By Molly K. Hooper - 12/02/09 05:06 PM EST
House Republicans intend to reserve full support for the president’s
plan in Afghanistan until the White House explains how the exit plan
for July 2011 would work, according to House Minority Leader John Boehner
Boehner said that GOP lawmakers are in a “wait-and-see position,” until White House officials explain the decision to move U.S. troops out of Afghanistan 18 months after surging forces in the region.
Specifically they want to know how the exit date will work, what the White House wants to accomplish in the next 18 months and when will troops leave the field before House Republicans “come out in full support of the president’s plan,” Boehner said.
Members of the House GOP conference spent a significant portion of their weekly closed-door meeting discussing the president’s speech delivered Tuesday night at West Point Military Academy.
For the most part, rank-and-file lawmakers heading out of that meeting supported President Barack Obama’s intention to surge U.S. presence in Afghanistan by 30,000 troops but had problems with setting an exit date.
GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) said “many House Republicans have serious concerns about calls for a timeline, or benchmarks.”
Another item of concern was the idea posed by liberal lawmakers to impose a war surtax to pay for the cost of the troop surge.
That idea is a non-starter for members of the minority party who believe that “raising taxes in the middle of a weak economy is the prescription for insanity,” Boehner said.