Rep. Nita Lowey announced Monday that she would ax a presidential request for roughly $4 billion in State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development funding for Afghanistan, the latest sign of growing angst among House Democrats about the U.S. war efforts.Citing concerns about corruption, the New York Democrat, who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, said her subpanel would include only humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in the proposal that it will mark up Wednesday.The alleged shipment of billions in donor funds out of Afghanistan and allegations of Afghan government insiders impeding corruption investigations are outrageous, Lowey said in a statement. I do not intend to appropriate one more dime for assistance to Afghanistan until I have confidence that U.S. taxpayer money is not being abused to line the pockets of corrupt Afghan government officials, drug lords, and terrorists.Lowey also announced that she would schedule corruption-related oversight hearings after the July Fourth recess.Lowey spokesman Matt Dennis said his bosss announcement would not affect an emergency war supplemental that House leaders are trying to bring to the floor this week that also would direct State Department and USAID funds to Afghanistan. Progressives opposed to continued U.S. involvement in Afghanistan have cited reports of widespread government corruption as one of their top concerns.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.