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.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.