US on track for August 31 withdrawal; House passes $3.5T plan
Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:
Is the US on track for the August 31st withdrawal from Afghanistan?
The US is actually doing a pretty good job, getting its own citizens out of Afghanistan despite the chaos that's been seen at the airport and across the country over the last two weeks. It's estimated on Wednesday afternoon, there were about 1,500 citizens of the United States, still in Afghanistan. And some of them, according to Secretary of State Tony Blinken, may not want to leave. The US has been evacuating enormous numbers in the last several days. Over 21,000 people have gotten out. And even though Biden sent his CIA director, William Burns, to potentially negotiate a longer withdrawal date than August 31st with the Taliban, he says, he's going to stick to this deadline. The people who may not get out are the interpreters and helpers that aided the American military, who are native Afghanis, who are probably going to be left behind when the US leaves at the end of the month.
The House narrowly passed the $3.5 trillion budget plan. What's next for the Democrats?Well, the House has to start putting some details now, underneath that top-line number. Some Democrats have said they're uncomfortable spending as much as $3.5 trillion. And other Democrats have said they're willing to spend that much, but it has to be fully paid for by most likely tax increases. The list of tax increases that Democrats have available to them is very long, but politically, a lot of these things can't get done. There's been a lot of pushback on things like raising the top capital gains rate, raising the top corporate tax rate, and they still have other tax cuts they want to do including reinstating the SALT tax deduction and new tax credits for low-income families and families with children. So what's next is that the House goes back on recess. They're going to reconvene the first or second week of September and start marking up bills to hit that $3.5 trillion number with a goal of passing both, the bipartisan infrastructure bill and, the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, out of the House by the 27th of September. Then it goes over to the Senate to see what they do there. There's a couple of moderate members who have been real holdouts on a lot of these points in this bill to date.