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Rep. Young Kim at Foreign Affairs Hearing

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-39) introduced the Rescue Endangered SIVs and Citizens and Urgently Evacuate to Safety (RESCUES) Act of 2022 to establish congressional oversight of the State Department’s management of private Afghanistan evacuation operations.

Months following the Biden Administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, American citizens remain stranded in the region alongside Afghan men and women who fought with U.S. troops against terrorism.

The RESCUES Act enforces Congressional oversight on the executive branch and increases transparency on evacuation efforts by creating key reporting requirements for the State Department to provide to Congress and identifying bureaucratic hurdles faced by private evacuation forces. The State Department report would include:

  • A breakdown of costs toward specific purposes, such as flights, visa fees, passport fees and housing;
  • Whether any fees were paid directly to the Taliban;
  • The number of people who have been evacuated under specified categories;
  • The number of people in those categories who are still seeking evacuation; and,
  • Efforts by the State Department to prevent waste, fraud or abuse of funds provided for these purposes.

Congresswoman Kim was joined in introducing the RESCUES Act by House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (NY-21), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul (TX-10), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Chris Smith (NJ-04) and Brian Mast (FL-18). Read the bill text here.

“The Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has resulted in the loss of 13 U.S. servicemembers, abandoned Americans and allies behind enemy lines, emboldened the Taliban to expand its terrorist network and tainted America’s standing on the world stage,” said Kim. “The State Department’s disorganized handling of evacuations and lack of communication with Congress and the American people continues to prompt questions and warrant answers. Our mission is not over as long as Americans remain in Taliban- controlled Afghanistan, which is why I am proud to lead the RESCUES Act to ensure Congress uses its oversight powers and the American people can have answers. I’m grateful to the NGOs, veterans and Congressional offices who have stepped up to fulfill the critical role the Biden Administration was unprepared to handle and will continue to do everything in my power to support their efforts and ensure taxpayer dollars are used wisely.”

“Biden’s failed withdrawal from Afghanistan needlessly left behind American citizens and Afghan allies,” Stefanik said. “Americans deserve to know their taxpayer dollars are being put to good use by providing for the rescue of those left stranded, so we must have clarity and accountability from the Department of State. I am proud to join my colleagues to ensure these time-sensitive operations are being conducted transparently and that State is working efficiently to get our remaining American citizens and Afghan allies to safety as quickly as possible.”

“The Biden Administration’s mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal was a disaster, resulting in American citizens and partners being left behind and private organizations burdened with helping them. Congressional oversight is absolutely necessary to ensure U.S. taxpayers know how and when their money is being used to rescue Americans and allies. I am grateful to Congresswoman Kim for introducing this vital legislation,” said McCaul.

Congresswoman Kim has repeatedly called for accountability by the Biden administration for their actions in Afghanistan by:

  • Asking Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing of the status of evacuations her office had been leading after not hearing back from the State Department;
  • Pushing for continued sanctions against the Taliban following the withdrawal of American troops from the region;
  • Leading a bipartisan resolution to support Afghan women and girls;
  • Penning a letter with 18 colleagues to the president demanding more briefings;
  • Helping lead a bipartisan resolution to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. servicemembers who gave everything to save lives in Kabul;
  • Voting in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included $250 million for counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan; and,
  • Supporting a continuing resolution that included $6.3 billion for assistance for Americans left behind in Afghanistan.

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