GOP rep: If Biden doesn't evacuate Afghan interpreters, 'blood will be on his hands'

GOP rep: If Biden doesn't evacuate Afghan interpreters, 'blood will be on his hands'

A Republican congressman and former Green Beret implored President BidenJoe BidenBiden nominates Mark Brzezinski to be U.S. ambassador to Poland 10 dead after overloaded van crashes in south Texas Majority of New York state Assembly support beginning process to impeach Cuomo: AP MORE on Wednesday to immediately order the evacuation of Afghans who helped U.S. troops, saying “blood will be on his hands” if he does not.

“If he doesn't act, and he doesn't get these people out, blood will be on his hands and on his administration's hands,” Rep. Michael WaltzMichael WaltzOvernight Defense: Biden administration expands Afghan refugee program | Culture war comes for female draft registration | US launches third Somalia strike in recent weeks House lawmakers push for diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics Overnight Defense: US to evacuate Afghan allies at end of July | Biden meets with final top US commander in Afghanistan | Weapons buyer nominee withdraws amid IG probe MORE (R-Fla.) said at a news conference. “The time for talk, the time for debate is over.”

Waltz’s fiery comments up the rhetoric as lawmakers in both parties increasingly pressure the Biden administration to order an evacuation for Afghan interpreters and their families as the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan progresses. On Tuesday, Sen. Angus KingAngus KingBiden's ATF nominee on shaky ground in Senate GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal White House cyber chief backs new federal bureau to track threats MORE (I-Maine) said the White House should have its “hair on fire” over the issue.

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At the heart of the issue is the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Afghans who worked for U.S. troops. The program has been plagued with years-long delays and faces a backlog of thousands of applicants.

The Biden administration has said it is accelerating processing the applications, but lawmakers have warned there is not enough time before all U.S. troops withdraw, leaving Afghans who helped the United States at risk of being hunted down and murdered.

Lawmakers and others have been urging the administration to evacuate those at-risk Afghans to Guam or another safe location while they wait for the applications to be processed.

Waltz was speaking at a news conference alongside members of the American Legion and Rep. Jason CrowJason CrowOvernight Defense: Biden administration expands Afghan refugee program | Culture war comes for female draft registration | US launches third Somalia strike in recent weeks Overnight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US MORE (D-Colo.), all amplifying the call for an evacuation.

“I think the most practical thing is to evacuate pending applicants to Guam,” Crow said. “We have a history of doing it. We don’t have to reinvent that wheel.”

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The United States used Guam as a way station in 1975 while it processed Vietnamese refugees it evacuated amid the fall of Saigon.

Crow, a former Army Ranger, previously introduced legislation with Rep. Brad WenstrupBrad Robert WenstrupHouse approves select panel to probe Jan. 6 attack Overnight Defense: Biden, Putin agree to launch arms control talks at summit | 2002 war authorization repeal will get Senate vote | GOP rep warns Biden 'blood with be on his hands' without Afghan interpreter evacuation GOP rep: If Biden doesn't evacuate Afghan interpreters, 'blood will be on his hands' MORE (R-Ohio) that seeks to speed SIV processing by waiving the requirement for applicants to undergo a medical exam while in Afghanistan.

Lawmakers will introduce another package of bills, collectively dubbed the ALLIES Act, on Thursday to add visas to the program and speed up the process, Crow said. Asked for more information on the package, Crow's office said it “removes some of the burdensome application requirements and increases the visa cap.”

Waltz said he thinks the White House has a “false notion” that there will be more time to process visa applications after U.S. troops leave.

“That’s my fear that there’s belief in the White House that American soldiers can leave, we can shut down airbases and then we can continue to process paperwork,” he said. “I think that’s a death sentence for these poor people.”