Tea party and progressive senators unite, introduce legislation to hasten withdrawal from Afghanistan

Steven Nelson | Associate Editor

Five senators announced Thursday an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that would hasten the end of America’s longest war.

In a joint press release, the senators declared that troops should be brought home from Afghanistan before President Obama’s intended December 2014 deadline.

Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah introduced the amendment.

Merkley cited the death of Osama bin Laden as evidence that the military had accomplished its goals in Afghanistan. It is time to “refocus our attention on fighting terrorists wherever they may be,” Merkley said. “We need concentrate on nation-building here at home.”

Paul said that the war constituted “endless nation-building” during a time when “here at home we face expounding national debt, crumbling infrastructure, and out-of-control spending.”

Udall said that al-Qaida “no longer has a significant presence in [Afghanistan] and Osama bin Laden is dead. Setting an accelerated timeline to drawdown our troops gives the Afghans strong incentive to take over their security.”

If the amendment is adopted, Obama would be required to submit a timeline for an “accelerated” withdrawal to Congress. The senators said that the war costs taxpayers approximately $10 billion a month.

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