Republicans said they were blocked from publicly reading on the House floor the names of the 13 U.S. servicemembers killed in Afghanistan.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story asserted that Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocked Republican members of Congress from reading the names of the servicemembers recently killed in Afghanistan. Nancy Pelosi was not in attendance and Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) had been appointed by Pelosi to serve as speaker pro tempore for this particular pro forma session, where both parties agreed in advance to observe a moment of silence for the slain. According to Pelosi spokesperson Robyn Patterson, House Republicans did not request in advance to read the names of the fallen, but rather did so after the moment of silence, which was a protocol violation. In a pro forma session no legislative business is conducted and there are no votes, floor resolutions, or free-speech periods.
Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) told the Floridan that Pelosi ignored the Republicans’ request to read the names, and instead she “just closed the House down,” although it was actually Speaker Pro Tempore Debbie Dingell (D-MI) who gaveled out the session.
“We gaveled in, had a prayer, said the Pledge of Allegiance, took a moment of silence with pretty much all Republican veterans, then asked to be recognized to read names and bring up Afghanistan legislation,” Mast told the Floridian. “They did not acknowledge us, and just closed the House down.”
Rep. Carlos A. Gimenez (R-FL) tweeted a rhetorical question of whether Pelosi is attempting “to cover up” the Afghan debacle by not allowing the names to be read publicly on the floor.
“How badly do Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats want to cover up this Afghanistan debacle?” Gimenez asked. “They just blocked Members of Congress from reading the names of the service members who sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan last week. Don’t you think our military deserves better?”
How badly do Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats want to cover up this Afghanistan debacle?
They just blocked Members of Congress from reading the names of the service members who sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan last week.
Don’t you think our military deserves better?
— Congressman Carlos A. Gimenez (@RepCarlos) August 31, 2021
Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) criticized Pelosi’s decision of ignoring Republicans’ requests by suggesting the incident is an example of “how far our nation has fallen.”
“House Democrats just refused to recognize Republican veterans on the House Floor to read the names of our fallen service members in Afghanistan. That’s how far our nation has fallen,” Steube said.
House Democrats just refused to recognize Republican veterans on the House Floor to read the names of our fallen service members in Afghanistan.
That’s how far our nation has fallen.
— Congressman Greg Steube (@RepGregSteube) August 31, 2021
The denied Republican request comes as nearly 40 Republicans have called for president Biden to resign for stranding Americans and abandoning U.S. gear in Afghanistan.
When House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) attempted a House vote to “require” Biden to recover the military gear and Americans, Democrats blocked the vote. “Democrats just blocked a vote to require a plan from President Biden to bring Americans home and to account for all the military equipment he left behind,” McCarthy tweeted. “Republicans will not stop until every American is home safely.”
But that did not stop House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) from requesting a briefing on the deadly evacuation from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
“Committee Republicans invited the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction to brief Congress today, and I appreciate his willingness to come forward and his commitment to testify before the full Committee in the coming weeks,” Comer wrote in a press release:
Between the botched withdrawal, the Biden Administration choosing to leave Americans behind the likelihood American military equipment and taxpayer dollars now reside in Taliban or terrorist hands, Afghan President Ghani fleeing the country with more than $169 million, and the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemen and women, the situation in Afghanistan is dismal and heart wrenching.
“This is unacceptable,” Comer concluded. “Republicans will continue to take all actions possible to investigate what went wrong and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.”
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø