With the aftermath of two major disasters, one in Hawaii and one in Florida, being navigated by those on the ground, Democrats in Washington are looking to sabotage aid to those areas by tying it to more spending for Ukraine. 

Sen. Tammy Duckworth let it be now that she would block a plan put forth by Sen. Rick Scott to provide aid for the Maui fires and Hurricane Idalia because it doesn’t include Joe Biden’s demand for another $23 billion for Ukraine. 

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott plans to call for a Senate vote next week on replenishing the federal Disaster Relief Fund. But U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, plans to object unless the bill guarantees aid to Ukraine.

It’s the latest in a monthslong standoff over supplemental funding that has taken on fresh urgency since Hurricane Idalia struck Florida’s Big Bend region. Scott, a Naples Republican, pressed for months for the Senate to replenish a largely depleted Disaster Relief Fund.

After Hurricane Idalia made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane, Scott said he intends to bring the Federal Disaster Responsibility Act to the Senate floor and seek unanimous consent to pass the bill.

No matter how one may feel about continuing to fund Ukraine’s war effort against Russia, this is completely asinine. There is no reason to have aid for a foreign country tied to a bill funding disaster relief for suffering Americans. Those two things are not remotely related, and it is simply an attempt to blackmail Republicans who might oppose sending more money to Ukraine into doing so. 

By joining the two issues in one bill, it forces Senators and House members into a dichotomy whereby if they vote to help Americans, they must also vote to fund Ukraine lest no aid be rendered domestically at all. These are the kinds of inside-the-beltway games that people are sick and tired of. It is not controversial to let a vote on aid for Americans simply be a vote on aid for Americans. That is how things should be. That’s what “regular order” looks like. Trying to shoehorn Ukrainian aid into the same bill is a transparent ploy, and it’s yet another abuse of the system. 

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Here’s how Scott responded to Duckworth’s threat. 

“It’s unbelievable that anyone in Washington would try to delay the delivery of disaster aid to American families fighting to get back on their feet,” he said. “This helps Florida, Hawaii, California … ALL AMERICANS. Americans should ALWAYS come first.”

He’s right. This isn’t about funding or not funding Ukraine. It’s about not blocking aid for Americans. If Ukraine is to receive more money from the United States, it can do so via a clean bill that allows every member of Congress to vote on that issue in a singular fashion. No one should be made to choose between American taxpayers and Ukraine. That Democrats are looking to set up that choice is insulting. People should remember this come election time. 

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