President Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan left 13 U.S. service members dead, Americans stranded in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and led U.S. allies to question American leadership – and it’s already becoming a central part of Republicans’ 2022 pitch to take back the House and Senate. 

About two dozen House Republicans took to the House floor Tuesday in a stunt designed to put heat on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democrats over the botched pullout. They demanded that the House pass by unanimous consent a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., to require the Biden administration to come up with a plan to bring home the Americans it stranded in Afghanistan. 

They got nowhere in that effort, however, as the House was in a pro forma session where the body gavels in and gavels out in just a few seconds. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., shut them down then gaveled the House out of session. But the Republicans made their point. 

“The question will be, will Speaker Pelosi be willing to bang the gavel herself and to deny us, or who will she select as the Democrat and why would that person do it?” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Monday as veterans in his caucus announced their plan to try to pass the Gallagher bill. 

A group of House Republicans tried Tuesday to get the chamber to pass a bill requiring the Biden administration to have a plan to bring Americans stranded in Afghanistan home. The chamber observed a moment of silence first. (Official feed/screengrab)

A group of House Republicans tried Tuesday to get the chamber to pass a bill requiring the Biden administration to have a plan to bring Americans stranded in Afghanistan home. The chamber observed a moment of silence first. (Official feed/screengrab)

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“We had hoped to have an opportunity to be recognized to move a bill by veteran Mike Gallagher. It’s very simple what we’re requesting,” McCarthy added at a press conference shortly after the floor stunt. “What is the plan to bring Americans home safely? Not some, but every single American?”

McCarthy added: “Speaker Pelosi, now is not the time to act like you could not see us on the floor.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that up to 200 Americans may still be stranded in Afghanistan. 

McCarthy Monday also implored Republicans Monday to “fan out across this nation” to build support for another bill backed by Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., also aimed at holding the Biden administration accountable for Afghanistan, indicating Republicans have no plans to let up on this issue. 

As Democrats perhaps sensed political vulnerability for the administration, Vice President Harris went to the Senate to help pass a bill via unanimous consent to approve $10 million for the food, shelter and transportation of Americans evacuated from Afghanistan. But the bill does not address Americans stranded in the country after the military evacuation and Harris ignored questions from Fox News both on her way in and out of the Senate. 

Biden is also suffering from plunging approval ratings – not necessarily a good sign for the party in power in the midterms – and fierce backlash from the families of the Marines who were killed during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

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Further, multiple Democrat congressional committee chairs plan to take investigatory action into the Afghanistan withdrawal, indicating that probed into the Biden administration could last well into 2022. 

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., called for an investigation, as did Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., meanwhile invited Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to testify before his committee. 

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., presides over a pro forma session of the House of Representatives as about two dozen Republicans demand that the chamber consider a bill to force the Biden administration to come up with a plan to bring Americans stranded over Afghanistan home. (Official feed/screengrab)

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., presides over a pro forma session of the House of Representatives as about two dozen Republicans demand that the chamber consider a bill to force the Biden administration to come up with a plan to bring Americans stranded over Afghanistan home. (Official feed/screengrab)

This does not even include the several GOP committee ranking members who plan to take unilateral action looking into Afghanistan. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., is also introduding a rule to provide for a discharge petition on the Gallagher bill, which will also up the pressure on Democrats to back the legislation over the next few weeks. 

All of this could bode poorly for Democrats in 2022 when they will be forced to defend historically thin majorities in the House and Senate. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) which needs to flip just one seat in 2022 to gain a GOP majority, is already attacking potentially vulnerable Democrat senators. 

Citing comments from Biden in 2006 demanding the firing of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “for the message it would send” about “holding our own people accountable,” the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Monday aimed to pressure vulnerable Democrats over the Afghanistan situation. 

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“Democrats in the Senate have not demanded the same accountability that President Biden did 15 years ago. Instead, they’re worried about the politics, offering weak platitudes to distance themselves from President Biden instead of concrete accountability,” the NRSC said. “Will Democrat Senators like Maggie Hassan, Raphael Warnock, Mark Kelly, Catherine Cortez Masto, and Michael Bennet step up and hold this Administration accountable?”

The White House, meanwhile, has been touting the mere fact that Biden followed through on his promise to remove all Americans from Afghanistan as a victory, despite the major costs of the move – including dead Americans and an Afghanistan now controlled by the brutal Taliban regime. And it’s now set to turn its attention to its economic agenda in September, including two major spending bills – one for about $1 trillion on infrastructure and another for about $3.5 trillion on a massive list of Democrat-backed proposals. 

The White House did not return a request for comment for this story. The request included questions about whether the president believes Americans will care about the U.S. citizens stranded in Afghanistan in 2022, or simply be happy to be out of the 20-year war; and the president’s response to the families of the fallen Marines. 

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Jason Donner and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report. 

Source Link:
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/midterm-elections-biden-republicans-afghanistan

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