The House Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment Friday requiring Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to detail various elements of the Pentagon’s activities in Afghanistan, including how military officials plan to facilitate the evacuation of American citizens who were left behind.
Proposed by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., the committee’s ranking Republican member, the amendment also directs Austin to brief Congress on the Pentagon’s plan to maintain air superiority in Afghanistan, its ongoing intelligence and surveillance operations, as well as counterterrorism operations.
Rogers’ amendment was one of dozens of measures adopted during the committee’s deliberations this week on the National Defense Authorization Act. The Alabama lawmaker and other GOP lawmakers have pressured the Biden administration to be transparent about their policies on Afghanistan following a chaotic U.S. withdrawal.
Representatives for Rogers and the Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
A separate amendment introduced by Rogers that proposed increasing the defense budget topline by $24 billion for a total of $740 billion drew bipartisan support from committee lawmakers. The vote was seen as a rebuke to President Biden, who proposed defense spending of $715 billion in fiscal 2022.
The House Armed Services Committee passed its version of the NDAA by a vote of 57-2.
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“I am pleased that the Armed Services Committee once again passed a National Defense Authorization Act out of the Committee this morning,” Rogers said in a statement earlier this week. “We did so in a bipartisan manner, including voting together to address the shortfall in the Biden budget.”
“I thank Chairman Smith and our Republican and Democrat colleagues for their hard work on this year’s NDAA markup. I look forward to this bill moving to the floor and being signed into law,” he added.