Update 3:17 pm: The roll call vote for the McGovern amendment has been released, and there are a few interesting things about the Republicans who voted for it.
Three Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee supported it, including the second-highest-ranking Republican. Any substantive drawdown bills from that committee will need Republican support.
Freshmen Republicans formed the largest block within their party in support of McGovern’s amendment: Representatives Todd Rokita (R-IN), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Joe Walsh (R-IL), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC),Rich Nugent (R-FL) and Scott Rigell (R-VA) all voted in favor.
Longtime Republican opponents of the war also supported the amendment as well, including Representative Tim Johnson (R-IL), a West Point graduate and critic of the war, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and “unlikely Afghanistan dove.”
The NDAA has now passed the House by a 322-96 vote and heads to the Senate. As noted below, there’s also movement in that chamber against the war in Afghanistan, and it will be interesting to see if further amendments to slow the war are offered.
* * *
Update 2:05 pm: In a surprisingly close contest, the House rejected an amendment sponsored by Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) which called for a withdrawal plan from Afghanistan, preferably one that outlines an “aggressive" drawdown of troops. It lost by only eleven votes, 215-204.
Twenty-six Republicans supported the measure, as did all but eight Democrats.Twelve representatives copped out from voting—six on each side of the aisle.
The close margin will no doubt put additional pressure on the White House to enact a substantial drawdown in July. Still, having more Republicans vote for it would have turned up the heat even further. Eighteen Republicans voted for an earlier amendment that directly called for withdrawal, so one might have thought more than an extra eight would have favored simply seeing a plan. It will be interesting to see what Republicans crossed over when the roll call is released.
* * *
Update 1:31 pm: The House just crushed a bipartisan amendment by Tea Party Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) that would have required the withdrawal of all U.S. ground troops from Afghanistan except those directly involved in counterterrorism operations. The vote was 294-123.