Full List of 16 Republicans Who Voted Against Visas for Afghans Who Helped U.S. Troops

As the Taliban take control of Afghanistan and troops are deployed to help evacuate U.S. personnel and Afghans who assisted coalition forces, attention has turned to the visa system for those who helped U.S. forces.

The U.S. has already evacuated 2,000 people under the Special Immigrant Visa program. That initiative has capacity for 34,500 more applicants, but this may not be enough.

On July 22, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to provide 8,000 more visas under the SIV program for Afghan interpreters, contractors and other U.S. allies who may be vulnerable as the Taliban seizes the country.

The House voted in favor of the resolution H.R. 3985, introduced by Rep. Jason Crow, by 407 votes to 16.

All the "nay" votes were Republicans and the bill was sent to the Senate, though it has yet to be passed by that chamber.

The Republicans who voted against the resolution were: Andy Biggs of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Bob Good of Virginia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Jody Hice of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Barry Moore of Alabama, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Bill Posey of Florida, Matthew Rosendale of Montana and Chip Roy of Texas.

Jason Crow, a Democrat who represents Colorado's 6th congressional district and an army veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, spoke about the resolution on July 22.

"Some members of this body, including me, may not be here today without the service and self-sacrifice of Afghans who answered the call to serve shoulder to shoulder with us," Crow said.

H.R. 3985 would create 8,000 new SIVs and also expand eligibility to include the family members of applicants who have been killed, as well as Afghans who have worked with certain nongovernmental organizations and may now be facing persecution but would not have qualified previously.

When reached for comment by Newsweek on Tuesday, Rep. Roy's office pointed to a statement issued on July 22 that noted Roy had voted against the resolution because of a Democratic amendment that "raises serious questions and concerns by broadening the categories for SIV eligibility to include individuals that never directly assisted the U.S. government and weakening the standards of the program."

"I likely would have voted for the underlying bill, however a Manager's Amendment added language to the bill that I ultimately could not support," Roy said on the House floor at the time.

"That amendment 'expands the program to include nonprofits and grantees, private organizations that contributed to the United States mission in Afghanistan.' We don't know who would be included," he said.

Rep. Rosendale's office pointed Newsweek to a statement he issued on Monday.

"The total collapse of the Afghan government is the result of decades of failure and deception by the bipartisan foreign policy elite, which is even now trying to reverse the correct decision to withdraw American troops," Rosendale's statement said.

The statement went on to say the withdrawal was "catastrophically mismanaged" but "this does not change the basic fact that it was the right decision."

"The chaos we're seeing is not an excuse to flood our country with refugees from Afghanistan," Rosendale said.

A spokesperson for Rep. DesJarlais told Newsweek on Tuesday: "Congressman DesJarlais supports bringing in interpreters and allies that assisted us in the war effort.

"However, there is concern about the broad net being cast by the Biden administration that will surely let potential terrorists slip through the cracks. Rep. DesJarlais would like to see a better vetting plan in place before the United States starts bringing 40,000 to 60,000 Afghans and their families to our country."

Rep. Massie told Newsweek on Tuesday: "The program to extend visas to those who helped our military already exists and I support that program. The vote on the new measure was to greatly expand the number of visas and to include categories of people who did not help us in the war, while simultaneously reducing the vetting of these immigrants."

Rep. Duncan told Newsweek: "I opposed H.R. 3985 because of national security concerns and reports of fraud and abuse in similar immigration programs, such as the sweeping corruption outlined by the State Department's Inspector General for the parallel Iraqi SIV program.

"I have supported special immigrant visas programs in the past and personally assisted in individual cases but was concerned that the loose parameters within this specific legislation could open the floodgate to numerous problems. The program unnecessarily expanded the number of SIVs by 8,000 even though there were thousands of unused SIVs available."

Duncan went on: "Given the gross mismanagement in the way the Biden administration handled the crisis at the southern border, I was forced to approach this program with great skepticism, even though I thoroughly support the underlying objective of protecting our allies.

"Had Democrats chosen to prioritize the issue and bring up the legislation at an earlier date with an open amendment process, we could have likely significantly improved upon the bill and produced a product that that could have passed unanimously."

Rep. Hice's office issued a statement to Newsweek, saying: "America must stand by our steadfast commitments to our foreign allies, especially now when it matters most. Unfortunately, the special immigrant visa program for Afghan allies is so riddled with backlogs and bureaucratic delays that it can take years to approve an application, and H.R. 3985 does nothing to expedite this process.

"In fact, the legislation may actually make the existing backlog even worse as it lowers the eligibility threshold and significantly expands the program without addressing any of the underlying problems. The Biden administration's total incompetence has endangered the lives of every Afghan who has aided American forces over the last 20 years, and the reality of the situation is that we need to get all American citizens and our allies out of Afghanistan now."

Rep. Moore's office said he was "supportive of efforts to ensure we honor our commitments to Afghan interpreters and voted in support of H.R. 3237, which raised the cap on the SIV program by 8,000, added protections for surviving spouses and children of slain SIV applicants, and postponed medical exams so that SIVs can be issued ahead of evacuation.

"However, a last-minute amendment to H.R. 3985 expanded the program's eligibility to Afghan applicants that are well outside the designated population—opening the program to possible fraud and abuse."

The Biden administration is now in the process of evacuating SIV applicants from Afghanistan. The Department of Defense's evacuation efforts are being led by Garry Reid, director of defense intelligence.

Reid told a press conference at the Pentagon on Monday that the DOD has plans to evacuate 20,000 to 22,000 additional SIV applicants, possibly to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and Fort Bliss in Texas.

"There may be other sites identified if services are needed, if additional capacity is needed," Reid said. "As with the operation we've been supporting at Fort Lee [Virginia], persons that come to these locations will have been pre-screened by the Department of Homeland Security to enter on condition of full immigration processing once they arrive."

Newsweek has asked the representatives who voted against H.R. 3985 for comment.

Update 8/18/21 4:05 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include statements from Reps Jeff Duncan, Jody Hice and Barry Moore.

Update 8/17/21 10:55 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include a statement from Rep. Thomas Massie.

Update 8/17/21 10:06 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include statements from Reps Chip Roy, Matthew Rosendale and Scott DesJarlais.

Afghans Wait to Leave Kabul Airport
Afghan people wait to leave the country from Kabul airport on August 16, after the Taliban's swift takeover. Sixteen Republican members of the House voted against a resolution to grant 8,000 more visas for U.S. Afghan allies last month. WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images