On the heels of what sounded like a disastrous meeting between President Joe Biden and family members of those killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul last week, GOP members of Congress said that one of their Democratic colleagues blocked the names of the 13 deceased service members from being read on the floor Tuesday.
While members of one Gold Star family walked out of a meeting with President Joe Biden before he even got a chance to speak with them, one Democrat shut down Republican veterans who wanted to read off the names of those lost.
This is all terrible.
During a pro forma session, a group of Republicans gathered on the House floor to introduce a bill to demand accountability from the Biden administration over its handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
On Monday, the last troops pulled out of the country, ending the 20-year war in which several of the GOP members served.
The GOP contingent of Republican veterans said House leadership refused to recognize their attempt to read the names of the 13 service members who were killed in an ISIS-K suicide bomb attack outside an entrance to the Kabul airport on Thursday in the final days of the chaotic evacuation.
“We gaveled in, had a prayer, said the Pledge of Allegiance, took a moment of silence with pretty much all Republican veterans, then asked to be recognized to read names and bring up Afghanistan legislation. They did not acknowledge us and just closed the House down,” Florida Rep. Brian Mast, himself a combat veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan, told The Floridian on Tuesday.
Fox News reported that the bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and would have required the Biden administration to establish a plan to bring the Americans still trapped in Afghanistan safely home. The State Department said Monday the number of Americans left behind when troops withdrew is in the “low hundreds.”
Yet when the group of roughly 30 Republicans tried to get recognition to introduce their bill and read the names of the deceased service members, they were gaveled out by Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan, who was presiding over the chamber.
“How can you not read the names?” one member shouted, according to the Washington Examiner. “Turn your back on our country,” another yelled.
Illinois Rep. Mary Miller called Dingell’s move “shameful” on Twitter.
Democrats just shut down the House Floor when Afghanistan veterans stood up to speak.
— Congresswoman Mary Miller (@RepMaryMiller) August 31, 2021
“Don’t you think our military deserves better?” Rep. Carlos Gimenez of Florida tweeted.
How badly do Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats want to cover up this Afghanistan debacle?
They just blocked Members of Congress from reading the names of the service members who sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan last week.
Don’t you think our military deserves better?
— Congressman Carlos A. Gimenez (@RepCarlos) August 31, 2021
“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,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said at a news conference later in the day, according to Fox. “What is the plan to bring Americans home safely? Not some, but every single American?”
“Speaker Pelosi, now is not the time to act like you could not see us on the floor,” he added. “Now is not the time to hide. We are a co-equal branch.”
The Examiner noted that while Republicans had expected their bill to be blocked on the floor, they “hope that bipartisan support can grow for the bill as they start on a variety of actions to hold the Biden administration accountable for the chaotic withdrawal” and they have something else up their sleeve.
“The next opportunity is a committee markup session for the annual spending bill that funds the U.S. Military, the National Defense Authorization Act. Proposed Republican amendments include requiring an accounting of what equipment was left behind, an explanation for why Bagram Air Base was abandoned, and regular congressional briefings on the groups that will form because of the withdrawal,” the outlet explained.
These are all certainly pressing issues — and it doesn’t bode well for the Washington Democratic establishment that Pelosi’s cohorts in the House responded to this demand for accountability by not only ignoring the members who wished to speak, including veterans who served in the very war that Biden so disastrously ended, but also ignoring a request to read the names of those last 13 lives lost in the conflict.
It’s unthinkable that Americans were abandoned to the hands of a murderous terrorist regime, and you’d think that there would easily be bipartisan support for a bill demanding the Biden administration come up with a plan to recover them.
Will the Democrats just ignore the names of American civilians killed when the harrowing stories of what the Taliban has done to them start trickling in, like they ignored the names of our honorable service members on the House floor?
CORRECTION, Sept. 1, 2021: This commentary originally cited the 13 fallen service members as “12 Marines and one Navy corpsman.” Those killed by the suicide bomber included 11 Marines, the corpsman, and a U.S. Army special operator, and we have changed the text accordingly.
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