Congress Closely Divided on Afghan Vote: Altmire Sides with Long War Republican Bloc

House Democrats Clamor for U.S.

to Speed Withdrawal from Afghanistan

David Lightman and William Douglas
Beaver County Peace Links via McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON, May 26 2011 – Democrats in House of Representatives sent President Barack Obama a strong message Thursday — speed up U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.

Though the House’s bid to push Obama to expedite the U.S. exit failed, it lost by a surprisingly close 215-204 vote. The outcome, and the fiery debate that preceded it, made it clear that the president’s party, as well as a growing number of Republicans, is growing impatient with the almost 10-year-old war as the 2012 election campaign approaches. In all, 178 Democrats and 26 Republicans voted to pressure Obama. Eight Democrats, most from more conservative districts, and 207 Republicans were opposed. Leading the charge to prod the president were the House’s top Democratic leaders.

“Americans are paying a big price there, we want to make sure we’re getting a return on that investment, and time is a very important factor,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “It’s time for our troops to come home.”

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