1/ Biden said he stands behind his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan after the Taliban regained control over the country. During an address from the White House, Biden said the U.S. mission in Afghanistan was always “narrowly focused on counterterrorism, not counterinsurgency or nation-building.” Biden also said he did not move to evacuate people sooner to avoid a “crisis of confidence.” (Axios / NPR / Washington Post)
2/ U.S. military commanders hid fatal flaws with the Afghan army and police forces for more than a decade. Those fears, rarely expressed in public, were ultimately borne out by the sudden collapse this month of the Afghan security forces, whose wholesale and unconditional surrender to the Taliban will go down as perhaps the worst debacle in the history of proxy warfare. (Washington Post)
3/ The Biden administration is implementing the largest permanent increase in food stamps in the program’s history. The jump in benefits comes after a revision of the initiative’s nutrition standards that supporters say will reduce hunger and better reflect how Americans eat. (New York Times)
4/ Texas COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 400% in the last month. As of Aug. 15, the state has reported around 2.8 million confirmed cases in 254 counties and 515,585 probable cases in 230 counties since the pandemic began. (Texas Tribune)
5/ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is looking to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a broader $3.5 trillion budget framework simultaneously. The plan to tie the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the budget resolution comes after a group of nine moderate Democrats told her last week they wouldn’t vote for a budget resolution until the bipartisan infrastructure plan passes the House and is signed into law. (CBS News)
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