SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2009 -- (House of Representatives - May 14, 2009)
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Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I support the supplemental funding bill that is before the House today, and urge my colleagues to join me in voting for it.
A lot has changed since the last time Congress debated funding for the ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan eleven months ago. Earlier this year, President Obama stated that we will begin to draw down our forces in Iraq and complete the removal of combat troops by August 2010. Further, the President has also announced a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The plan acknowledges our national interest in combating terrorism and the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the need for stability in the region, especially with regard to safeguarding Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. At the same time, the President's plan correctly recognizes that we need a comprehensive strategy that does not rely on U.S. military force alone.
The President's plan therefore calls for increased resources to build schools, roads and hospitals, and strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The strategy also calls for greater dialogue, intelligence sharing, and border cooperation between the U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan. The challenges before us are formidable, but I think we need to give President Obama's strategy a chance to work. This bill begins the effort by providing funding for the training of Afghan and Pakistani security forces as well as funds for economic development, strengthening governance, expanding the rule of law, and boosting our diplomatic efforts in the region.
One thing that hasn't changed is the imperative to provide our troops in the field with the equipment and support they need to protect themselves and accomplish their mission.
I urge my colleagues to join me in support of this important bill.
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