Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., accused President Joe Biden of holding Americans hostage by tying emergency funding for the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) to more financial aid to Ukraine.
On Thursday, Biden submitted a $40.1 billion emergency spending request to Congress, according to Rubio's office, including $24.1 billion for Ukraine and $12 billion for FEMA, which reportedly is facing a shortfall with its disaster relief program.
Given Hawaii has been hit by deadly wildfires and the U.S. is getting into the heart of hurricane season, a shortfall in disaster relief funds could be problematic.
"President Biden is holding Floridians, and other Americans, hostage by tying critical domestic disaster relief to foreign military aid," Rubio said Thursday in a news release. "This is the type of cynical political manipulation I warned about earlier this year, and it further undermines trust in the Biden Administration."
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Technology in a July 13 hearing the agency's disaster relief fund will dry up by mid-to-late August.
"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," said Rubio, who along with fellow Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott wrote a letter to Criswell on Aug. 3 regarding the shortage in FEMA's disaster relief fund.
Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio said he agrees with Rubio that aid to Ukraine and funding for FEMA should not be tied together.
"Marco and I don't always agree on Ukraine policy, but he is absolutely right about this," Vance tweeted Friday. "We have just had horrible fires in Maui. Biden still hasn't declared a disaster in East Palestine and hurricane season is just around the corner. Do disaster aid, then we can debate Ukraine."
Rubio said, "President Biden owes Americans an explanation of his strategy, something he's refused to do since [Vladimir] 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 grows more aggressive toward the U.S. and our national interests," Rubio said. "We cannot give a blank check to continue the status quo."
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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