Comer Slams Committee Democrats for Prioritizing Reckless Spending Over Stranded Americans in Afghanistan
Rushed markup ignores pressing issues facing the American people
WASHINGTON—Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) opened today’s House Committee on Oversight and Reform markup by slamming Committee Democrats for failing to conduct meaningful oversight over President Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal which resulted in the deaths of 13 servicemembers and has left Americans stranded and seeking an escape.
In addition, Ranking Member Comer criticized Democrats for rushing markups on a $3.5 trillion-dollar reconciliation package and their desire to turn the greatest country in the world into a socialist quagmire. He pushed for Committee Democrats to prioritize every American abandoned in Afghanistan by the Biden Administration, securing the southern border, and addressing out-of-control inflation. Ranking Member Comer concluded by emphasizing the Postal Service needs repair and H.R. 3076, the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act, is responsible legislation aimed at bringing the service into the 21st century.
Below is his statement as prepared:
Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I want to express my deepest sympathies to the people of New York City—especially those who lost family members and friends to the devasting floods caused by Hurricane Ida. I hope your constituents are safe, Madame Chair.
Madam Chair, now I’d like to turn to another tragedy.
There are Americans still in Afghanistan who want to come home.
Every single Member of Congress should be focusing on that issue—and that issue alone—until every American abandoned by President Biden’s administration is home safely. Speaker Pelosi should call this Congress back to work today—in person, to make every effort to bring Americans home.
Madam Chair, we are holding a markup today—three days after the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan—not conducting oversight of what led to the deaths of 13 servicemembers killed in Kabul because of Joe Biden’s terrible handling of the withdrawal.
We are not holding a markup on a bill to address the devastation wrought on southern states by Hurricane Ida.
We are not holding a markup on a bill to address the Biden administration’s abject dereliction of duty in protecting America’s southern border from tidal waves of people—and particularly children—entering the U.S. illegally.
We are not holding a markup on a bill that addresses the out-of-control inflation affecting everyday Americans’ trips to the grocery store.
We are not holding these markups, and we certainly are not holding hearings, which is why this Committee has received an F grade for oversight.
You heard that right. The Oversight Committee got an F grade for conducting oversight.
No, today, we are holding a markup of a 3.5 TRILLION-dollar reconciliation package as the Biden administration and congressional Democrats continue their march to turn the greatest country in the world into a socialist quagmire.
Now this Committee is going to spend the day discussing electric vehicles for the federal government instead of discussing the thousands of vehicles we have just abandoned in Afghanistan.
Democrats want to discuss what Democrats love to discuss: what else we can buy…on credit.
We are rushing to do this. We are rushing to spend more money after we have spent billions already this year at an unparalleled rate.
We are rushing to pass a $3.5 trillion budget that even the Washington Post editorial board says would really cost more like $5.5 trillion when you take out all the accounting gimmicks.
Americans across the country have reached out to us here in Congress – one grassroots group, Americans for Prosperity, for example, has documented more than 1.7 million letters sent, more than 155,000 phone calls made, and nearly 500 events held urging Congress to be responsible and stop the waste.
We are rushing so fast that Republicans did not receive a copy of the Committee Print until less than 24 hours before this markup.
But why are we rushing? I have an idea. We are rushing to talk about electric postal trucks and the rest of the federal fleet because President Biden needs a distraction. He needs us to talk about anything other than Afghanistan. Other than COVID. Other than inflation.
This Committee is rushing so fast to the next shiny thing to spend money on and distract the American people from President Biden’s failures that this Committee doesn’t realize that it was rushing that got the President into the mess that he is in at home and abroad.
Rush to get out of Afghanistan. Rush to declare a victory over the virus. Rush to spend more and more until, inevitably, inflation has caught up.
Rush to get the Green New Deal passed into law before the American people realize it was socialism all along.
Madam Chair: Stop rushing.
Stop recklessly spending.
Because it is our children who will be left to deal with our mistakes, our overspending, our welfare state.
As for electric vehicles, this is not a serious proposal. You and I both know that the postal fleet alone would cost at least $8 billion to electrify—more than the $7.4 billion contemplated by today’s proposal to electrify the entire federal fleet, which includes the postal fleet. The postal fleet is a third of the entire federal fleet.
I also will add that you and I have negotiated for months in good faith on postal reform, and I am proud of the work we have done.
But I take this proposal to give $2.4 billion to the Postal Service to not be in good faith.
We should not be throwing money at the Postal Service; we should be helping it fix its broken business model – a business model that currently loses $9 billion a year. And we’ve been making progress on that front. This budget reconciliation text throws a wrench in that progress.
The Postal Service is in need of repair, and I am proud to have worked with you on H.R. 3076, the Postal Service Reform Act.
Bipartisanship is possible, Madam Chair. But I will not support reckless spending in a reconciliation bill which—on top of everything—will not even accomplish its goals.
The federal fleet is not going to be electric for $7.4 billion. Everyone in this room knows that.
The Majority’s hope seems to be that we will sink $7.4 billion in, and then when more dollars—tens of billions of dollars more—are needed, the cost will be too high to turn back.
That is irresponsible legislating.
I oppose the legislation. I oppose this markup. And I oppose the actions of this administration that has abandoned Americans leaving them behind enemy lines. Instead, Democrats want to discuss electric cars to forget about Afghanistan, the southern border, the hurricane, and the surging Delta variant.
Madam Chair and Speaker Pelosi: We are not forgetting. We are praying for the families who lost loved ones.
And we demand that the Speaker bring Congress back to the Capitol to work on solving the problems that matter to our citizens—getting Americans home from Afghanistan. Get Congress to D.C. and American citizens home today.