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April 21, 2012 12:37 AM UTC

So You Want To "Bring The Troops Home," Do You?

  • by: Colorado Pols

A brief note in the record from this week’s news, CBS4:

Rep. Mike Coffman believes it’s time to start pulling out U.S. troops that are stationed in Europe…

“The Cold War has been over since 1989, the mission where these soldiers were initially sent over there has long since changed and it’s time to bring our folks home,” said Coffman.

He believes a leaner more mobile U.S. Military would still be able to react if needed.

Make no mistake, Rep. Mike Coffman has certainly proposed cuts to the Department of Defense in the past, and we’ve credited him for having the courage to buck his own party on the generally-sacrosanct matter of defense spending. But that’s not quite the whole story in this case. CBS4 reported that “many Republicans are opposed to the proposal,” but as it turns out, there have been multiple recent amendments to reduce American troop strength in Europe.

H.AMDT.130 to H.R.1 An amendment numbered 46 printed in the Congressional Record to prohibit the use of funds to maintain an end strength level of members of the Armed Forces of the United States assigned to permanent duty in Europe in excess of 35,000 members and end strength levels for active duty members of the Army, Navy, and Air Force of 565,275, 328,250, and 329,275, respectively, and the amounts otherwise provided by this Act for “Military Personnel, Army”, “Military Personnel, Navy” and “Military Personnel, Air Force” in title I of division A are hereby reduced by $155,914,688, $18,047,700, and $118,488,825, respectively.

Sponsor: Rep Polis, Jared [CO-2] (introduced 2/18/2011) Cosponsors (None)

Latest Major Action: 2/18/2011 House amendment not agreed to. Status: On agreeing to the Polis amendment (A120) Failed by recorded vote: 74 – 351 (Roll no. 118).

H.Amdt. 332 by Rep. Polis [D-CO2] Amendment sought to reduce the amount of troops stationed in Europe to 30,000 and would have cut overall end strength levels by 10,000 a year over the next five years.

An amendment numbered 60 printed in House Report 112-88 to reduce the amount of troops stationed in Europe to 30,000 and would cut overall end strength levels by 10,000 a year over the next five years.

May 26, 2011. On agreeing to the Polis amendment (A032) Failed by recorded vote: 96 – 323, 1 Present (Roll no. 365).

H.AMDT.575 to H.R.2219 An amendment to prohibit use of funds in the bill to maintain an end strength level of troops in Europe to more than 30,000 and to reduce military personnel accounts accordingly.

Sponsor: Rep Polis, Jared [CO-2] (introduced 7/7/2011) Cosponsors (None)

Latest Major Action: 7/8/2011 House amendment not agreed to. Status: On agreeing to the Polis amendment (A070) Failed by recorded vote: 113 – 307 (Roll no. 529).

When we saw this story, we recalled almost immediately that Democratic Rep. Jared Polis has repeatedly run amendments that would have reduced American troop strength in Europe. As you can see above, they all failed by substantial and bipartisan margins–a fully expected fate for such a bill in the GOP-dominated House, with even many Democrats unwilling to join a lost cause.

But folks, why did Rep. Coffman vote against every one of these amendments too?

We assume there’s a reason, beyond simply “going with the flow”–especially when Coffman is proud that his proposal to cut troop strength in Europe is unpopular. It’s a case where this seems logical given his record of supporting some defense cuts, but then you have to explain why he voted against amendments to do something similar to what he now says he wants.

What say you, Polsters? Is there some unexplained nuance that excuses these votes, or is Coffman an opportunist hypocrite looking to burnish swing-district credentials?


19 thoughts on “So You Want To “Bring The Troops Home,” Do You?

  1. Damn fine sense of danger the man has.

    You say he is a veteran? But, he is a Republican and they are rare for even wearing a uniform so he does have some crud cred.

    Afghanistan would be a nice place to start. The troops in the line of fire should be pulled back first.

    1. About 20% of the members of the House are veterans, with the breakdown being 14% Republican and 6% Democrat.  In the Senate it’s a bit more respectable with 26% of the members being veterans, with 14% being Republican and 12% being Democrat.

      The Dems could do with a bit more effort in recruiting veterans into their party.

        1. … one of the worst treatments of a veteran in politics in recent memory.  It will be interesting to see how Joe Walsh will attack Tammy Duckworth in IL 8th District election.  The GOP does seem to have a thing against multiple-amputee veterans….

  2. voted against all Dem generated amendments because the important thing isn’t the actual policy but making sure Ds don’t win anything or get credit for anything. Knows his “new” proposal has no chance of passing and therefore won’t give leadership much cause to be pissed off at him but it makes him look more moderate and courageously independent (?) in his new, more purple district. Think I’m getting warm?

    PS. I’m CD 6. Coffman is always a reliable party liner except on a really, really rare occasion when he knows he can go a teensy bit rogue without affecting an outcome or ruffling a feather. He’s never fought for anything outside the GOP party box.

    1. Coffman has supported DOD cuts that are properly targeted to not compromise our ability to defend freedom. He supported those cuts long before redistricting was ever an issue.

      You guys have to really thread the needle to make this accusation stick. I’m certain that Coffman has an excellent reason why he opposed these amendments, and once I hear it, I expect it will explain why Polis’s amendments were bad policy.

      Coffman is a smart man and a qualified legislator. I trust that his motives are genuine.

        1. The part about “defending freedom” sounded kinda sorta awfully similar to Bush selling freedom fries.

          Also, it’s a form of recon by fire, to see if it can get traction. With the Vietnam era draft dodging red nominee bringing no less than 30 of the Bush Administration “Vulcans” in to the campaign, there’ll be a very well coordinated effort to outflank the President on a “lean military” angle.

          There’s a move afoot in the silver spooner’s camp to qualify staying in Afghanistan.

          Getting to the right of the man that got Bin Laden.

          At this point, Shamus’ abusive former owner’s campaign is hoping for bad news from Afghanistan, ready to pounce on it.

          These people are really disgusting.    

  3. I think Coffman might truly be interested in some defense spending cuts, but I also think he voted against the Polis amendments on party lines for the sake of supporting the party line.

    And I don’t think his proposal has much of a chance with his own party; he probably won’t have the opportunity to invest significant resources in it, so it’s a relative freebie with some of his more war-loving supporters.

  4. Yes- he’s runnign for Senate now.

    Can’t agree with D’s- need that AFP rating to be high. And can’t risk RINO status.

    And he knows it’s DOA. So he can vote for the GOTP equivalent.

    You’ll see, 2 years he’ll be running v Udall and this will come up.

    1. Udall is definitely a chicken hawk when it comes to the military.  He might be even more invisible in the Senate than Allard but he does love his military.

    2. Coffman can’t be too concerned about losing his House Seat this year, even with the newly drawn district.  Who’s going to beat him? Miklosi?  Yeah, right.  But for Senate and Gov. races moderate to conservative Dems have done a lot better than far right Rs for quite a while. Banking a couple of safe, harmless instances of  showing at least some degree of independence from the conservative Borg to present to low info middle and indie voters in a future race isn’t a bad idea.  Look at courageous me.  Look at independent thinker me. U-huh.

      For those inclined to see him as even a little independent, gutsy  and willing to stand for anything, look at his voting record and you’ll see that safe and harmless is all the guy does. He always goes right along with the party line whenever push comes anywhere close to shove. I’ve got the responses to all my e-mails to prove it.

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