Friday, January 18, 2008

Udall's Voting Record vs. His First-Time Junket to Afghanistan

Boulder liberal Rep. Mark Udall's hometown newspaper reports today that he is making a first-time trip to Afghanistan, ostensibly to visit American troops. First time for a member of the House Armed Services Committee after more than six years of our nation's military presence in Afghanistan, having liberated the country from the Taliban.

Based on Udall's record, the timing raises legitimate questions concerning possible political motivations behind the junket. The National Republican Senatorial Committee agrees:
Sadly, it's not the first time Udall has been a Johnny-come-lately to the issue of homeland security and defense. Udall's record on the issues leaves more than a little to be desired:
  • Udall voted against authorizing nearly $289 billion in Fiscal Year 2000 defense funding -- including funds for six F-22 fighters -- twice (RCV#424, 9/15/99; RCV#241, 6/7/00)
  • Udall voted to cut $3 billion in Fiscal Year 2001 defense spending (RCV#194, 5/18/00)
  • In 2003, Udall voted against $87 billion in supplemental funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan including funds for body armor, armored humvees, and health care for National Guard members and reservists (RCV#601, 10/31/03; CQ Weekly, 11/8/03)
  • Udall voted against a bill intended to expedite the delivery of armor to troops on the ground in 2004 (RCV#234, 6/14/04)
  • Udall voted against $453.5 billion in defense spending in 2005 (RCV#669, 12/19/05)
  • In 2005, Mark Udall voted against $50 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (RCV#669, 12/19/05)
  • And last year, Udall voted against protecting funding for homeless and disabled veterans from cuts, against increasing military housing funding by $275 million, against lowering college loan rates for graduates serving in the military or National Guard, and to prevent senior military officers from working at major defense contractors for a year after retiring. (RCV#714, 7/24/07; RCV#71, 1/31/07; RCV#421, 5/24/07)
"Mark Udall's first trip to Afghanistan smacks of political expediency. Our brave men and women have been proudly serving in Afghanistan since 2001, but Udall waits seven years until he is running for the U.S. Senate to visit them," NRSC Communications Director Rebecca Fisher said. "When Mark Udall finally visits our brave men and women in Afghanistan, he should explain to them why he's repeatedly voted against sending them the resources they need to be successful."
Might we add that Udall more recently also voted to defend Democrat colleague Rep. Pete Stark for his slander of the U.S. military? And now he's going to come back with election-year photo-ops with the troops? If our men and women in uniform could share their honest opinion about Udall and his policies, what would they say?

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