BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Ms. PINGREE of Maine. Thank you very much to my good friend from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern) for yielding me the time, for his excellent opening statement, and for his response to our colleague from the Rules Committee as well. And I thank him for being here today.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this rule and the underlying concurrent resolution. It is a rare occurrence that Members of this body have the opportunity to devote 3 hours of debate to such an important issue, and it is even more unusual that Members are given a chance for a clean up-or-down vote on ending the war in Afghanistan. Each time an emergency war supplemental, a Defense appropriations bill or a Defense authorization bill has come to the floor, continued funding for the war in Afghanistan is hidden behind spending to create jobs, to provide humanitarian relief or to increase medical benefits to our troops, all of which I support. And privileged resolutions like this, which exercise the constitutional right of the United States Congress to decide whether or not to continue the use of the military force, rarely sees the light of day.
This country has spent over $250 billion, Mr. Speaker, on the war in Afghanistan. The share of my home State of Maine is almost $700 million. And in the next few months, the administration will likely ask this Congress to spend another $30 billion to fund a surge of troops in Afghanistan. At a time when we cannot find $30 billion to create jobs, continue unemployment benefits or help small businesses, we need to ask ourselves, Is the cost of this war worth it? Is it right to spend more money and lose more lives on a strategy that isn't working? Can we afford to turn our backs on the challenges we face at home and to pursue failed policies abroad?
I am an original cosponsor of this concurrent resolution because I firmly believe this war needs to end. We have asked our men and women in uniform to return to combat again and again. They have fought with bravery and helped the people of Afghanistan with compassion. They have risen to meet every challenge and paid every price to defend this country. But the cost of this war is too high. The economic situation in the country is too dire, and the lives of our brave men and women in uniform are too precious for this war to go on and for this issue to be muddled and tucked away in large spending bills.
It is time to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home. It is time for this Congress to demand an open debate on Afghanistan and a clean vote on any future bills that fund this war. I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this rule and the underlying concurrent resolution.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT