WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden is dealing with crises in Afghanistan, the southern border and on Capitol Hill. Not to mention the global pandemic.
Right now, more than 5,000 U.S. troops are in Kabul rushing to ramp up the evacuation effort. U.S. lawmakers were briefed Thursday morning that 6,741 people had been evacuated since Aug. 14, including 1,762 American citizens and Green Card holders, according to two congressional aides.
The Pentagon’s goal is to be able to evacuate as many as 9,000 people a day, but things are getting worse instead of better.
There are evacuation planes taking off half full, indicating Americans and Afghan allies are still having difficulty getting through Taliban-controlled check points to be able to make it to the airport.
Meanwhile, fighter jets are on alert over the area to provide air support should U.S. troops interactions with the Taliban turn hostile.
Biden said on Wednesday no American will be left behind, even if troops must stay beyond his Aug. 31 deadline.
“I don’t think [the withdrawal] was a failure,” Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “It was a simple choice. When you had the government of Afghanistan, the leader of that government get in a plane and taking off and going to another country, when you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained, of the 300,000 of them, just leaving their equipment and taking off, that’s what happened. That’s simply what happened.”
Since coming into office, Biden has given just nine interviews.
He has not answered reporters’ questions the last two times he gave remarks and the White House is limiting press access to those remarks, citing COVID-19 concerns.
Biden also addressed the nation Wednesday about concerns of the increasing pandemic among the unvaccinated.
He is now putting pressure on nursing homes to vaccinate staff or lose federal funding.
“If you visit, live or work in a nursing home, you should not be at a high risk for contracting COVID from unvaccinated employees,” Biden said.
Biden also expressed his support for a booster shot for all Americans who had the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
The plan, as outlined by the chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top health authorities, calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot. The doses could begin the week of Sept. 20.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is still dealing with a record surge of migrants at the southern border.
The U.S. saw a two-decade high in border crossings last month, according to U.S. Customs and Border protection data. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said 27% of those encounters were with migrants who had been stopped at least once in the previous year.
National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said on “The Donlon Report” last week that the agents he represents are overwhelmed.
“The majority of the people [caught] are being released into the United States or they’re able to get away because they’re overwhelming our resources and creating artificial gaps in our coverage,” Judd said.
Biden is also trying to pass his $3.5 trillion budget, which includes many progressive policy ideas Republicans say they won’t vote for. At the same time, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal still needs to clear the House. There, a coalition of nine Democrats said they would only consider the president’s bigger plan if the bipartisan deal is passed.
“These bills are critical for us maintaining our majority, and that must reign supreme,” said No. 3 House Democratic leader James Clyburn of South Carolina, a reference to next year’s congressional elections. “A lot of us need to hold hands, we need to be protecting each other and march together.”
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The Associated Press and NewsNation’s Bobby Oler contributed to this report.