September 22, 2021

Moulton’s WELCOMED Act Passes in House

Washington, DC. – Today, Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) announced that the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution that included the Welcoming Evacuees Coming from Overseas to Mitigate Effects of Displacement Act of 2021, also known as the WELCOMED Act. The House continuing resolution included $1.68 billion for Afghan resettlement and passed the House Tuesday night.

Because Afghan refugees had to be resettled so quickly into the United States, many are not eligible for the government benefits America provides refugees entering through traditional processes. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, this bill will provide Afghan refugees with the same benefits other refugees have traditionally received. 

“We are now one step closer to making sure our Afghan allies get all of the support they need to begin their lives here in the U.S.,” said Rep. Moulton. “I’m grateful that my colleagues in the House recognize the urgency of supporting our Afghan friends as they resettle, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to do the same and vote to pass this act.”

This bill was introduced earlier this month by Moulton and Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE).

Many of the Afghans recently evacuated to the United States came on humanitarian parole or through other expedited processes. The processes were necessary in order to move Afghans quickly out of harm’s way. But, it means that Afghans are not eligible for the reception and placement services that would equip them with the basic money and resources to resettle themselves and their families into the United States. This bill changes the wording of America’s refugee policies so that rescued Afghans are eligible for the basic services and resources that would be afforded to any other refugee. 

Since 2015, Congressman Moulton has been a fierce advocate for Afghan allies and refugees. Beginning with calls on America’s leaders to expand the SIV program, in an effort to evacuate our Afghan partners well ahead of the withdrawal date and avoid the refugee crisis we’re facing today. At the start of this year, he ramped up this advocacy by calling on the administration to evacuate Afghan allies before the withdrawal date. This includes leading a letter to the White House calling for immediate evacuation, raising the issue directly with General Milley and Secretary Austin during a hearing, and after not receiving answers, releasing his own evacuation plan and offering it to the administration.

The House’s vote on a continuing resolution comes as Democrats in Congress work to avoid a September 30th government shutdown. The bill also includes a provision to suspend the debt limit and directs billions of dollars for disaster relief following recent hurricanes and wildfires.

If passed by the Senate, lawmakers would avoid two fiscal crises they are facing in the coming weeks: a partial government shutdown and defaulting on the nation's debts.

While the WELCOMED Act’s passage in the House is promising, final passage is not guaranteed. The Senate must pass its own version of the continuing resolution, and then negotiators from the House and Senate will confer and produce a single plan that will head to the president’s desk.

The continuing resolution passed in the House without a single Republican vote.