McCarthy to Pelosi: 'Drop' $3.5T budget vote until every American is home from Afghanistan

Military vet and GOP Rep. Brian Mast on Democratic-led House debating infrastructure bill, new spending: 'Get our Americans home."

Updated: August 24, 2021 - 1:24pm

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House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders should stop "twisting arms" to gather enough votes to pass a $3.5 trillion domestic spending resolution until every American citizen has returned to the U.S. from Afghanistan. 

"They should drop that and our entire focus, Republican, Democrat, Independent and the like, should be nothing else then bringing our Americans home," he said during a news conference after attending a closed-door briefing with the Biden Administration on Afghanistan. "We shouldn't work on other items, especially the spending of trillions of dollars -- that should be our only focus. We shouldn't cut off our briefing with the administration because they have to get back to vote on their rule."

The Democratic-led House is negotiating with moderate Democrats on passage of a resolution to authorize $3.5 trillion in spending on new programs like universal pre-K, tuition free community college, support for child care, Medicaid expansion and other provisions. 

McCarthy told reporters that Democratic leadership cut the briefing off after 90 minutes, despite many lawmakers still in line looking to ask questions to Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Austin.

McCarthy said that there's no way all U.S. citizens and Afghan allies can be evacuated in the next 7 days, adding that the "only one in the world" who think it's possible is President Biden.

"At no time should America ever bend to allow the Taliban to tell us when we have to stop bringing Americans out. We should stay until every single American is able to get out of Afghanistan," he said. "We should not negotiate it."

Rep. Brian Mast, a veteran of the Afghanistan War, addressed the Democratic-led House debating infrastructure legislation and new domestic spending of $3.5 trillion, while a crisis is unfolding in Afghanistan.

"What the hell are you doing? Get our Americans home," he said.