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Pass Disaster Funding Now, Then Consider Ukraine

Aug 10, 2023 | Press Releases

President Joe Biden submitted a $40.1 billion emergency spending request to Congress. In addition to $24.1 billion for Ukraine, the proposal includes $12 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) nearly depleted Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). The supplemental also includes numerous requests that should be a part of regular appropriations, and not designated emergency spending.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a statement urging Congress to swiftly pass critical funding for disaster relief programs while separately considering military aid for Ukraine.  

  • “President Biden is holding Floridians, and other Americans, hostage by tying critical domestic disaster relief to foreign military aid. This is the type of cynical political manipulation I warned about earlier this year and it further undermines trust in the Biden Administration. 

  • “President Biden owes Americans an explanation of his strategy, something he’s refused to do since Putin invaded Ukraine. We’ve seen incredible bravery by the Ukrainians over the last 18 months, but we’ve also seen U.S. stockpiles dwindle, European countries slow walk critical supplies, and China grow more aggressive towards the U.S. and our national interests. We cannot give a blank check to continue the status quo.
  • “While the Biden Administration works with my colleagues in the House on what can actually pass, I urge prompt consideration of legislation to replenish the Disaster Relief Fund.”  – Senator Rubio

Flashback … Rubio warned in June that the Biden Administration would “use disaster funding as a bargaining chip.” To protect vulnerable communities, Rubio, along with Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), introduced the Disaster Relief Fund Replenishment Act to ensure FEMA has sufficient resources to continue ongoing disaster response and is prepared for unforeseen major disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. The Democrat-controlled Senate refused to consider the bill. 

Looking forward … Rubio will continue to push Congress to swiftly pass critical funding for disaster relief programs. He will also continue to demand the Biden Administration put forward a strategy for Ukraine. “The need for clarity is especially acute given the urgent need to prioritize resources to counter the Chinese Communist Party in the Indo-Pacific,” Rubio wrote in May 2022. “President Biden needs to state his objectives to the American people and explain how they will make America stronger at home and abroad.”

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