House Armed Services Committee Republicans have filed dozens of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act looking for answers related to the United States's withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The committee is set to mark up the annual defense bill on Wednesday, just days after the U.S. military completed its withdrawal from the Middle Eastern country, ending the war that has gone on for almost two decades.
A GOP House aide told the Washington Examiner that the Republicans on the committee have proposed more than 50 amendments regarding the withdrawal. Some of the amendments would require things of the Biden administration: Designate the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization, forbid the use of taxpayer dollars to go to the Taliban, and design a counterterrorism plan for Afghanistan.
Other proposed amendments include making sure Iran cannot aid the Taliban, force the Department of Defense to brief lawmakers on terror groups that could grow under the Taliban’s regime in Afghanistan, as well as to detail exactly what equipment was left behind.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, U.S. CENTCOM commander, said the U.S. left inoperable 70 MRAPs and 27 Humvees, both of which are military vehicles, and 73 aircraft, while Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the only things they left in working condition were “a couple of fire trucks and some forklifts so that the airport itself can remain more operational going forward.”
The House Republican aide also said the Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee plan to propose amendments regarding the teaching of critical race theory in military institutions.
Critical race theory provides an alternative perspective on the country and its history on race. Despite dating back to the 1970s, it has gained national prominence in recent months. The theory posits that institutions in the country are implicitly designed to keep white people ahead of minorities, and thus, the only way to get to a fully just society is to dismantle the system.
Conservatives have repeatedly denounced the teaching of the theory in both military academies and in schools nationwide, arguing that it instills division among the racially diverse ranks.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Department of Defense does not “teach” or “embrace” the theory during a House Armed Services Committee budget hearing in June, though certain aspects of critical race theory were represented in the Air Force Academy’s diversity and inclusion program required for all cadets.
Another issue yet to play out is how much money Congress will allocate for the military. President Joe Biden requested $715 billion for the Department of Defense, while Committee Chairman Adam Smith called for $716 billion in his own budget mark. Progressives in the House urged the committee to limit military spending, though the Senate Armed Services Committee issued an authorization measure that provides more than $740 billion to DOD, which is $25 billion more than either Biden or House lawmakers are seeking.
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Original Author: Mike Brest