Congressman Garamendi on Afghanistan Troop Announcement
WALNUT GROVE, CA – Today, President Obama announced a plan to bring 22,000 troops home by the end of 2014, thus reducing the troop level to 9,800 servicemembers. Approximately half that number would remain at the end of 2015, and nearly all military personnel would be brought back by the end of 2016. In response to this announcement Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee whose district is home to Travis and Beale Air Force bases, issued the following statement:
“While I always welcome news of servicemembers returning home from Afghanistan, I remain deeply concerned about the scope and length of our continued military involvement in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
“The authorization to use military force in Afghanistan was passed by Congress 13 years ago. Much has changed during America's longest war. Congress needs to have a serious debate on the role of our military and foreign aid in Afghanistan. We owe at least this much to our brave men and women in uniform who have sacrificed so much."
Garamendi co-sponsored an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Afghanistan past 2014. The House of Representatives was denied the ability to vote on this McGovern-Jones-Smith-Lee-Garamendi amendment by House Republican Leadership. He also co-sponsored a separate Schiff-Garamendi amendment calling for the repeal of the 2001 AUMF. The repeal would have taken effect one year after the NDAA’s enactment, giving Congress and the Administration enough time to craft a more specific, updated authorization. The House narrowly voted against this amendment, but it received more votes this year than a similar amendment did in 2013.