Absent Democrats give Republicans new opening on Afghanistan
House Republicans are seizing on the absence of their Democratic colleagues in Washington by launching a full-scale political attack on President Biden and his top aides after the deadly withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
While congressional Democrats have been largely silent after Monday’s official end to the war, with many back in their congressional districts for the final three weeks of the summer recess, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in recent days has held a pair of news conferences in the Capitol demanding that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) call the House back into session.
McCarthy also convened a roundtable of two dozen Afghanistan vets, including Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Brian Mast (R-Fla.), to press for action.
And 30 Republicans unsuccessfully tried to force a vote on the House floor Tuesday demanding more accountability from the Biden administration. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), a Pelosi ally presiding in the chamber, refused to recognize the Republicans and quickly gaveled the session closed.
“Never in my lifetime would I ever believe America would have an administration knowingly make a decision to leave Americans behind. ... We now have Americans stuck in Afghanistan, the Taliban in charge with more weaponry than they've ever had in the past, and a border that is open,” McCarthy, flanked by dozens of GOP colleagues, said at a news conference in the otherwise sleepy Capitol.
“Speaker Pelosi, now was not the time to act like you could not see us on the floor, now was not the time to hide,” he continued. “We are a co-equal branch. Now is the time for leadership in Congress, and we will lead.”