WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after President Obama announced he will keep a residual force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

“It’s time to end the longest war in American history. It’s time for our servicemembers in Afghanistan to safely come home to their families. We cannot afford to spend trillions of dollars on wars, while working families here at home are forced to get by without unemployment insurance and nutrition assistance. A troop presence in Afghanistan could last indefinitely, which would mean fewer resources for investments in infrastructure, education, and sustainable jobs for the middle class here at home. 

“No decisions should be made on a lasting troop presence in Afghanistan until Congress weighs in. Last week, Republicans denied the House of Representatives an up-or-down vote to end the war. We urge the Congressional Leadership in the House and Senate to schedule a vote on the war in Afghanistan as soon as possible. 

“President Obama promised he would end the war in Afghanistan. We are glad the original combat mission in Afghanistan is coming to a close, but keeping a residual force of over 9,800 in the country after 2014 is not ending the war.”

The CPC has long opposed unlimited involvement in Afghanistan. Our men and women in uniform deserve to come home, and the Afghan people deserve a new approach to our relationship that emphasizes humanitarian aid and capacity-building rather than focusing, as we have done in the past, almost exclusively on military objectives