A trio of House Republicans Thursday put forward a resolution to rebuke the Biden administration over its handling of evacuation arrangements for U.S. citizens from Israel as violence ripped through the country.
GOP Reps. Cory Mills and Byron Donalds of Florida and Nicole Malliotakis of New York introduced a resolution “[c]ondemning the Biden Administration for failing to fulfill the United States Government’s duty to American citizens left stranded in Israel.”
Mills, who independently evacuated over 100 stranded Americans over the course of several days last week, called out the administration’s readiness to use “taxpayer dollars to provide free housing to illegal immigrants” in the U.S., while he says it frequently fails to demonstrate care “about the well-being of American citizens stranded abroad during times of violent conflict.”
The lawmakers offered several data points in which they say the State Department failed to provide help to stranded Americans in Israel when they were asked – and pushed by bipartisan members of Congress – to do so.
“Whereas the Biden Administration has used taxpayer funds to provide free housing and other resources to illegal immigrants entering the United States, yet United States citizens seeking to evacuate from the developing war zone in Israel are not prioritized for such resources or assistance,” the resolution states.
“Whereas it is the duty and responsibility of the United States Government, inasmuch as it is reasonably within its power, to preserve and protect the safety and interests of the citizens of the United States of America domestically and abroad,” it continues.
“After going through this with both Afghanistan and Ukraine, it’s unconscionable that the Biden Administration was delayed in executing a plan to safely get American citizens out of Israel as soon as possible,” Rep. Malliotakis said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“We’re extremely grateful for Congressman Mills’ bravery and appreciate his efforts to step up in the absence of this unresponsive Administration to get our people home,” she added.
“Other countries like Poland, Germany, Mexico, Australia, and Canada had commercial and military planes on the ground to conduct evacuations within hours, meanwhile, trapped American citizens were stonewalled by the U.S. State Department when looking for the simplest of answers,” she said.
The Biden administration disputes the claims made by the lawmakers and says that more than 5,700 seats on U.S. government-chartered transport via air and water were made available for citizens and their family members, adding that there was even more supply than there was demand.
The resolution states that on Oct. 9, most major airlines canceled flights departing from Israel. When Americans asked the State Department for guidance, the lawmakers say that state department responses “failed to provide useful and actionable information,” and just instructed them to keep checking airline websites for updates.
According to the lawmakers, 146 bipartisan members of the House transmitted a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Oct. 10. “urging the Department to ‘‘use all resources at its disposal, including charter flights, to help those Americans that remain in Israel.”
The state department reportedly instructed U.S. citizens, at least through Oct. 10, that the department had “no plans to provide evacuation options out of Israel, as well as that United States persons seeking assistance should make no further contact to the Department.”
The resolution notes that when the state department eventually organized charter flights to get Americans out, at least 16 other countries had already done so for its citizens.
Rep. Donalds echoed that sentiment in a statement, saying, “My colleague Mr. Mills illustrated admirable leadership in his efforts to bring Americans home, and I am proud to support this effort to stand alongside our Israeli brothers and sisters. We must all Stand With Israel and denounce Hamas.
“Israel is one of our greatest allies and a pillar of stability and Democracy in a region notorious for chaos and servitude. Hamas’s abhorrent attack on the State of Israel and the Jewish people shook the world and deserves the complete and relentless condemnation of everyone who stands for freedom, humanity, and religious liberty,” he said.
The resolution was introduced Thursday amid a tense battle among the Republican majority for the House speaker. The resolution would need to be adopted by a House majority, but cannot be considered for a vote until the speakership is decided.