Oct 1, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Rubio, Scott call for Ian relief as Florida GOP votes against FEMA funding

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to the media with Rick Scott.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks to the media with Rick Scott. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott called on Senate leaders Friday to provide more funding to help Florida rebuild after the devastating Hurricane Ian wiped out buildings, roads and power for millions of people.

Why it matters: Several members of Congress from Florida previously voted against a short-term spending bill that includes aid for disaster relief.

What they said: Rubio and Scott sent a joint letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee chairs that requested "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.”
  • Rubio's office did not immediately return Axios' request for comment.

Yes, but: Florida lawmakers already opposed major disaster relief earlier this week.

Flashback: 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, CNBC reports.

  • Scott voted against the bill, per the Senate roll call. Rubio was not present for the vote.
  • The House voted in favor of the bill Friday. All 16 GOP members of Florida's Congressional team voted against it, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Scott's office pointed to a statement released Friday that said the continuing resolution (CR) in the bill "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," Scott 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.”

Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz criticized Floridian lawmakers for not approving 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."

The big picture: Multiple Republicans in Congress previously opposed hurricane relief packages or supported proposals that aimed to reduce the amount of federal money given to major storm relief, according to the Daily Beast.

Go deeper: Ian to weaken overnight, NHC says

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