U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) yesterday joined his House Foreign Affairs Committee colleagues in the following statement:
"This committee has jurisdiction over the U.S. State Department and a constitutional obligation to conduct oversight of the agency under Article I,"the Members write."Yet, even though the State Department had a large part of the responsibility for the noncombatant evacuation operation that ultimately resulted in the death of 13 U.S. servicemembers and the abandonment of more than 700 American citizens and tens of thousands of Afghan allies in the Taliban-controlled country, our committee has to date only had one open, full committee hearing with an official from the Biden administration. Holding a closed briefing where the question-and-answer portion is classified at the highest level -- even though the vast majority of the information sought should not be classified -- is not the transparency the American people deserve."
The statement was signed by Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX), and Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Scott Perry (R-PA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Brian Mast (R-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Ken Buck (R-CO), Tim Burchett (R-TN), Mark Green (R-TN), Andy Barr (R-KY), Greg Steube (R-FL), Dan Meuser (R-PA), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), August Pfluger (R-TX), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Young Kim (R-CA), and Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL).
This morning at 9:00am ET, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a briefing on Afghanistan with representatives from the Biden administration. Even though the State Department offered to have a portion of the hearing unclassified, the majority decided to close it to the public and make the question-and-answer section at one of the highest levels of classification, TS/SCI. Since the Afghanistan withdrawal was completed nearly 10 months ago, the committee has only held one open, full committee hearing featuring an administration official.
In the weeks after the fall of Kabul, Congressman Steube said: "It's a sad day in America when we have Americans and SIVs that are trying to coordinate with nongovernment agencies and individuals to try to get out of the country. We know this for a fact -- President Biden said he wasn't going to leave an American behind, and he has, in fact, done that and lied to the American people. We have Americans on the ground. We have Americans that are trying to get out. And why in the world are we surrendering to the Taliban, a terrorist organization recognized globally? We should be going in and getting our people out, regardless of how many people there are. I've read countless stories of Americans at the gates who weren't allowed to come in. And now we know there's Americans caught behind enemy lines, and this administration is doing absolutely nothing about it. And that is a travesty. Every service member that served this country knows we don't leave people behind. It's not what our country does. It's not what our country stands for, and more and more people need to be speaking out against the decisions that this administration has made. This is all in the lap of President Joe Biden."
On August 20, 2021, Congressman Steube introduced HR 5068, The Prioritize Evacuation of U.S. Citizens in Afghanistan Act. The bipartisanlegislation would direct the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State to submit a plan to Congress regarding the evacuation of U.S. citizens trapped in Afghanistan.