Dear Neighbor, First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with our brave troops, American citizens, and allies in Afghanistan who were killed or injured in last week’s terror attacks. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten as they labored to help others escape tyranny under difficult and chaotic circumstances. The extent of the catastrophic actions of President Biden’s withdrawal, which has led to senseless and preventable loss of life, are incomprehensible. As a nation, we grieve with the families of our lost servicemembers, knowing that they represent the best among us. Yet, there is still an important mission ahead of us. Our government must honor the commitments we have made and safely evacuate our citizens and faithful allies. I pray that this mission will be accomplished without further loss of life. Last week, Speaker Pelosi brought Members back to D.C.—not to deal with the crisis that was unfolding in Afghanistan or along our southern border, but to consider a reckless $3.5 TRILLION tax and spending spree. This package will kill American jobs, increase taxes on Americans, boost inflation, and provide amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. Below you can find more details about the partisan packages that passed over my objections. These are extraordinarily difficult times, and the lack of leadership we are seeing from this Administration and the current leaders of Congress is truly astonishing. Fortunately, some of my Democrat colleagues are putting our country first and publicly criticizing recent actions. The time for action is now. Speaker Pelosi should bring Congress back into session before August 31st so we can be thoroughly briefed and pass pending legislation that would prohibit the withdrawal of troops until every American is out of Afghanistan. In the interim, President Biden must take immediate action to better protect our troops, citizens, and allies without consideration of the arbitrary and dangerous deadline he has established.
Please continue reading for an overview of my efforts on your behalf.
Helping those Stranded in Afghanistan While Holding the Administration Accountable for Its Failure My team has been working tirelessly throughout the past few weeks to assist American citizens, legal residents, and Afghan allies who served alongside our troops and are being targeted for execution. Some of these individuals were in Afghanistan visiting extended family members, serving as government contractors, offering missionary services, or providing humanitarian aid. They were caught off-guard by the swift collapse of the Afghanistan government. Other cases we are working on have been referred to us by constituents who served in Afghanistan. These Veterans are advocating for the interpreters they worked with and their families. My constituents have shared countless stories of how these Afghan partners assisted with military operations and often saved countless American lives. My constituents are desperate to help their former partners escape before they and their families face persecution and death. Here is a local news story recounting a few examples. We simply cannot leave these allies and their families behind. Doing so would be unconscionable and un-American. I will continue doing everything in my power to help these families who served alongside my constituents. President Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan withdraw is an unequivocal failure. In addition to the humanitarian catastrophe we have all witnessed, billions of dollars worth of American weapons are now in the hands of the Taliban. We know these weapons and our technology will likely be sold to the highest bidder, which is likely to be other enemies of our country. We must not forget that the evacuation effort underway at the Kabul airport also remains under acute threat from ISIS. My prayers are with those who are serving in this chaotic environment and those they are desperately trying to help. It is also being reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has deployed Border Patrol, ICE, and TSA agents to processing facilities in Bahrain, Germany, Kuwait, and Qatar to screen and vet evacuated Afghans. While I agree we should assure safe and expedited evacuation out of Afghanistan for those Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants whose lives are in imminent danger, I have grave concerns about our ability to continue proper defense of our homeland while diverting these critical personnel to these processing centers. There is a crisis already raging on our southern border and our border patrol agents are currently stretched very thin. To make matters worse, the budget passed last week does not add one single dollar to the DHS budget for border security. We know that our enemies are likely to be emboldened by the situation in Afghanistan and we must protect our country.
If you are a Veteran who is struggling during this time, or know of one, you are not alone. Please call the Veterans’ Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 and press option 1.
Objecting to a Liberal Spending Spree The budget I voted against last week called for the highest sustained federal spending levels in American history, with $68 trillion in total spending over the next 10 years. It actually exceeded the President’s outrageous requests by $1.7 trillion. In total, it will add $17 trillion in new debt, which is greater than the GDP of every country on earth, except the U.S. And we are all going to be stuck paying for it. Also, despite promises to the contrary, the plan raises taxes and costs on American families earning under $400,000. Out-of-control spending has already caused record inflation. This bill will only make the situation worse.
Also, House Democrats and Nancy Pelosi were more interested in appealing to woke regulators and pushing their Green New Deal agenda than they are in investing in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Only $110 billion of the “infrastructure” spending bill considered last week goes toward roads, bridges, and other major projects that the American people generally consider infrastructure. This is a shame because we do need to fix our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, strengthen cybersecurity protections, and expand broadband connectivity throughout the country.
Listening to You With all that is happening in the world right now, I believe it is more important than ever to hear directly from you about your priorities and the steps you feel Congress should be taking. I am hosting a teletown hall this Tuesday, August 31st at 6:00 p.m. You can participate by calling 1-833-946-1563 at the time of the call. I look forward to speaking with you!
Constituent CornerThe message below was recently sent from a constituent after my team helped him with an IRS issue.
On behalf on my wife and I we’d like to thank you and your team. We received our refund today. I’m convinced that without the inquiry from the Congressman’s office we’d still be waiting. This is just one example of the work we do each day. Constituent services are a critical element of our congressional office. The federal government is a massive operation, and my office is available if you ever need assistance in navigating the bureaucracy or cutting through red tape. We are here to serve you!Sincerely,
Gus BilirakisMember of Congress