U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Silt, spoke at the Club 20 Fall Conference Saturday morning, with her topics including her forestry legislation, efforts to keep the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction and her evaluation of the Biden Administration’s military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Boebert began her 30-minute session at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Grand Junction by criticizing the manner in which the United States left Afghanistan after the longest war in the nation’s history. All service members have been evacuated, but some American citizens remain in the country, and 13 service members were killed in a blast near the airport in Kabul in August.
Boebert said she and her staff have been in contact with the U.S. Department of State every day, but that the State Department is “the No. 1 hindrance in getting these people back home.”
“Yesterday, every time I felt like we were getting to this peak of hope where American planes can leave and come home, I would be transferred to someone else at the State Department or they’d say, ‘Yeah, we’re aware of this. Yes, we know, we’ll get back to you,’ ” Boebert said. “It’s really frustrating that, still, after all this time, after we’ve lost 13 service members and so many Americans have been left behind, our State Department is still the No. 1 hindrance in getting these people back home.”
Boebert also addressed criticism she received after she and 15 other congressional Republicans voted against a bill to grant visas to 8,000 Afghans who supported the United States’ war efforts, including interpreters and contractors. The resolution, which passed by a 407-16 margin in the House of Representatives, allows those U.S. allies to relocate under the Special Immigrant Visa program.
The first-term representative defended her vote and claimed that the resolution hasn’t been as effective as intended.
“It’s really difficult to vote for something when it bypasses committees, when we’re elected and placed on committees to have discussions about legislation, to offer amendments, to have mark-ups and debate what’s going on,” Boebert said. “When they just bypass that process completely and go to the floor for a vote without any offer of amendments to make it better, it’s really difficult to say, ‘Yes, I support this,’ without that bill being vetted, debated, discussed, and now, I’m looking at legitimate SIV holders, our allies in Afghanistan, and they’re being denied a trip here to come be with us.
“What was the point of all of the criticism if we’re not going to allow them into America when they need it the most?”