House liberals float bill to bar troop 'surge'

Nearly two dozen House liberals have signed onto a bill introduced this past week that would prohibit an increase of troops in Afghanistan.

A bill introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Thursday would bar funding to increase the troop level in Afghanistan beyond its current level.

Lee and 21 lawmakers -- largely from the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus -- introduced the bill, H.R. 3699 on Thursday.

The legislation comes as President Barack Obama and leaders in Congress weigh a request from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of troops in Afghanistan, for as many as 40,000 new troops to bolster the eight-year-long military engagement in the region.

“History tells us that there will not be a military-first solution to the situation in Afghanistan," Lee told the Redding News Review. “Open-ended military intervention in Afghanistan is not in our national security interest and will only continue to give resonance to insurgent recruiters painting pictures of foreign occupation to a new generation."

The Obama administration is expected to make a decision on McChrystal's request for more troops "in a matter of weeks," National Security Advisor James L. Jones said Sunday.

An while liberals in the Democratic Party have been somewhat wary of a larger troop commitment to Afghanistan, Jones vowed that the president's decision wouldn't be swayed by politics.

"I don't play politics, and I certainly don't play it with national security, neither does anyone else I know," Jones said on CNN. "I can assure you that the president of the United States is not playing to any political base."

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