“If President Biden won’t lead, the Republicans in Congress must” – a quote from Congressman John Joyce

CHAMBERSBURG – With news of 13 US troops killed in Afghanistan breaking yesterday, the crisis in the Middle East is continuing to mount since the US withdrawal a week ago.

Congressman John Joyce joined Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen Friday morning on First News to talk about Afghanistan.

Joyce said, “I’m deeply saddened and upset by what’s happened in the past 24 hours. We’ve seen a clear failure in leadership that began months ago with President Biden’s decision to try to make a media opportunity out of our withdrawal from Afghanistan by having it coincide with the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It is not the time to risk American lives to score political points and that’s exactly what Biden did. His incompetent action compounded on itself when he refused to acknowledge the sheer volume of evacuations that would need to happen as we carefully withdrew.”

Joyce continued, “Members of Congress – both sides of the aisle – we were alarmed by the Biden administration’s lack of planning…and wrote to President Biden and Secretary Blinken asking them to address the issue. Let us know, how can you do this safely? By pulling out of critical strong points, the Taliban was able to gain control of equipment. Equipment that was sourced from America and resources that contributed to ability that allowed them to rapidly take over Afghanistan. The Biden administration said that they had prepared every contingency, but yesterday we saw clearly that NOT to be true. Their lack of planning and inability to prepare for a crisis amidst the withdrawal is what put American lives at risk. And that’s my concern. President Trump would have never agreed to an unconditional withdrawal. President Biden bears the responsibility for what has happened in Afghanistan and his ability to lead has cost American lives. The 12 Marines, the one Navy Corpsman, I know these people. I worked shoulder to shoulder with medical corpsman from the Navy. I took care of Marines. The ability of Biden to leave these service members vulnerable to attacks is unacceptable.”

Joyce is calling for Congressional action.

He said, “Speaker Pelosi needs to bring Congress back into session today. I’m co-sponsoring a bill that would require the Department of Defense to provide daily updates to Congress on the withdrawal from Afghanistan. We can’t do that from home. Pelosi needs to close the refrigerator and put down the ice cream and bring us back to Washington. Last week, we had a classified briefing that was short because Nancy Pelosi wanted to hold a vote on her $5 trillion socialist spending bill. Now is not the time to allow Pelosi to continue pushing her priorities. If President Biden won’t lead, Republicans in Congress must. I am asking that we go back to Washington. We begin these investigations. We understand how this ineptitude at the top has allowed American lives to be lost. It’s quite concerning. I’m ready. The Jeep is packed. I have a full tank of gas. I’m ready to go back to Washington. We must begin this today.”

Jansen said, “The failure of leadership. It’s so stunning in its scope and the effects it’s had. I’m nearly apoplectic when you hear that Joe Biden told them that they could only have 600 Marines for Bagram Air Force Base. Then the military came back and said we can’t hold that with only 600 Marines. Well that’s all I’m giving you. And then they acquiesce to that and they give up the strategic point that we should have had for this ridiculous plan that they had? Where they would have had kilometers between them and the Taliban enemies and the people that could have blown up as we lost those 13 service members yesterday and the military just caved to that? Why didn’t someone resign? And come out and say this is incompetence. We cannot do this under this man’s leadership. He is leading us astray. Where’s the leadership in the military? Where are we going to get the answers to that? General Milley and his worried about white rage. This is just the epitome of poor leadership and inability to put things in the right order.”

Joyce said, “You’re spot on with that assessment. Where is that leadership? Where is the Department of Defense? That’s why I co-sponsored this legislation that we receive daily updates on the withdrawal. We cannot risk more American lives. Let’s face it, this sacrifice should not be in vain. Our active duty military were rushed into hostile territory with a single focus and a single mission – to save the lives of the Americans who have been trapped behind enemy lines. And who did we engage with? We engaged with the Taliban. This is unacceptable. We need to make sure that we ensure the safety of the Americans and our allies at the airport and we need to work to save lives and bring them home…Pelosi must bring us back into session. We cannot stand by and not address a crisis that has occurred under the Biden administration.”

Ryan said, “I called Bob Casey’s office yesterday and Pat Toomey’s office yesterday and left some messages. This was before this tragedy actually happened. I was so angry at what’s happening on the southern border, what’s happening in Afghanistan, what’s happening on all sorts of different fronts and asked them, begged them because I was on the answering machine to pick up the phone.”

“We’re all busy,” Joyce said. “But we have a responsibility to answer you and to answer the constituents here. I heard. This is an opportunity to try and answer these questions.”

Jansen said, “We know a lot of Congress folks have been dealing with their own constituents with family in Afghanistan. Has your office had to deal with some similar situations?

“Absolutely,” Joyce said. “And some cases that are close to home. I was in Franklin County yesterday…Chambersburg Chief of Police, Ron Camacho, his former interpreter is stuck behind and we are working with him and with that person to bring them home. We’ve done that for constituents in the western part of the district, successfully. I have a team that is addressing this as we speak. If others know of individuals, Americans or those who helped American forces, reach out to my office. I need to hear this. We are not going to give you the runaround. We are addressing this on an hour by hour and minute by minute basis. I receive updates. I’ve already received those updates this morning. We are working to bring Americans and those who supported us over this past endeavor in Afghanistan. We will work to bring them home safely.”

A lot of people are worried about passing spending bills in Congress with the crisis in the Middle East

Jansen pointed out, “Jansen: Now with this new chaotic, international incident that Biden has brought upon our country, the spending is even more dangerous now. If our dollar loses faith and credit, we cannot keep printing money and spending the way we are. We are putting ourselves even at greater risk because now this idiotic situation in which our enemies are going to go after us, in which our friends don’t trust us. Biden got reprimanded by the parliament in Britain. That’s never happened. We’re losing our friends, too. The spending is incredibly dangerous now.”

Joyce said, “We have to have that responsible stewardship of our tax dollars and to your additional point, the world is watching. We know that China is watching. They have their eyes on Taiwan. We know that Iran just to the west of Afghanistan, we know that they are watching and we have to show the strength and Biden’s not showing it. That’s what is so alarming to me and that’s why we need to open the investigations to what’s happening. It is really heartbreaking to me that these sacrifices have been made. These 13 lives of Americans, active duty military. We must work to ensure their safety and we must work to help our allies in this extreme circumstance. We can save lives and we need to work together to do that.”

Reports have shown that refugee flights have jammed Dulles International Airport and today it’s been reported that refugees are expected to come into Philadelphia. What does that mean for the local communities?

Joyce will be taking a call this morning to address the refugee situation in Pennsylvania. He said, “These questions are important. Keep bringing them on.”

Jansen added, “Please keep the transparency and accountability, please keep pushing for it. We know too much has been kept from the American people about what they’re doing with all kinds of things. We want these poor folks from Afghanistan, we want to save them, but we have to be mindful of what’s going to happen to our communities when people come in and how we’re going to handle all that.”

Joyce said, “President Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has created a terrorist breeding ground and that poses a real and oppressing threat to our homeland. Just like before 9/11, we need to be aware. We know how porous our southern border is. We need to be on guard. I will continue to work to protect not only our nation, but our district.”

Ryan said, “To your point there, I said as soon as this mess started unfolding in Afghanistan, this is an excellent opportunity, as weak as Joe Biden is, if you need an excuse to close the southern border, here it is.

“Spot on, Pat,” Joyce confirmed. “That’s absolutely true and I’ve been saying it with you for months since he came into office and he allowed the porous border to continue. Record numbers of illegals coming into our country on Biden’s watch. This is Biden’s border crisis and he has escalated the crisis in Afghanistan.”