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Sen. Claire McCaskill

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Move the Money Home

Posted: 12/01/11 02:52 PM ET

Today, I introduced a measure in the Senate to shift funds from large-scale construction projects in Afghanistan to the construction of roads and bridges right here at home.

The spending on infrastructure in Afghanistan simply isn't working.

The majority of the money we spend in Afghanistan is used to support our troops on the ground, to train the Afghan army, and to integrate and train the Afghan police so that there can be rule of law and stability in that country -- and my measure wouldn't affect any of those resources.

But the amount of money originally set aside to fund small-scale humanitarian and repair projects to build goodwill in local populations has ballooned.

Vast sums of money are now being used to build entire electrical grids in Kandahar, networks of roads and highways in Helmand Province, and other projects that the country of Afghanistan cannot possibly secure or sustain.

Furthermore, a study carried out for the commander of our military forces in Afghanistan found no persuasive evidence that the infrastructure projects are enhancing the military's counterinsurgency mission.

If America is going to build roads and bridges, I believe they ought to be built here, not in an unstable war zone.

Let's use that money instead to build roads in the United States, where we don't have to hire security to keep workers from getting shot or run the risk of funds being funneled to our enemies.

By passing my measure, we could immediately infuse up to $800 million into the U.S. Highway Trust Fund to start making headway in our country's backlog of infrastructure needs, and -- even more importantly -- put folks back to work here at home.

I still support the mission in Afghanistan. But with so many needs at home, and so much instability there, we should be using American money to invest in the infrastructure projects we need here.

This measure is an important step in that direction.

Click here to become a citizen cosponsor of this important measure.