Rep. Chaffetz to support Afghanistan withdrawal resolution

In morning debate, Chaffetz was joined by other Republicans in support of the resolution, including Reps. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). The resolution, H.R. 1076, was introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).

One key Democrat called on members to reject the resolution, in part because it is not written properly.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-Calif.) said the resolution would direct President Obama to remove troops from Afghanistan based on section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. But Berman said that section allows Congress to pass resolutions urging troop withdrawal only in cases where troops are engaged in military operations that Congress did not authorize.

Berman said Congress authorized military operations in Afghanistan in 2001, and said he takes "strong issue" with the decision to base the resolution on section 5(c).

"There may be aspects of our operations around the world that people can claim under section 5(c) have not been authorized," Berman said on the House floor. "No one can make a contention that what we are now doing in Afghanistan was not authorized by the Congress. There can be no doubt this military action in Afghanistan was authorized; it was authorized in 2001, soon after 9/11."

Berman did say he supports efforts to examine the situation in Afghanistan, and to discuss these issues apart from defense spending legislation. However, he said he also opposes the resolution because he wants more time for the administration's strategy to work.

"I will not support a call for a full withdrawal until we give the president's strategy additional time, at least through the spring, to show results," Berman said.