GOP backs Obama’s Afghanistan/Pakistan plan

House Republicans have introduced a pair of bills in support of President Barack Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“President Obama has outlined a responsible strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and he deserves support from Democrats and Republicans in Congress as our troops, intelligence professionals, diplomatic officials, and allies work to ensure security in the region,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. “Today, House Republicans are introducing legislation reflecting and authorizing the Commander-in-Chief’s plan. Importantly, this legislation does not include arbitrary congressionally-mandated benchmarks that tie the hands of our generals and diplomatic officials on the ground as they work to stabilize a part of the world that is vital to our national security. At the same time, it fully authorizes the funding levels requested by the President for each country, while requiring that he submit a specific implementation plan to measure progress and help ensure his strategy’s success.”

Boehner praised representatives Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.; John McHugh, R-N.Y.; Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich.; and Peter King, R-N.Y. for shaping the bills. “We urge swift bipartisan passage of the measures to make certain those responsible for carrying out the President’s strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan have the resources they need to get the job done.”

Specifically, the bills would support the President’s strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan that he outlined on March 27; authorize the money he wants for Afghanistan; authorize $1.5 billion a year in foreign assistance aid to Pakistan, as well as the President’s request for $700 million for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund; require the President to submit to Congress a comprehensive plan to implement his strategy for long-term security and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan “that includes measures of effectiveness;” and require the Administration, including the departments of Defense and State, to regularly brief and notify Congress on the implementation of the President’s strategy.

Meanwhile, some liberal Bay Area House members still aren’t convinced Obama’s on the right track.

(T)he administration’s supplemental request does not adequately reflect these diplomatic and humanitarian priorities — priorities that we believe are essential to success for U.S. security interests,” Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma; and Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, recently wrote for the Politico. “In fact, 90 percent of the supplemental request would go toward funding ongoing and increased military operations. The remaining $7 billion would be divided between humanitarian, civil affairs, reconstruction and diplomatic efforts in the region.”

“The United States must reorient our national security policy in the region and maximize what the Obama administration has called our nation’s “smart power.” At the heart of this strategy must be a regional diplomatic surge that engages all of Afghanistan’s neighbors as full partners in aiding the Afghan people and strengthening its central government.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR

    Let’s send Barb, Lynn and Jimmy Carter (for good measure) to chat with the Taliban mullahs.