Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) recently introduced a piece of legislation that should look very familiar to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. The bill would require the Obama administration to explain why it negotiated the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan without any input from Congress.
Jones’s legislation is identical to a 2007 bill that that then Senators Clinton and Obama introduced to question why then President Bush announced a declaration of cooperation with Iraq without congressional approval.
Jones said that regardless of who is in the White House, Congress needs to exert more authority over these issues in general.
“Congress for too long has not injected itself to be part of the process,” said Jones. “Congress needs to be able to evaluate whether this security agreement is worth the taxpayers’ investment.”
His bill, H.R. 5787, says that the White House agreement fails to outline the extent and cost of the U.S. military commitment to Afghanistan, and that because Congress will have to fund that commitment, they should be involved.
“Congress is a co-equal branch of government and as such the extension of long-term United States security commitments to Afghanistan that obligates or requires the appropriation of United States funds requires the full participation and consent of Congress,” his bill says.
In 2007, the Clinton-Obama bill read, “Congress is a co-equal branch of government and as such the extension of long-term United States security commitments to Iraq that obligates or requires the appropriation of United States funds requires the full participation and consent of Congress.”
Jones’s bill, like the Clinton-Obama bill, requires that the State Dept submit a report to Congress that justifies the administration’s exclusion of Congress in it’s decision to enter into the agreement, it would also require a legal analysis of the decision.
The bill also includes a sense of Congress saying the Afghanistan agreement does not have the force of law, and would prohibit the authorization or appropriation of funds to carry out any agreement that is not approved by Congress.
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