Posted on September 30, 2021

The Senate Rejects a Republican Bid to Curtail Help for Afghans

Luke Broadwater, New York Times, September 30, 2021

The Senate on Thursday rejected a Republican effort to use a spending bill needed to keep the government open past midnight to curtail assistance to Afghans who were quickly evacuated to the United States as American troops withdrew from their country last month.

The proposal by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas was just one of a series of skirmishes over a bill that would extend federal funding into early December and provide emergency funding for the resettlement of Afghan refugees and disaster recovery. {snip}

Mr. Cotton’s proposal failed on a 50-to-50 vote, along party lines. {snip}

The amendment would have cut off aid for things such as housing, food and medical benefits after March 31, 2023 for Afghans who were granted parole to quickly enter the United States because of the urgent humanitarian crisis.

Mr. Cotton has argued that terminating the benefits is reasonable, considering that Afghans who received special visas for helping the American military may only receive such benefits for eight months.

The amendment also would have cut from the bill language that would have waived certain requirements for obtaining driver’s licenses or identification cards, making it easier for the Afghans to get them. Those who were granted humanitarian parole lack some of the documentation required under the REAL ID Act, which was created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to enhance security on commercial airlines.