Previously scheduled Congressional schedules and hearings on Afghanistan and U.S. intelligence will now have an important development to take into consideration: the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The Senate voted on a resolution to congratulate the U.S. troops and intelligence community for the death of Osama bin Laden. In a rare occurance, each Senator sat it in his or her desk for the roll call. One-by-one, members voted in favor of the measure that commends the killing of the al Qaeda leader.
Lawmakers also received a closed-door classified briefing on the mission that resulted in Osama bin Laden being killed by two bullets, one to the chest and one to the head. Emerging members said they learned more important details.
Rep. Pete King (R-NY) said the U.S.'s relationship with and billion dollar financial aid package to Pakistan needs to be scrutinzed.
Two congressional hearings today discussed the future of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan in light of the bin Laden's death.
At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-IN) said the U.S. should rethink its fight in Afghanistan. He said, "Afghanistan does not carry a strategic value that justifies 100,000 troops and a $100 billion a year cost. Also at the hearing, he said President Obama needs to be "forthcoming "about the mission's goals. Senator Lugar has become more critical of the war effort in recent months.
Today's hearing is the first of six on the U.S.'s role in Afghanistan. The committee, chaired by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) heard testimony from Ronald E. Neumann, president, American Academy of Diplomacy; Anne-Marie Slaughter, professor of politics and international affairs, Princeton University; and Richard N. Haass, president, Council on Foreign Relations.
Administration officials warn that the U.S.'s fight against al Qaeda is not over. The Associated Press reported that CIA Director Leon Panetta told employees "though bin Laden is dead, Al Qaeda is not."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. will continue to "take the fight" to the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Some members of Congress are cautioning the same. In a short news conference Monday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), "This makes our engagement in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan more important, not less.
Other lawmakers are taking a position similar to Senator Lugar's, especially on the left. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) wrote in a press release that "the time has come to re-examine our military strategy in Afghanistan."
This afternoon, the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on "threats emanating from Pakistan." Frederick Kagan, resident scholar and director, Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute; Seth G. Jones, senior political scientist, RAND Corporation; Stephen Tankel, visiting fellow, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will testify.
This morning on the Washington Journal, two members of Congress discussed the death of Osama bin Laden. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Rep. Robb Whitman (R-VA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee appeared on the program.