GOP Claudia Tenney Drafts Legislation to Ban U.S. Government from Charging Americans for Evacuation Flights

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    The congresswoman said she is drafting the legislation after reports have shown Americans are now being asked to pay for their flights. U.S. officials previously said that emergency flights out of Afghanistan would be free.

    “I was horrified to learn that the U.S. government may be charging American citizens outrageous sums for evacuation flights out of Afghanistan. This is adding insult to injury for those American citizens desperately trying to flee the Taliban,” Tenney said in a statement.

    The congresswoman added that she is “drafting legislation to make sure American citizens are not charged a dime for a lifesaving flight out of the country.”

    Afghan people queue up and board a U S military aircraft to leave Afghanistan, at the military airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021 after Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Shakib RAHMANI / AFP) (Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

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    Tenney said there is an “obligation” to make sure all American citizens come home and to “do whatever it takes to achieve this critical mission.”

    The congresswoman’s press release noted that she sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and, while on the committee, has “been an outspoken critic of President Biden’s Afghanistan policy.”

    On Thursday, she reaffirmed her call for Biden to resign from office over his gross mishandling of the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan and his inability to “effectively execute his duties as Commander-in-Chief.”

    In this photo released by The White House, President Joe Biden meets virtually with his national security team and senior officials for a briefing on Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, at Camp David, Md. (The White House via AP)

    Tenney mentioned a Politico report in her statement that said people in Kabul are claiming they have to pay for flights out of the country despite U.S. officials telling “NatSec Daily and others that evacuation flights from Kabul will be free”:

    Even though U.S. officials tell NatSec Daily and others that evacuation flights from Kabul will be free, people trying to catch a plane in the Afghan capital say differently. One person said State Department staff were seeking large payments — up to $2,000 — from American passengers and even more from non-U.S. citizens.

    The report even noted that a spokesperson for the State Department did not deny the claims.

    “U.S. law requires that evacuation assistance to private U.S. citizens or third country nationals be provided ‘on a reimbursable basis to the maximum extent practicable,'” the spokesman said. “The situation is extremely fluid, and we are working to overcome obstacles as they arise.”

    Follow Jacob Bliss on Twitter @jacobmbliss.

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