Kamala Harris goes to Senate to pass bill to give $10 million to Americans repatriated from Afghanistan – then declines questions as she walks away
- Vice President Kamala Harris made a quick trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to chair a brief Senate session.
- Senate approves more aid for Americans returning from Afghanistan
- Harris didn’t answer questions, including about the fate of Americans still in Afghanistan when she left the Capitol
- House has already passed bill, so it goes to President Biden for signature
- It increases funding from $1 million to $10 million
Vice President Kamala Harris made a quick trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to chair a brief Senate session to approve more aid for Americans returning from Afghanistan.
But Harris didn’t answer questions, including about the fate of the Americans still in Afghanistan when she left the Capitol.
The House has already passed the Emergency Repatriation Assistance for Returning Americans Act, meaning it will go to President Joe Biden’s office for signature. The bill increased funding from $1 million to $10 million.
Tuesday’s Senate session lasted about two minutes and was attended only by Harris and Democratic Maryland Senator Ben Cardin.
It is rare for a vice president to chair a pro forma session, which the Senate is now in. Those sessions are usually chaired by a single, local senator and last only a few minutes.
But for the legislation to pass, it took two senators — a senator had to file the motion and a presiding officer had to approve it. As vice president, Harris presides over the Senate and can therefore act as president.
Harris volunteered as chairman when a second senator was not available to join Cardin, who would be the chairman Tuesday.
“I understand we couldn’t find another senator, so she volunteered,” Cardin told reporters on Capitol Hill.
“They needed two senators on the floor and I’m not sure if there’s another senator around so she said she’d take care of it,” he noted.
The bill passed unanimously, meaning no senator objected to it.
Vice President Kamala Harris made a quick trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to chair a brief Senate session.
Celebrations in Kabul after US withdrawal from Afghanistan
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Monday evening that there are between 100 and 200 Americans in Afghanistan who want to leave.
“We think there are still a small number of Americans, under 200 and probably closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave,” he said.
The Pentagon said Monday that more than 122,000 people, including 5,400 Americans, have been evacuated since July.
The United States ended its presence in Afghanistan on Monday, marking the end of nearly 20 years in the country.
The last C-17, callsign MOOSE 88, took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport at 3:29 PM east coast time, after the clock in Kabul clicked past midnight, making it August 31 there.