This week in Congress: Lawmakers hold first hearings on Afghanistan evacuation missteps

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Lawmakers this week will hold their first public hearings on the Afghanistan withdrawal and evacuation missions since all military forces departed from the country late last month.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday and Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday to answer questions about his department’s role in the effort, and the uncertain fate of Americans and Afghan allies still trying to escape the country.

He is expected to face harsh questioning from both Republican lawmakers — who have publicly denounced President Joe Biden for missteps in the planned military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent chaotic exit of tens of thousands of individuals — and Democrats who have raised concerns about refugees and allies left behind in the Taliban takeover.

Senate Armed Services Committee members will hear from Gen. Austin Scott Miller, former commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, on those same issues on Wednesday, but in a non-public, classified briefing.

The committee has scheduled two more public hearings on the issue this month, including one with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on Sept. 28. House Armed Services Committee leaders have said they also plan on holding similar hearings in coming weeks.

Monday, Sept. 13

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn

Afghanistan withdrawal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will testify on the evacuation of Americans and foriegn allies from Afghanistan.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — online hearing

Budget resolution

The committee will mark up several legislative proposals related to the sweeping budget reconciliation plan under consideration in the House.

Tuesday, Sept. 14

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — 106 Dirksen

Afghanistan withdrawal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will testify on the evacuation of Americans and foriegn allies from Afghanistan.

Wednesday, Sept. 15

Senate Armed Services — 9:15 a.m. — closed briefing

Afghanistan withdrawal

Gen. Austin Scott Miller, former commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, will testify in a closed session about the military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen

Nominations

The committee will consider several nominations, including Julieta Valls Noyes to be assistant Secretary of State for refugee issues.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2:30 p.m. — 419 Dirksen

Nominations

The committee will consider several nominations, including Adam Scheinman to be special representative to the president on nuclear non-proliferation issues.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.



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Anthony Barnett
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