This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) that would have cut off funding for U.S. military combat operations in Afghanistan. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Specifically, Lee’s amendment cut $33 billion from the underlying Defense bill’s allocation for overseas military operations. Lee stated that the intent of the amendment was to facilitate a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Lee urged support for her amendment: “We need to bring our troops home safely and swiftly, and that is why I am offering this amendment. This war is costing us too much. With over 1,600 troops killed and tens of thousands more seriously wounded in Afghanistan, the human toll continues to mount every day. And we have already spent over $400 billion fighting in Afghanistan. It is past time to admit that we can no longer afford to send more blank checks for a war without end….With no military solution, we need to redirect these funds to job creation and supporting those efforts for the most vulnerable, including those who have been unemployed for over 2 years and have no more unemployment benefits…. The American people are sick and tired of this war and the massive unending spending that it requires.”
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) opposed Lee’s amendment: “…The gentlewoman [Rep. Lee] has an amendment to reduce the overseas contingency operation--aka the war on terror--by $33 billion. She intends for this amendment to support, as she says, an orderly withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. However, such a reduction would, in fact, severely disrupt and suspend a redeployment from Afghanistan. The magnitude of her funding reduction would also threaten the ability to support troop pay and safety….If the redeployment from Afghanistan were to be accelerated, there would be significant increases in personnel, equipment, and transportation costs in fiscal year 2012.”
The House rejected Lee’s amendment by a vote of 97-322. Voting “yea” were 87 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 10 Republicans. 227 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have cut off funding for U.S. military combat operations in Afghanistan.