- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Members of the House Armed Services Committee are calling on Congress to debate the military’s role in Afghanistan, saying it is time for lawmakers to reconsider the costs associated with the nation’s continued investment in the “black hole.”

Reps. Walter Jones, North Carolina Republican, and John Garamendi, California Democrat, said in a joint appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal they’ve introduced a bill that would require Congress to assume its Constitutional responsibility by voting on whether the government wants to continue to invest in the “black hole.”

“We have been there 16 years, we have lost over 2,000 Americans, over 20,000 wounded and we have spent better than $800 billion,” Mr. Jones said. “We are just trying to simply get a debate on the floor of the House over whether we stay in Afghanistan or not stay in Afghanistan.”

If the bill passes, the lawmakers said it would pave the way for starting to pull troops out of Afghanistan a year later.

Mr. Garamendi said members of Congress are “afraid” to tackle the issue.

“Members are afraid about having to vote on whether we are going to go war or not,” he said. “They just assume somebody else make the decision and we’ve turned that over to the president.”

They said the last time lawmakers debated the nation’s involvement in Afghanistan was 2001, and that House Speaker Paul Ryan could demand Congress focus on the issue.

“Paul Ryan can tell the committees of jurisdiction we want to have a debate on Afghanistan,” Mr. Jones said. “We just don’t debate this black hole that is wasting life and money in Afghanistan.

“We are going to be pushing this and we are going to be pushing this hard,” he said.

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