Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Neal Dunn (Florida-02), Congressman Cory Mills (Florida-07), and Congressman Jared Moskowitz (Florida-23) recently introduced a bill that would direct the State Department to authorize the waiving of costs of activities relating to the evacuation of United States citizens when fleeing war or acts of terrorism.

“Thousands of Americans are in Israel, including constituents from my district, who need help evacuating. Americans can contact the federal government for help; however, upon safe arrival in America, they’re met with a bill for safe transport,” said Congressman Dunn. “My bill seeks to waive this debt for these individuals and any American who needs evacuation from a warzone. No American should have to hesitate to ask for help, especially due to financial constraints, when they are escaping terrorist attacks.”

Under the State Department Basic Authorities Act, 22 U.S.C. 2671, participants are required to repay travel costs through a Repatriation Loan Program. This can result in high interest and penalties if the loan is not repaid in time. Participants must sign a promissory note before they are allowed to board the flight or cruise ship and, if they refuse, they won’t be allowed to board. 

“It is unfathomable that under current statute, American citizens are burdened to pay out of their own pocket when attempting to evacuate violent conflict zones overseas,” said Rep. Mills. “The bottom line is the United States Government has a responsibility to protect its citizens both at home and abroad. As the only Member of Congress to have run evacuation missions to get American citizens out of both Afghanistan and Israel, I know firsthand the Biden Administration’s disregard for Americans overseas. While this administration is quick to use taxpayer dollars to provide free housing to illegal immigrants entering the U.S. or foreign wars, they have no problem putting further financial burdens on Americans who have extremely limited options to escape war zones. I’m proud to join Rep. Dunn in this effort to ensure the American people are not forced to choose between personal safety and their finances.” 

“The current rules at the State Department requiring people pay for their evacuation make absolutely no sense. Imagine fleeing a country after a horrific terrorist attack and once you land, you’re footed with the bill? In the midst of war, people are forced to make quick decisions to ensure their safety and the safety of their family. Personal finances should never play a role in someone’s ability to escape a warzone,” said Rep. Moskowitz

You can read more about the bill here.