Afghanistan, Congress, Kabul discussed on The Brookings Cafeteria

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to the brookings cafeteria the podcast about ideas and the experts who have them. I'm fred dues in just ten days in august. Taliban forces seized control all the provincial capitals in afghanistan and kabul it's capital city as american military forces began the final phase of their plan exit from the country after twenty years of presence scenes of chaos at kabul's airport competed with an uncertain com on the capitol streets on the fresh contingent of us troops arrived to safeguard the evacuation of american allied and afghan civilians on this episode of the brookings cafeteria. I speak with a leading expert on the forces in issues that have shaped afghanistan over the last two decades and will continue to do so. Vonda fell bob. Brown is a senior fellow in foreign policy. And the center for security and technology at brookings and also is director of the initiative on non-state armed actors. Her expert insights on what has just happened in afghanistan. Help make sense an incredibly complex situation and offer some ideas of what to expect. Moving forward or conversation took place on monday. August sixteenth just the day after taliban forces entered kabul also in this episode governance studies senior fellow. Molly reynolds explains what's happening in congress in the context of the dramatic and dynamic situation in afghanistan including attention to an increased effort to resettle refugees. From there you can follow the brookings. Podcasts oricon twitter at policy podcasts. To get information about and links to all our shows including dollar incense the brookings trae podcast the current and our vents podcast first step. Here's molly rentals with what's happening in congress. I'm molly ronald senior fellow. In governance studies at the brookings institution when the house and senate departed for their respective august recesses the most pressing issues awaiting them on their return were domestic ones. The senate had cleared. both it's bipartisan. Infrastructure bill and the budget resolution that will serve as a framework for coming budget. Reconciliation bill containing many of democrats major domestic priorities. This fall the house. Meanwhile departed with likely plans to return early from. It's usual summer break to take up. The senate passed budget blueprint as well as voting rights. Much relation named for the late. Representative john lewis. Tensions among groups have relatively more centrists and relatively more progressive house. Democrats over the timing of action on the infrastructure measure the budget resolution and the ultimate reconciliation bill where emerging and indeed continued to confront house democratically that they plan for the coming weeks but this focus on domestic policy which indeed has been the major emphasis at the biden administration in that first eight months. His presidency was interrupted by events in afghanistan. Where the taliban seized control of the country more quickly than public reports had anticipated in advance with the completion of the planned withdrawal. Us troops these current developments come after two decades of congress being quite differential to the president on foreign policy especially in terms of the conduct of the wars in iraq and afghanistan and under the general heading of the global war on terror to authorizations for the use of military force. One passage thousand one. I won't pass. Two thousand two have been used by president of both parties to support a wide range of military operations and congress by and large. It's been keen to let them do so. Even when congress does put pressure on the executive branch should take certain action it can be limited in its ability to guarantee compliance especially in the foreign policy but the president has an advantage both in terms of information over the legislative branch in terms of congress willingness to give him broad latitude take for example the special immigrant visa program which congress created i in two thousand six to provide a pathway to legal permanent estimates for individuals who worked with the us military in iraq and afghanistan. Which has long been beset by lengthy wait times in the application process in two twenty thirteen congress required that the state department complete processing of an application under the program with nine months but according to the migration policy institute the state department has never reliably met that standard and as of july two thousand one. The average processing time was seven hundred and three days. This is just one of countless examples. Requirements put in place by congress for the executive branch the latter either cannot or does not want to meet at unless congress wants to escalate a conflict with the executive branch by for example threatening to defend essential priorities often find itself at a disadvantage another challenge facing congress. Is that while the house and senate are capable of acting quickly when they want to the initial legislative responses to the cove in nineteen pandemic in the spring of twenty twenty demonstrate. This all institutional instincts often 'cause members to default to a regular read them up legislating that occurs of the course of a year for example. When asked earlier this year about legislation to increase the number of available visas for afghan allies the top republican on the house foreign affairs committee. Michael call said that he expected congress would fix that problem annual defense authorization. Bill measure not usually pass until year's end while congress did ultimately accelerate legislation addressing some of the issues related to visas for afghan partners and pass to july because comment is illustrative of how congress can have a tendency to fall back established ways of doing things as members of congress individually and collectively determine how to respond to the consequences of the american withdrawal. One particular members will be worth paying attention to members in both parties. Who are veterans of the wars in iraq and afghanistan or were involved in diplomatic efforts related to conflicts in april for example a group of republican and democratic house members led by seth moulton narok veteran from massachusetts and jason crowe on iraq and afghanistan veteran from colorado created the honoring. Our promises working group to advocate for more aggressive effort to resettle afghan allies in the united states. On the whole the number veterans are being congress is down from earlier eras.

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