GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate

GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate
© Greg Nash

A veteran North Carolina Republican wants Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanScalise released from hospital after planned surgery GOP sold Americans a bill of goods with tax reform law Impeaching Rosenstein? Some Republicans are talking about it MORE (R-Wis.) to open up a debate on a new war authorization, asserting that not doing so wastes taxpayer dollars.

“Members of Congress have written to [former House speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk With Ryan out, let’s blow up the process for selecting the next Speaker Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election MORE] and yourself over 13 times regarding the need for debate on the authorization for the use of military force in Afghanistan,” Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) wrote in a letter Friday.

“Despite repeated calls for action, nothing has happened. You, sir, are the leader of the House and you are responsible for bringing this debate to the floor.”

The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is still used today to give the president authority on a range of military actions.

The push for a new AUMF received new support and recognition in late June when Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) successfully had her amendment inserted into the House Appropriations bill. The amendment would have revoked the 2001 AUMF and forced Congress to vote on a new war authorization in the interim, but the amendment was stripped out of the bill later by Ryan.

Though the measure was backed by both Republicans and Democrats, GOP leaders were uncomfortable with ending the current AUMF without a guaranteed replacement.

Jones accused Ryan of being “complicit in the waste and abuse of taxpayers’ money” by denying a debate on a more tailored war authorization.

“At a time when hurricanes and wildfires are devastating this country, we need to use our tax dollars wisely,” he wrote, alluding to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana and Hurricane Irma which is expected to hit the East Coast on Saturday.

Jones also expressed frustration over President Trump’s recently announced Afghanistan strategy, which will keep troops in the country and add a reported 3,500 more to the 11,000 already there.

He cited several recent new stories that highlight U.S. government “waste, fraud and abuse” in Afghanistan and suggested such waste would continue if no debate is held for a new war authorization.

“The president has not kept his campaign promises regarding Afghanistan and is now increasing our military forces there,” Jones wrote. “After 16 years the waste, fraud and corruption is more rampant than ever. This is an insult to American taxpayers.”

The letter, obtained by The Hill, included a written note at the bottom, for added emphasis: “Mr. Speaker, how long can you support this failed policy??”

The Trump administration is not seeking a new war authorization bill but officials indicated in August they would not oppose the creation of one.