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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.

Mr. Chairman, the war in Afghanistan has gone on for more than 12 years, the longest war in American history. 2,235 U.S. military personnel have been killed, over 17,000 have been wounded, and more will fall before our troops finally come home. The human and financial costs are staggering; $778 billion on Operation Enduring Freedom, nearly all of that in Afghanistan, $7.2 billion each and every month.

The President has announced and is implementing a timetable to wind down U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. He's carrying it out.

This amendment requires the President to stick to his timetable, accelerate it if he can. And depending on your point of view, this amendment puts the wind at the President's back, or holds his feet to the fire, to fulfill the promises he made to our brave troops, their families, and the American people.

More importantly, it expresses that should U.S. troops be asked to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014, then Congress needs to take its constitutional responsibility seriously and hold a specific vote to authorize that mission and troop presence.

The future and fate of tens of thousands of uniformed men and women deserve a vote. I ask all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote ``yes'' on the McGovern-Jones-Smith-Lee-Garamendi amendment.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Chairman, I will close. I yield myself the remaining time.

Mr. Chairman, hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of U.S.-NATO allies and Afghan lives have been lost. It is time to end the war in Afghanistan, bring our troops home, and take seriously our duty as a Congress to specifically authorize any mission and troop presence beyond 2014.

We are not bystanders in this war. We are responsible for sending thousands and thousands of men and women over into Afghanistan. The least we can do is take seriously our duty as a Congress and authorize any mission and troop presence beyond 2014.

Members of Congress ought to go on record as to where they stand on this. We owe it to our troops, and we owe it to their families and the American people. I urge my colleagues to support the McGovern-Jones-Smith amendment on Afghanistan and send a signal to the administration and to others that we take our responsibility in this matter very seriously. We will have a vote if this war goes beyond what the President has stated.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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