- The Washington Times - Friday, August 27, 2021

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi call Congress back into session to deal with Afghanistan as Tuesday’s troop withdrawal deadline nears.

The House was in session for two days this week before adjourning until mid-September.

“Congress can’t sit idle as a separate branch of government while our troops are targeted and Americans remain stranded,” said Mr. McCarthy, California Republican. “It’s time for us to act quickly to save lives.”

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. McCarthy said the House should come back to Washington to receive a comprehensive brief from the Biden administration on the withdrawal.

He has also called on Congress to vote on a bill introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher, Wisconsin Republican, which would prohibit President Biden from withdrawing U.S. troops until all U.S. citizens are evacuated.

Mr. McCarthy made similar calls for Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, to recall the House on Thursday after two suicide attacks ripped through Kabul killing more than 100 people, including 13 service members. 

Mrs. Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said Mr. McCarthy‘s remarks were a distraction.

“What’s not going to help evacuate American citizens is more empty stunts & distraction from the Minority Leader who sat idly by as Pres. Trump proudly negotiated with the Taliban,” Mr. Hammill wrote Thursday on Twitter. “The Biden Administration has repeatedly briefed the Congress & providing frequent updates each day.”

Republicans and Democrats alike have been critical of Mr. Biden’s commitment to the end-of-month deadline.

Mr. Biden, earlier this week, confirmed that the U.S. would adhere to the end-of-month deadline for a full U.S. withdrawal a day after CIA Director William Burns met with Taliban officials. Mr. Biden cited a growing terrorist threat emanating ISIS-K, an offshoot of the Islamic State operating in Afghanistan, that he said will target U.S. troops.

The terrorist group, which is believed to be at odds with and uncontrolled by the Taliban, has been blamed for a terrorist attack Thursday at the Kabul airport that killed more than 100 people, including 13 U.S. service members.

“This isn’t the time for Taliban-dictated deadlines,” Mr. McCarthy said. “This isn’t the time for doing nothing. This is the time for decisive leadership.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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