NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – GOP House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana returned from a recent trip to Eastern Europe related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Scalise says Ukraine needs more help as he fights to defend himself.
Scalise discussed her journey with FOX 8 News.
“I met with a lot of our Eastern European allies who are helping Ukraine, especially when you look at Poland. Poland has been playing an incredibly important role in getting military equipment and humanitarian aid into Ukraine so that Zelenskyy and his army can push Russia back, and of course you have seen at this point that Russia has pushed back a lot, but this is not they’re really outflanking back to the east side of the country,” Scalise said.
As part of a congressional delegation, Scalise traveled to Poland and Romania.
“So, we went to Romania and we also met with their leadership to talk about some of the things that they are doing in the southeastern part of Ukraine and I think if you look from the city of Odessa in the southern part of Ukraine all the way to Mariupol , those are the areas that concern me the most right now, especially, you know, Putin has Mariupol completely surrounded and there are probably over 150,000 people in that city and he’s trying to starve them to death,” Scalise said. .
Many Ukrainians are fleeing to Poland as atrocities escalate in their homeland.
“The humane war crimes that we’re seeing and just the brutality of Putin are on display, so we’ve talked about the things that we’ve been able to do to get help, but also what else we can do to get more help for the people of Ukraine,” Scalise said.
While some foreign policy experts say Russia is unlikely to hand over Vladimir Putin to stand trial as a war criminal, Scalise agrees with those who say evidence-gathering remains important.
“I think it’s very important to document what’s going on there and we talked to people when we were in Poland, some Ukrainians who are in Poland right now trying to help lead some of the relief efforts and we talked to them about how important document is. because you go back to NAZI Germany if that wasn’t so well documented the world still today remembers what kind of evil Hitler was and Putin should be viewed the same way,” Scalise said.
Ukraine wants the US and NATO to provide a no-fly zone to block Russia from bombing from the sky, but so far that is impossible.
“If we can get more of that equipment into Ukraine so they can create their own no-fly zone,” Scalise said.
“When you talk to the leaders in Poland and we meet with their prime minister and defense minister, they have some old Russian MIGs that are still very functional and are the kind of things that Ukrainian pilots know how to fly and want. to get them to Ukraine to help them, we would have to stuff them with maybe F-35s, fighter jets made in the United States in Poland, which is a NATO country, as well as in Romania,” Scalise said.
In Scalise’s home state of Louisiana, concern is growing over rising flood insurance rates linked to FEMA’s new Risk Rating 2.0 methodology for determining premiums.
“Risk Rating 2.0 is something created entirely by FEMA, not by law,” Scalise said.
He has urged FEMA to be more transparent about the changes and also to stop rate increases.
“I have also expressed that FEMA needs to withdraw it because it is not ready for prime time. When they can’t explain what their policy means, and yet it’s going to have a devastating impact on millions of families across the country, then they shouldn’t go forward,” Scalise said.
But Congress as a whole has not addressed the problems.
“I’ve been saying we have to get real transparency but in the meantime we have to get a long-term reauthorization where Congress can come together to reverse it, but it’s been very difficult. We passed a House bill a few years ago, it didn’t get anywhere in the Senate, so getting a flood insurance bill through Congress is very complicated because there’s bipartisan support and opposition to flood insurance. flooding in DC,” Scalise said.
The rate increases went into effect for new insureds in October and current homeowners with National Flood Insurance Program coverage on April 1 of this year.
“We are now in an area where anyone who gets a new flood insurance policy or renews will see the devastating impacts of Risk Rating 2.0, which is why I think it is putting more pressure on members of Congress across the country to do something and unite,” Scalise said.
Scalise also commented on inflation.
“Most people now recognize that these multi-billion dollar packages from Washington are not the answer, and in fact all that extra money being spent paying people not to work has made inflation worse. What we have to do is open more economies, there is enough data on how to do it safely. Scientists have been saying for a year and a half that kids should go back to schools, more things need to open up, take your precautions, COVID is going to be around, but you need to open things up and get people back to work.”
The unemployment rate in the US is 3.6%.
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