July 01, 2020

Van Hollen Statement for the Record on Tabling Senator Paul's NDAA Amendment

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) submitted the following statement for the congressional record on the motion to table Senator Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act:

"I voted against the motion to table Senator Paul’s amendment to the NDAA not because I support his amendment as written, but because I believe this Senate has a responsibility to fully debate the question of our policy, strategy and plans for Afghanistan. Tabling an amendment cuts off all debate on this important matter. We should not be ducking these decisions. We should confront our policy directly, take stock of where we are, and set a responsible course for the future.  

"I strongly support ending the war in Afghanistan and the responsible withdrawal of our men and women in uniform. However, I believe that mandating the total unconditional withdrawal on a one year timeline will result in the further destabilization of an already volatile region. Unconditional withdrawal divorced from a diplomatic process to achieve political reconciliation between the warring parties will make it harder to achieve a peaceful outcome that serves our national security interests.

"Despite my disagreement with much of the substance of the Paul amendment, the Senate should deliberate on these matters, not run away from the discussion.  The decision to table the Paul amendment prevented the Senate from performing this essential function."