Maloney Statement on War and Domestic Supplemental Funding
Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of Rep. Barbara Lee’s amendment to prevent an escalation and limit funding to the safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops and military contractors from Afghanistan. After 9 years of war, the time has come to bring our troops home.
I will also vote in favor of the McGovern-Obey amendment that would require the president to provide Congress with a plan for the expeditious redeployment of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and a timeline for completion of the redeployment.
I would like to thank Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Leadership for
bringing this bill to the floor today in a manner that allows clear up
or down votes on funding for the war and other domestic priorities.
The challenges in Afghanistan are great. As the violence and attacks on our troops continue to increase, we still do not have a clear path forward or a way to measure progress there.
We cannot afford to sustain an open-ended commitment with no clear definition of success.
Reports of corruption abound in Afghanistan, and without a true partner in the Karzai government, our prospects for making real progress have grown dim.
Our troops have fought with honor and professionalism in the face of great challenges, and at great cost - I am truly humbled by their service and sacrifice. These brave men and women in uniform deserve our full support and commitment to return them home safely to their families and loved ones.
President Obama did not start this war, and I was among those who have spoken out in support of allowing for the time necessary for a new strategy in Afghanistan to turn the tide.
But after years of war that has strained our military, their families, and the country, I am unable to continue to support what increasingly looks like an intractable situation in Afghanistan.
That is why I vote in favor of these amendments today.
Despite my opposition to our continued military presence in Afghanistan, the bill does include critical domestic funding that I will support. These include saving teachers’ jobs, Pell Grants, emergency food assistance for hungry Americans, and disaster aid to respond to the Gulf oil spill catastrophe.
For example, today we are providing $10 billion for an Education Jobs Fund to provide additional emergency support to local school districts to prevent impending layoffs. Estimates suggest that this fund will help keep 140,000 school employees on the job next year.
Moreover, when we invest in education, we save jobs in other sectors and spur economic recovery. According to the Economic Policy Institute, for every 100,000 education jobs lost, another 30,000 jobs are lost in other sectors due to reduced consumer spending and tax revenues.
The list of important programs this bill funds is both extensive and impressive:
Among other priorities, we are providing $304 million for the Gulf Coast oil spill; $50 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program for food purchases to distribute through local emergency food providers; $13.377 billion for the payment of benefits to Vietnam veterans and their survivors for exposure to Agent Orange, which has been linked with Parkinson’s disease, ischemic heart disease, and hairy cell/B cell leukemia; and $2.93 billion for Haiti.
These are extremely important priorities which are fully paid for and which I support.