Bill honoring 13 service members killed in Afghanistan heads to Biden’s desk
A bill awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the 13 service members who were killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan is headed to President Biden’s desk after the Senate passed the legislation Wednesday night.
Introduced by a bipartisan group of more than 30 senators in September, the bill calls for posthumously honoring the 13 service members who were killed in a suicide bombing outside a gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in August, which occurred as the U.S. was completing its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent Wednesday evening after the House unanimously approved a companion bill last month. It now heads to Biden’s desk for signature.
Eleven marines, one Navy hospitalman and one Army staff sergeant were killed in the attack: Staff Sgt. Darin Hoover, 31; Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22; Cpl. Daegan Page, 23; Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22; Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20; Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20; Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20; Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20; Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20; Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23; Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25; Navy Hospitalman Maxton Soviak, 22; and Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) led the effort to pass the bill.
“Today, the United States Senate moved to recognize the courage, sacrifice and service of the 13 brave young men and women who were killed in Afghanistan. During a pivotal point for our nation, they gave the last full measure for our freedoms,” Daines said in a statement.
“I look forward to the President honoring these American heroes and swiftly signing this bill into law,” he added.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) hailed the passage of the bill from the Senate floor, calling the fallen service members “American heroes.”
“Our nation is forever indebted to these brave men and women and their families for their sacrifice that enabled the safe evacuation of more than 100,000 Americans and Afghan allies. They risked their lives for our country and their heroic efforts will not be forgotten,” he added.
The 13 service members were killed in one of the final days of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, which ended America’s longest war after nearly two decades.
Biden mourned the loss of the service members at Dover Air Force Base after the suicide bombing, where he observed the dignified transfer of the fallen troops.