Meghan Hughes (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today challenged the comments of Speaker Nancy Pelosi who says in a recent interview that the United States will see “a serious drawdown’ of forces in Afghanistan and that the House may use the power of the purse to ensure a drawdown takes place.
Pelosi made these statements in an interview with the Huffington Post.
“In some of the strongest terms she has used to date, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared last Friday that the United States will see "a serious drawdown" of forces in Afghanistan by July 2011 and that the House may use the power of the purse to ensure the drawdown takes place.
“In an exclusive interview with the Huffington Post, Pelosi made clear that while recent talk has hinted that the administration's stated goal of a June 2011 start date for a troop drawdown may be open to change, her commitment to it remains firm.
"I think we'll have a serious drawdown, I don't think it'll be, as [the president] said, turning out the lights," said Pelosi.
Asked point-blank whether she thinks troops will be pulled out of the country in July 2011, Pelosi replied: "I do. And everything I saw there before, for all the bad things there that I saw in terms of [corruption and money wasted] ... I did consistently hear that the timetable was on schedule to have serious drawdown."
Graham, who strongly supports the Afghan mission, made these statements in response:
“The Democratic-controlled House, led by Speaker Pelosi, is wrong to stipulate withdrawal of troops or a strategy for withdrawal beginning in July 2011 as a condition for further funding of the Afghan war effort.#####
“Requiring withdrawal from Afghanistan by July 2011 would be one of the greatest foreign policy blunders in American history. Pulling out would seriously undercut our troops.
“In his testimony today, General Petreaus indicated that congressionally-mandated withdrawal would undercut our efforts and send a foreboding signal to our friends and enemies in the region.
“The Obama Administration has advanced an incoherent policy regarding the July 2011 troop withdrawal. That is bad enough. But to have Congress impose a mandated withdrawal as the price for future funding of the war would be a complete disaster.
“I hope the President will make it clear he will veto any such measure.”