Jones calls for end to conflict

Published 1:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flanked by photographs taken at the funerals of soldiers killed in Afghanistan, 3rd District Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., on Monday told members of the Beaufort County Republican Club that it’s time to put America first and bring the war to an end. (WDN Photo/Betty Mitchell Gray)

CHOCOWINITY – U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., on Monday told members of the Beaufort County Republican Club that it’s time to bring the 10-year war in Afghanistan to an end and bring America’s troops home.

And he called on local Republicans to lobby U.S. Rep. John Boehner, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to take up the call to end the war.

“We’re just about to wear out our military,” he said. “It’s time to bring them home.”

Jones, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the crowd of about 35 GOP faithful that the president’s 2011 deadline for beginning to withdraw troops from Afghanistan will apparently be pushed back to 2014.

He said the new deadline will add another three years to the war and while this withdrawal is completely dependent on the Afghans’ readiness to take over, it appears that Afghanistan’s military will not be prepared to do so.

Jones, a Republican who represents part of Beaufort County, has been one of the leading voices in Congress calling for an end to the war saying that the toll on the nation’s military has become too great.

“I don’t know how many more of our soldiers have to die,” he said.

And given the recent economic downturn in the United States and the nation’s growing debt, the money spent on keeping the nation’s military in Afghanistan and Iraq could be better spent solving problems at home, Jones said.

In addition to remarks about Afghanistan, Jones discussed several issues before Congress and answered questions from those attending the meeting in a town-hall format.

The meeting also included campaign speeches from two Republicans seeking seats on the Washington City Council – Rick Gagliano and Lloyd May – who called for an end to the high electric rates in Washington and an investigation of ElectriCities, the membership organization that includes more than 70 municipally-owned and operated electric services.

Jones was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 after serving 10 years in the N.C. House of Representatives.

In an interview with the Daily News before his remarks, Jones talked about the debate underway in Congress over disaster assistance funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

A vote by the U.S. Senate late Monday ended that battle between the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate after FEMA announced it would not run out of money early this week as it had expected.

Instead of passing a White House request for $500 million in emergency spending, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, declared that something else would have to be cut first.

Jones, who is co-chairman of the bipartisan House Hurricane Irene Coalition, said he supported legislation requiring budget reductions to offset FEMA appropriations.

But, he told the Daily News, he would have supported a disaster relief funding that did not include offsets in order to give FEMA the money it needs for disaster recovery.

Members of the Hurricane Irene Coalition are working to ensure FEMA has the resources it needs to support the recovery effort and to support recovery efforts in their districts.

“This hurricane has touched a lot of people who haven’t been touched by a hurricane before,” he said.

Jones was in Beaufort County during a weeklong House of Representatives recess, scheduled every five weeks by Boehner to give House members the chance to meet with constituents in their districts.

Jones answered audience questions about the effects of budget cuts on the nation’s military, a proposed flat-tax rate, the effectiveness of the Federal Reserve System and immigration reform.

He also told the audience that he is supporting GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul.