In 'surprise,' U.S. House nearly votes to end Afghanistan war

May 27, 2011|By Luke Broadwater

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives took an important vote on an amendment that would pull U.S. troops out of the Afghanistan war. 

Normally, this is the type of measure that's only supported by folks on the fringes of their political parties (the libertarians in the Republican party and the Green partiers in the Democratic party), so the amendment failed in a landslide, right? Wrong.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and 25 other Republicans voted for the amendment, sponsored by Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), causing the effort requiring an "accelerated withdrawal" to fail by a narrow margin of 204 to 215. 

Politico dubbed the close vote a "surprise," and even McGovern seemed a little shocked by the growing concern over U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan after the death of Osama bin Laden. 

“I think this is a very, very strong vote, much stronger, quite frankly, than I thought we were going to get,” McGovern told The Hill. He said the result “shows there is a bipartisan angst that’s growing.”

After the final votes were tallied, McGovern said the close vote shows more and more people want the troops to come home. 

"Today's strong bipartisan vote represents a huge step forward in the effort to bring the war in Afghanistan to a close," McGovern said, according to the Sun Chronicle. "I hope the president recognizes that there is a growing consensus in Congress and the country that our policy needs to change," he said. "Last year, I offered a similar amendment that got 162 votes - in a Democratic House."

McGovern has been a leader in the effort to end the Afghanistan war for years, but he's now getting more widespread support. 

“We need to re-think what we’re doing in Afghanistan,” McGovern said during floor debate on the amendment. “It’s time to define the plan to bring our uniformed men and women home to their families and their communities.”

You can watch his speech on the floor of the House here: 

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