Last week for the first time, the majority of Democrats voted in favor of the Lee Amendment limiting funding for the Afghanistan War to the safe and orderly withdrawal of US troops and security contractors. (101 ayes, 79 Noes). This represents a sea-change of opinion from the time that Rep. Barbara Lee stood alone among her House colleagues eleven years ago, challenging the wisdom of the war. It is unfortunately no surprise that this amendment was defeated 113-303. However, in our upcoming work it will be important to emphasize that the President’s political base is now in clear opposition to his Afghanistan war policy.
On the 2013 NDAA as a whole (HR 4310) we did better than anticipated with a final vote of 120 Noes and 299 Ayes. Fortunately the majority of Democrats voted against the 2013 NDAA. (104-77). The reasons for Democratic voting on this item are ambiguous because the White House itself was displeased with the final version of the bill and because civil liberties was also an important concern. Yet clearly for many Democrats a major factor was the size of the military budget at a time when domestic programs are under attack.
Going forward, it seems possible that with greater unity we might achieve a better result in the next round of votes. The bill now goes to the Senate, where there will be various efforts to shorten the American stay in Afghanistan and to cut billions from the Pentagon budget. Our Legislative Working Group will continue to support these initiatives, as well as stronger amendments to end the war in Afghanistan and to garner more NO votes against the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.
Roll Call for 2013 Defense Authorization Act:
Many thanks for everyone who did the Congressional Calls last week. If you obtained any additional information from a Congressional Office, please pass along to