What: All Issues : War & Peace : US Intervention in Afghanistan and/or Pakistan : (H.R. 2219) On an amendment that would have cut $200 million from U.S. funding for infrastructure projects (such the building of roads, bridges, schools, electrical grids, etc.) in Afghanistan
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(H.R. 2219) On an amendment that would have cut $200 million from U.S. funding for infrastructure projects (such the building of roads, bridges, schools, electrical grids, etc.) in Afghanistan
house Roll Call 521     Jul 07, 2011
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) that would have cut $200 million from the Commander’s Emergency Response program, which had funded infrastructure projects (such the building of roads, bridges, schools, electrical grids, etc.) in Afghanistan. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Defense Department programs in fiscal year 2012.

Welch urged support for his amendment: “ One of the things that we have provided to our commanders in order for them to be able to do hearts-and-minds civic projects, roads, bridges, schools is a $400 million fund that they can use completely at their discretion. Now, this sounds like a good idea. If you're going to ask the military to win the hearts and minds, not just use military power to fight battles, then a discretionary fund can seemingly make some sense. The question, though, is, upon review, it turns out that these roads, these bridges, these canals, almost the moment they're turned over to the Afghan authorities, fall into disrepair, disuse and neglect. It's not surprising. Number one, there is very little local government infrastructure in Afghanistan, and the fact that we build a road or a school doesn't necessarily mean there's a government or an authority there to be able to maintain it. So we build something, and the moment we turn the keys over, it falls into disuse and disrepair.”

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) opposed Welch’s amendment: “Now, what does the CERP money do, the Commander's Emergency Response Program money? Let's say an IED explodes, or maybe there is a bomb that blows up a storefront in the middle of the street. A commander can go in there and hire local labor to clear out the entrance to that small business or whatever it is and get it done quickly without having to put U.S. Army personnel in danger to do it and can do it quickly and effectively and therefore leave our soldiers in the field, leave our soldiers where they can be most effective with their time and their training, and it does promote some goodwill on the streets with the people.”

The House rejected Welch’s amendment by a vote of 169-257. Voting “yea” were 146 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 23 Republicans. 215 Republicans and 42 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have cut $200 million from U.S. funding for infrastructure projects in Afghanistan.

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