The Common Good

Withdrawal from Afghanistan Gains Congressional Support

Source: Sojourners
Date: May 26, 2011


Thursday, May 26, 2011

CONTACT: Tim King at / 202-631-7763


Withdrawal from Afghanistan Gains Congressional Support

Congressman Ryan and "Deficit Hypocrites” Ignore Cost of War

WASHINGTON, DC - 204 Members of Congress voted "aye” today for amendment 55 of HR. 1540 - Sponsored by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC). Amendment 55 is a bipartisan amendment that calls for an end to the war in Afghanistan by requiring the President to provide a plan and timeframe for an accelerated drawdown of military operations in Afghanistan.

The vote for a similar amendment in July of 2010 garnered only 162 votes in favor (McGovern-Obey-Jones, 7/1/10). Today's vote puts pressure on the President to begin a significant troop withdrawal in July, and providing clear benchmark reports to Congress. The country is turning against spending billions of dollars on a war that is not in the best interest of the United States or the people of Afghanistan. These Representatives join many people of faith, and 60% of the country, in supporting an end to this war.

Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners, issued the following statement:

The nation is turning against the war in Afghanistan and this vote shows it. Passing the 200 vote mark demonstrates the growing and significant shift of public opinion. The movement to end America's longest war has reason to celebrate today and expect more victories in the coming months.

What is interesting, is who voted against the bill, in particular, many so-called "defecit hawks” like Rep. Paul Ryan. Why did Paul Ryan vote to continue this costly war? Why does he prefer to cut programs for the poor instead of more money for a failed war? This vote shows that Paul Ryan and many of his colleagues aren't really deficit hawks but perhaps should be called deficit hypocrites.

Congress is making cuts to programs that help poor people while voting to spend 100 billion a year on a failed strategy and corrupt government in Afghanistan. Cutting needless military spending not only helps the deficit but it will save the lives of American's and Afghans. Politicians who are serious about security and fiscal responsibility know that it is time for us to get out.

Christian activists have sent thousands of emails to congress supporting the amendment and seeking co-sponsors. For more resources on this faith based campaign to end the war visit


Jim Wallis is the president and CEO of Sojourners, the largest network of social justice Christians in the United States focused on the biblical call to social justice. Wallis is also author of the New York Times bestsellers God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It and The Great Awakening: Seven Ways To Change The World, Reviving Faith & Politics. His latest book is Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street.

Sojourners' mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit, and