Florida GOP lawmakers request hurricane relief after state GOP votes to strike down FEMA funding

Florida GOP lawmakers request hurricane relief after state GOP votes to strike down FEMA funding
Rick Scott speaking at CPAC in Orlando, Florida in 2011, Gage Skidmore

Florida Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott recently called on Senate leaders to approve more disaster funding in the wake of Florida's devastation due to Hurricane Ian.

According to Axios, the lawmakers' request is important because of their previous stance on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding.

"Several members of Congress from Florida previously voted against a short-term spending bill that includes aid for disaster relief," the news outlet reported.

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The lawmakers penned a joint letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee chairs as part of their request for "much-needed assistance to Florida."

“Hurricane Ian will be remembered and studied as one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit the United States,” the Florida senators wrote. “Communities across Florida have been completely destroyed, and lives have been forever changed.

“A robust and timely federal response, including through supplemental programs and funding, will be required to ensure that sufficient resources are provided to rebuild critical infrastructure and public services capacity, and to assist our fellow Floridians in rebuilding their lives.”

However, the problem is that Florida lawmakers already expressed opposition to additional major disaster relief. The news outlet notes: "The Senate passed a stopgap bill Thursday to fund the government through December that included an $18.8 billion fund for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help states with natural disasters."

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In a statement released on Friday, September 30, Scott stated that the continuing resolution (CR) in the legislative measure "contains no funding for Florida’s response to Hurricane Ian."

“Prior to Ian’s development, l made clear that I fully supported the proposed disaster funding for other states," the lawmaker said in a statement. "This CR failed to fund the federal government until the new Congress begins in 2023, and that is why I could not support it.”

Manny Diaz, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, also criticized Republican lawmakers for their decision to strike down the measure.

“The same week that Hurricane Ian brought so much chaos and destruction to Florida, not a single Florida Republican cared enough to vote in favor of Hurricane relief for the people in their own state hit hardest by the storm," he said, per the Democrat. "That is a level of callous indifference and political opportunism that boggles the mind."

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