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Harris presides over Senate passage of bill to increase funds for Americans leaving Afghanistan


Washington – Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday tasked the Senate with overseeing the passage of a bill to increase funding for the repatriation of Americans returning from Afghanistan.

The bill was passed by unanimous consent at the request of Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, with most of the senators returning to their home states for the August recess. Ahead of its passage, a White House official said Harris would participate in a pro forma Senate session to “allow passage” of the bill.

The Emergency Repatriation Assistance Act for Returning Americans, which has already been passed by the House, will now head to President Biden’s office. The bill amends Social Security law to increase temporary assistance to Americans returning from abroad.

CBS News has learned that 5,526 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan on US military flights in the last few weeks of the US mission. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said fewer than 200 Americans remained in the country and wanted to leave.

The Biden administration said it would work with partners to reopen the civilian side of Kabul airport and work with the Taliban to allow safe passage for flights.

The last American troops left the Afghan capital on August 30 at 3:29 p.m. ET, or 11:59 p.m. local time. Mr. Biden addresses the nation Tuesday afternoon to explain his decision to withdraw his troops.

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