By The Hill Editors - 10/20/09 11:25 PM EDT
Hoyer was irritated at Boehner’s recent criticism of the Obama administration on its handling of the war in Afghanistan. Boehner suggested that unless more U.S. troops are sent in, and sent in quickly, “our efforts to deny al Qaeda and the Taliban a safe haven in Afghanistan may end in failure.”
The statements from both sides of the aisle are growing sharper as President Barack Obama formulates his next step.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal has recommended a surge of 40,000 troops. Republicans on Capitol Hill say there should be no delay, asserting that Obama should send the troops as quickly as possible.
Whatever the president decides, Congress, which is controlled by Democrats, will be confronted with a war supplemental request.
House Appropriations Defense subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.) said this month, “There’s gong to be a supplemental whether there’s more troops or not, because they’re going to run out of money in the spring.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) has warned the administration that its time waging war in Afghanistan is running out.
He recently said, “The problem with increasing the number of troops is that we become the lightning rod, and our presence runs the risk of inciting more anti-American sentiment that can become a recruiting tool for the very forces we seek to curtail.”
While White House officials point the finger at Republicans for not focusing more on Afghanistan during the previous administration, they also know that they may need GOP votes to pass a supplemental bill.
Earlier this year when a war-funding bill attracted GOP critics because of allocations for the International Monetary Fund, House Democrats struggled, but ultimately succeeded, in securing enough votes for the measure to pass.
If Obama doesn’t endorse McChrystal’s recommendation, and seeks, for example, 20,000 troops, he would be criticized by the right and the left.
Obama has repeatedly stressed the need to listen to all of his political advisers and his generals on the ground. He wants to succeed in Afghanistan with the right strategy, but he will need the votes in Congress to carry it out.