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Reps. Seth Moulton (left) and Peter Meijer. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images/Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) visited Kabul on Tuesday as evacuation efforts continued from Afghanistan.

Why it matters: They had not previously announced their trip but said in a joint statement that as Congress members they "have a duty to provide oversight on the executive branch." The State Department and U.S. military personnel had to "divert resources to provide security and information to the lawmakers," U.S. officials said, per AP.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Driving the news: President Biden said earlier Tuesday that the U.S. and its allies were on track to finish evacuating Americans and some Afghans from the country by his administration's full military withdrawal date of Aug. 31.

  • Moulton tweeted that he and fellow Iraq War vet Meijer came into their visit "wanting, like most veterans, to push the president to extend" the withdrawal deadline.

What else they're saying: "We did this visit in secret to reduce risks and impact on the mission and we insisted on leaving in a plane that was not full, in a seat designated for crew so that we didn’t take a seat from someone else," the Congress members said in their statement.

  • "Washington should be ashamed of the position we put our service members in, but they represent the best in America," they continued, calling the service members' empathy and dedication "truly inspiring."

The big picture: White House press secretary Jen Psaki said later Tuesday that the Biden administration was advising "against any Americans, whether elected or not, attempting to travel to Kabul right now," CBS News notes.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Pelosi wrote to lawmakers earlier on Tuesday urging them not to travel to Afghanistan following requests by the Defense and State Departments.
  • "Member travel to the Afghanistan and the surrounding countries would unnecessarily divert needed resources from the priority mission of safely and expeditiously evacuating America and Afghans at risk from Afghanistan," Pelosi said.

For the record: Moulton served in the Marine Corps in Iraq, Meijer in the Army.

  • Meijer also conducted humanitarian aid work with a nongovernmental group in Afghanistan.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson will retire after 30 years in Congress

Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) announced Saturday that she will not seek re-election next year and plans to retire after serving for 30 years in Congress.

Why it matters: Johnson, 85, is a trailblazing Democrat who was the first Black woman elected to state public office from Dallas and was the first Black woman to chair the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Omicron variant lifts Moderna's stock price — CDC strengthens COVID booster recommendation.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns."
  3. States: Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states — NYC urges masks indoors "at all times" regardless of vaccination status — New York declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron.
  4. World: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating worldWHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries — First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Updated 20 mins ago - Sports

College football gone mad

Former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly walks in front of his players. Photo: David Madison/Getty Images

In the span of two days, the head coaches of two of the biggest college football programs in America have jumped ship, wooed by even greater challenges — and the almighty dollar.

Driving the news: Lincoln Riley is ditching Oklahoma for USC in a deal reportedly worth $110 million. LSU poached Brian Kelly from Notre Dame with a reported 10-year, $100 million contract.

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