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JONES INTRODUCES BILL REQUIRING WHITE HOUSE ACCOUNTABILITY ON AFGHANISTAN AGREEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) has introduced a bill to reassert the constitutional role of Congress in approving a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), and any other future security agreement, with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Obama Administration announced earlier this month that it had signed an SPA with Afghanistan which, among other things, commits the United States to “the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan.” While Afghan President Hamid Karzai submitted the SPA to the Afghan parliament for ratification, the Obama Administration has disregarded the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that such an agreement be approved by the U.S. Congress.
Congressman Jones’ bill, H.R. 5787 – The Congressional Oversight of Afghanistan Agreements Act of 2012 – states that “any bilateral agreement between the United States and Afghanistan involving ‘commitments or risks affecting the nation as a whole’, including a Bilateral Security Agreement, that is not a treaty approved by two-thirds of the Senate under Article II of the Constitution or authorized by legislation does not have the force of law.” The bill would also prohibit funds from being used to carry out any agreement between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that is not approved by Congress according to the Constitution.
The language of H.R. 5787 is nearly identical to a 2007 bill introduced by then-Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to require the Bush Administration to follow the Constitution with regards to congressional approval of a similar agreement with Iraq.
“Every single member of Congress and the President took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and frankly, both branches of government are neglecting that sacred oath when it comes to Afghanistan,” said Congressman Jones. “The fact is the Constitution requires Congress – not the President – to approve any long term military and financial agreement with another nation. Before President Obama further commits U.S. troops and taxpayers to another ten years in Afghanistan that we simply cannot afford, Congress must demand that the President follow the Constitution.”
“I trust that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton will embrace this legislation since they, as senators, introduced an identical bill to require accountability from the Bush Administration on Iraq just five years ago,” said Jones. "Surely President Obama has not forgotten his 2008 campaign statements that any strategic framework agreement ‘must be subject to Congressional approval,’ and that not presenting such agreements to Congress would be ‘unacceptable’.”