McGovern blasts decision to block Afghanistan amendment

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) on Wednesday criticized the GOP leadership's decision to block his amendment to the national defense authorization to end the war in Afghanistan.

"Last night in the Rules Committee, we witnessed the definition of true cowardice," McGovern said.

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The Massachusets Democrat argued that his amendment, which would complete transition of U.S. military and security operations to the Afghan government by the end of 2014, deserved a vote.

"Because we are at war," McGovern said. "I know some of our colleagues would rather bury their heads in the sand and hope it goes away."

McGovern then offered a motion to adjourn at 12:32 p.m. The presiding officer rejected the motion, but McGovern insisted on a roll call vote requiring all of his colleagues to come to the House floor. It failed 7-381. 

McGovern later forced another roll call vote at 2:50 p.m. on a motion to adjourn after the House rejected his request to allow his amendment to be debated. The House rejected it 23-361. In total, McGovern's repeated parliamentary tactics burned more than an hour of floor time.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) supported McGovern's pursuit and said lawmakers should at least debate winding down the Afghan war.

"What a pathetic time for the House of Representatives," Jones said.

McGovern has offered the amendment in previous years, but it similarly was not made in order.

The House is expected to debate 162 amendments to the defense authorization late into Wednesday evening.

This post was updated at 3:16 p.m.