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Tue May 12, 2020, 12:12 PM

Bipartisan lawmakers want review of State Department repatriation efforts during pandemic

Source: The Hill

Bipartisan lawmakers want review of State Department repatriation efforts during pandemic

BY LAURA KELLY - 05/12/20 11:50 AM EDT

Bipartisan lawmakers want review of State Department repatriation efforts during pandemic
The top lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are looking to “review” the State Department's efforts to repatriate Americans stranded abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic, as thousands of citizens are still seeking help getting back to the U.S.

Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Tuesday sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General Gene Dodaro for information on what steps the federal government has taken to help Americans in countries that have closed their borders to control the spread of COVID-19.

“While large-scale repatriation efforts associated with COVID-19 are moving towards a conclusion, new challenges may emerge in the future either in connection with COVID-19 or other similar global crises,” the lawmakers wrote to Pompeo.

“It is critical that the Department continue to prepare for such scenarios, using lessons it learned in the earliest days of this global repatriation effort...to ensure that future repatriations can be carried out swiftly and smoothly.”

The State Department, which has helped repatriate more than 85,000 Americans from 131 countries and territories since the end of January, came under scrutiny early on from stranded travelers and lawmakers who said the agency and U.S. embassies did not do enough to assist Americans.

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Read more: https://thehill.com/policy/transportation/aviation/497331-bipartisan-lawmakers-want-review-of-state-departments

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