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Washington, D.C.- House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul delivered the following opening statement at today’s full committee markup of various measures. In it, he highlighted his Havana Syndrome Attacks Response Act that was included, along with several bipartisan measures he is cosponsoring including BURMA Act, a resolution calling for stability in northern Mozambique, and a resolution condemning all violence and human rights abuses in Ethiopia.
Lead Republican McCaul also expressed his concern House Resolution 701, a Resolution of Inquiry seeking specific information on the Biden Administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, was not on today’s markup.
“This committee has a long history of prioritizing national security over politics. Of working together in a bipartisan fashion. There is bipartisan support for a full and vigorous investigation into what caused the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan…This Resolution of Inquiry could have been added today. And I hope we can consider it for the next markup.”
-Opening Remarks as Delivered-
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this markup. And I also want to thank you for including my Havana Syndrome Attacks Response Act.
I really appreciate you working with me on this important bill, and our updated text will be reflected in the ANS I will offer today.
I would also like to thank Mr. LaHood and Mr. Issa for their work on a bipartisan resolution continued solidarity with the Lebanese people after the devastating explosions at the Port of Beirut last August.
Their resolution also highlights Iran and Hezbollah’s destabilizing activities in Lebanon, and it’s important to show bipartisan support for their continued efforts to form a secure, independent, and democratic Lebanon.
I’m proud to be the lead cosponsor on several measures of today’s markup:
Chairman Meeks’ BURMA Act; Representative Jacob’s resolution calling for stability in northern Mozambique and condemning ISIS-affiliated terrorists; and Representative Bass’ resolution condemning all violence and human rights abuses in Ethiopia.
Just within the last few days the fighting in Ethiopia has intensified. The humanitarian need is catastrophic. The people are dying of starvation, going days without food, and some have resorted to eating leaves.
The Ethiopian government must allow food trucks fuel and medical supplies to enter Tigray, and response efforts need to expand into the Afar and Ahmara regions.
In my assessment, the horrific reports that have emerged, including the discovery of mass graves and the use of rape and starvation as weapons of war, are just the tip of the iceberg of the atrocities that have been committed.
Innocent civilians are paying the price of this brutal war and all sides are guilty. The fighting must stop immediately.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I want to talk about one measure that is not on today’s markup.
Our members requested that this committee consider House Resolution 701, a Resolution of Inquiry to seek specific information on the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Since mid-August I sent the administration seven letters seeking specific facts and information about the Afghanistan withdrawal and its aftermath.
I still have not received any satisfactory responses to my questions, and as you know Mr. Chairman Resolutions of Inquiry have been a privileged oversight tool for over 200 years.
According to the House Rule in place since 1879, once filed they are entitled to a prompt committee markup, and they are a tool regularly used by the minority, including many House Democrats during the prior administration.
So, I was disappointed to learn that Democrat leaders quietly threw this centuries old precedent out the window, protecting the Biden administration from answering basic questions about their many self-inflicted crises.
They did this by burying it in a rule that they have quietly and repeatedly extended.
This committee has a long history of prioritizing national security over politics, of working together in a bipartisan fashion. There is bipartisan support for a full and vigorous investigation into what caused the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
I appreciate the hearing we had with secretary Blinken, and your request for his dissent cable Mr. Chairman, and I hope we can do more on this.
I wish this resolution could’ve been included in today’s markup and I hope we may be able to consider it in the future.
In closing Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to submit for today’s record the text of the Resolution of Inquiry introduce by 23 members of this committee on October the 5th.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and with that I yield back the balance of my time.
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