Rep. Peter Welch is the sponsor of an amendment to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
Another added benefit, one Democratic aide pointed out, is that such proposals could show splinters within the GOP Conference. Tea-party-backed freshmen, who are deficit hawks, may feel pressure to reel in military spending and could further be swayed on the issue of Afghanistan in the wake of the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
“We’ve done these votes before and we know our people; they don’t know their people,” the Democratic leadership aide said. “This is the first round of defense votes for these new GOP freshmen, so it’ll be interesting to see where they’re at.”
Freshman Rep. Trey Gowdy said he was undecided on the host of Afghanistan proposals, but he said he was eager for Obama to review his policy in short order.
“The country has been very patient, but a lot of resources, financial being the least of them, are being consumed over there,” the South Carolina Republican said. “I think there are some people in the freshman class whose conservative credentials are unassailable that share my desire for a clearer articulation of the status quo in the near future, and I emphasize the near future.”
Gowdy said he was less eager to vote on the issue of Libya, a topic that has rattled Members since March, when Obama committed military troops to the North African country before consulting Congress.
Kucinich wants consideration of an amendment calling for an automatic troop withdrawal, and while Congressional aides from both sides maintain that Members want to address the issue, they generally feel that taking such a definitive stance would be premature.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of Members that are as interested in the issue as intensely as [Kucinich] is,” a Democratic leadership aide said.