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Instead of actually evacuating US citizens, the Biden Administration has offered “transportation assistance” which is basically a notice about chartered commercial flights to Greece, Cyprus, and Germany. These flights are limited.

Additionally, the State Department requires US citizens to sign a promissory note to the government committing to pay even though the costs will not be determined until a later date.

Compounding the issue, Americans who sign the State Department promissory note still have to find their own way home from the transit port - and pay for those flights and sometimes lodging as well. Most, if not all, had already paid for flights home that were cancelled because of the attacks.

As part of his continued full-court press on behalf of Americans trying to get out of Israel, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) this week introduced bipartisan legislation (HR 5965) proposing to reimburse US citizens for their flights out of the country as they seek to return home amid an unfolding war started by the butchering of innocent civilians, rape, hostage taking, and the beheading of babies by Hamas.

Co-sponsored by Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC), Smith’s bill would waive current mandates requiring US citizens to sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the US Government for its departure assistance before boarding US-chartered commercial flights out of Israel.

“We need to have the backs of our fellow Americans who are in harm’s way and get them home,” Smith said.

“The United States, which has rightfully provided humanitarian evacuations for hundreds of thousands in war zones, free of charge, over the years, should not be making US citizens—who are desperately trying to flee Hamas’ unbridled terror and deadly antisemitism—take out a loan in order to reach safety. The federal government should initiate a direct military evacuation and get these people back to safety in the United States,” said Smith, who noted that more than 600 constituents from his congressional district have contacted his office requesting help with evacuating Israel.

“This is a war,” Smith emphasized. “You offer desperately needed aid for your citizens and your allies during war.”

Smith’s legislation would also require an independent investigation by the Government Accountability Office into any commercial airfare price manipulation and instances of price gouging by airlines on the heels of the brutal terrorist attacks by Hamas.

“This comprehensive study will help ensure there is accountability for any corporation who may be looking to exploit these dire circumstances in order to make a profit,” said Smith, who had been urgently pushing the Biden Administration for a comprehensive evacuation of Americans since the first day of the Hamas attacks.

Republican lawmakers at the New Jersey State level are also speaking up on the issue 


Assemblyman Alex Sauickie (R-Jackson) highlighted that while more than 250 New Jersey shore residents among 20,000 U.S. citizens find themselves stranded in Israel after Hamas’ coordinated sneak attacks, Governor Phil Murphy went ahead with his trade trip to Japan and South Korea.

The Biden administration has said there are no formal plans for emergency evacuations; U.S. citizens should look into commercial flights and ground options to leave Israel. Some American nationals were taken by boat from Haifa, Israel to Cyprus, Greece Oct. 16. They were made to sign promissory notes to repay the U.S. government for the trip, and must still secure their own flights home. Those who fail to pay within a year will be referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution.

“We spend more on our military than the next nine nations combined, and we can’t muster up any aircraft to safely remove our citizens from a warzone?” Sauickie (R-Ocean) asked. “We’re spending billions across the country to house illegal immigrants who have crossed Biden’s open border, but we’re making our own citizens pay for a boat ride, and still telling them, ‘Good luck getting home.’ These Democrats have failed to lead, and are leaving New Jerseyans and other Americans in danger.”

The assemblyman pointed to Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, who personally greeted the 270 Americans – not just Floridians – who arrived in Tampa Sunday. The governor worked with the nonprofit Project Dynamo that rescues Americans and allies free of charge.

“I have not only heard of no such plans taking place for our New Jersey residents, but have had constituents tell me they are getting nowhere contacting the State Department to check in on friends and relatives and secure safe passage home,” Sauickie added.

“Words without action are meaningless. I’m disturbed that Governor Murphy and President Biden aren’t acting more quickly to get our residents to safety,” Sauickie said. “We used to be the world leader, but under these Democrat administrations, we have turned into the world laggard.”

Assemblyman Ned Thomson (R-Lakewood) announced that he is introducing a bill that will establish a dedicated Emergency Return Reimbursement Fund to aid New Jersey residents in their emergency return from Israel.

The proposed legislation aims to alleviate the financial burden and logistical challenges faced by New Jersey citizens who have had to abruptly cut short their stays in Israel due to the security situation.

Thomson’s bill will cover all reasonable and necessary expenses related to resident’s emergency return, including airfare, accommodations, and other essential costs.

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