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People try to scale the boundary wall at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday in the hopes of fleeing the country. Photo: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Some Democrats are considering allocating a portion of their $3.5 trillion budget plan toward refugee resettlement for those fleeing Afghanistan, three Hill sources familiar with the early discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: As President Biden defends his plan for complete withdrawal amid searing images of the Taliban’s swift takeover, Democrats who agreed with the plan, if not its execution, are scrambling for a way to protect some of the nation's most vulnerable — including women, children, interpreters and others who helped the U.S. over the past two decades.

  • The $3.5 trillion budget plan aims to give Democrats a vehicle to push through big infrastructure spending unilaterally via the budget reconciliation process.
  • Conversations about if and how to apply that to resettling Afghan refugees are in their infancy and will continue to develop over the next several weeks, these sources said.

The big picture: Many progressives fundamentally agree with Biden's withdrawal position and still maintain that he made the right — some even said “brave” — choice.

  • Rep. Ilhan Omar, among the first Somali-American, Muslim women to serve in Congress, called for the U.S. to “marshal an international coalition to evacuate every Afghan citizen who is fleeing for their lives.”
  • “We have a moral obligation to the Afghan people,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “The U.S. role in this crisis is indisputable."
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted that “we must do everything we can to evacuate our allies and open our doors to refugees.”

But Biden faces criticism from Democrats as well as Republicans who say he lacked a comprehensive plan for evacuating those who risked their lives for U.S. or who face certain death or reprisal under the Taliban.

  • An aide to one progressives House Democratic member said their group is pressing the administration to share a comprehensive plan for evacuations within the next 24 hours.
  • Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland said on Monday that his state intends to receive more Afghan interpreters than previously planned due to the crisis in Afghanistan.

What we're watching: How progressive challengers use Afghanistan against Democratic incumbents on the campaign trail.

  • Rana Abdelhamid, a liberal challenger to New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, shared an image of Maloney wearing a burqa on the House floor after the 9/11 attacks.
  • "I was 9 years old when I watched my Congresswoman wear a burqa in Congress to justify the invasion of Afghanistan," she wrote in a now-viral tweet. "For the rest of my life, I knew that as a Muslim woman my identity would be weaponized to justify American wars."
  • Abdelhamid said in an interview with Axios that there's a "deep lack of engagement" and "deafening silence" from some House Dems who had supported the war.

Go deeper

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

First look: Conservatives' 2022 big target: Tax increases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Conservative groups are unveiling huge ad-buys going after vulnerable House Democrats over tax increases and other revenue measures in their party's massive infrastructure spending bill, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: President Biden and Democrats have an immense amount of political capital riding on a $3.5 trillion bill facing razor-thin margins in both chambers. Conservatives are running ads targeting the House members who leaders will need to pass the measure.

Sep 19, 2021 - World

Taliban forces Kabul's female city employees out of their jobs

Afghan female activists gather in Kabul to protest against Taliban restrictions on Sept. 19. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New restrictions issued by the Taliban on Sunday will force the majority of Kabul's female municipal workers out of their jobs, the Associated Press reported.

Why it matters: Despite the Taliban's efforts to cast a more tempered image this time around, vowing to respect women's rights within Islamic "frameworks," the restrictions are the latest sign the group is returning to the oppressive tactics it used when last in power, from 1996 to 2001.

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