As the Biden administration continues sending billions of U.S. dollars to Ukraine to prop up that nation’s military amid an ongoing war with Russia, a growing number of Republicans in Congress are calling for an end to the largesse.
U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) recently proved, however, that skepticism about the ongoing Ukraine support is not limited to the GOP.
He appeared on CNN this week where he was asked about the latest White House request for $12 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, which Republicans note will include additional money for Ukraine.
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“First of all, I have the bill to refund the DRF, which is [the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s] fund, for $12 billion in the House. I’ve filed that bill,” he said. “Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) filed it in the Senate, so it’s a bipartisan, bicameral bill. Neither of our bills are moving.”
Nevertheless, Moskowitz said that he is willing to consider an alternative that would separate Ukraine funds from FEMA resources for Americans in need of assistance. In the aftermath of a devastating wildfire on the Hawaiian island of Maui and Hurricane Idalia’s impact on Florida’s coast, he said he is committed to ensuring that domestic emergencies receive the response they deserve.
“The FEMA administrator said these communities, both in Maui and in Florida, are going to have the money that they need for the response,” he said. “But one of the things that we know is that hurricane season is just beginning. … And reimbursement for the state and these towns will be slowed down, and that’s not something emergency management should be focused on.”
For his part, Rubio has been critical of efforts to combine FEMA aid to Ukraine even before Hurricane Idalia made landfall but stressed the importance of replenishing the Disaster Relief Fund when he introduced legislation to do so earlier this year.
“Congress cannot allow the Biden Administration to use disaster funding as a bargaining chip, doing so puts countless vulnerable communities at risk,” he said. “Our communities deserve better than this. It’s time for Congress to act and provide FEMA with the funding they need for disaster relief.”