Click here for a video of Congressman
Garamendi's speech on his Afghanistan amendment
Congressmen John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) and Walter Jones (R-Greenville, North Carolina), members of the House Armed Services Committee, offered a bipartisan amendment to the 2013 Defense Appropriations bill that would have reduced spending on the war in Afghanistan by $12.7 billion and applied these savings to deficit reduction.
The Republican led House of Representatives rejected fiscal responsibility by failing to approve the measure, which fell by a vote of 279-136.
The Republican budget for the war in Afghanistan is based on the assumption that we will have 68,000 troops through September 30th, 2013 – the end of Fiscal Year 2013. But this is not the plan that our Commander in Chief has put forth.
As President Obama has repeatedly stated, we are winding down this war. After withdrawing surge troops by the end of this summer, which brings us to 68,000 at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2013, we will continue to bring our troops home from Afghanistan at "a steady pace."
This Garamendi amendment captures the $12.7 billion that would be saved by pursuing the steady drawdown of troops, as opposed to maintaining troop levels at 68,000 through the end of the fiscal year.
The amendment does not cut funding for troops on the ground in Afghanistan.
"I believe, as do all of my colleagues who have advocated for an accelerated end to this war, that our troops in harm's way should have all of the resources they need to safely execute their mission. I am committed to ensuring our troops on the ground have the best equipment and the compensation they deserve," said Congressman Garamendi.
This amendment does cut Afghanistan war funds that are unneeded and would not be used in carrying out the President's steady drawdown plan.
"When families are struggling here at home, we shouldn't spend money on things we don't need, and we do not need to be further padding the budget for the Afghanistan war," said Garamendi. "The Appropriations committee already approved an extra $3.25 billion dollar war contingency cushion that was not even part of the President's budget request."
Garamendi continued, "Our troops have served bravely. It is time to bring them home under the President's redeployment plan or faster. It is time to provide our veterans with the support they have earned and to focus our attention on creating jobs and nation building in America."
Congressman Garamendi represents California's 10th Congressional District, home to Travis Air Force Base and over 10,000 active service members.