President Biden on Wednesday heard from two Democratic U.S. House members – each with defense experience – who seek an extension of Biden’s Aug. 31 Afghanistan withdrawal deadline.
U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey spoke with Biden after a bill signing ceremony at the White House, PBS reporter Meredith Lee posted on Twitter.
“We did not always agree,” Slotkin wrote on Twitter about her conversation with the president, while a Sherrill spokesman described the meeting as a “frank conversation.”
Numerous critics in Washington – from both parties — have criticized Biden for sticking with the Aug. 31 deadline, claiming the president would be “abandoning” those who want to leave Afghanistan if evacuations can’t be completed by next Tuesday.
Slotkin, 45, a first-term congresswoman, is a former assistant secretary of defense, serving during the Obama administration, and also worked for the CIA.
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Earlier this week, Slotkin urged the Biden administration to negotiate a deadline extension with the Taliban in order to provide more time for evacuations of Americans and Afghans from Kabul’s airport, Michigan radio station WHMI-FM reported.
She acknowledged Wednesday’s conversation with Biden in a series of Twitter messages.
“I raised my concerns with the August 31st deadline, the importance of ensuring that both Americans and Afghans who worked on our behalf be able to get through Taliban checkpoints up until the 31st, and my concerns about what happens in the days and months after we depart,” Slotkin wrote.
“I also raised the specific case of a large convoy of Afghans who my team has been working to get through the airport gates, and who have since been let in,” she added.
“We did not always agree,” she continued, “but the President clearly has Afghanistan at top of mind, and I appreciated the chance to express my thoughts on the way forward.”
Sherrill, 49, is also a first-term lawmaker. She is a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and former federal prosecutor. A Sherrill spokeswoman issued a statement to Lee about the congresswoman’s conversation with Biden.
“The President and [Sherrill] had a frank conversation about their respective concerns on the issue and she appreciates the time he provided to listen to her views,” the spokeswoman said.
On Tuesday, Sherrill took part in a Washington news conference, along with U.S. Reps. Jason Crow of Colorado and Andy Kim of New Jersey, where she called for a deadline extension.
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“I think it is critically important we ensure our military has the tools it needs to complete the mission,” Sherrill said. “I do not believe that this can be accomplished by August 31st, and I have requested that the secretary of defense and secretary of state encourage the president in the strongest terms possible to reconsider that deadline.”
A U.S. official told Fox News’s Lucas Tomlinson on Tuesday that Biden decided against extending the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan. The announcement came after Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and CIA Director William Burns met in Kabul, and a Taliban spokesman said there will be “no extensions” to the deadline.