some more nation-building right here in the United States, he said.
His proposal, which would have required a withdrawal plan and stepped-up efforts for a political solution, failed on a 204-215 vote. Twenty-six Republicans along with 178 Democrats supported it. Last summer, a similar measure got 162 votes.
A separate proposal by Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz would have required U.S. ground troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, aside from those involved in small, targeted counter-terrorism operations. It failed on a vote of 123-294.