Florida Republican senators requested federal funds to help with relief after Hurricane Ian hit the state, even though none of the lawmakers voted Thursday for billions in disaster aid, some of which would go to hurricane recovery efforts.
On Friday, Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott sent a joint letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee asking the presidents for funds to “provide much-needed assistance to Florida.” the letter was first reported by the Tallahassee Democrat.
“Hurricane Ian will be remembered and studied as one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit the United States. Florida communities have been completely destroyed and lives have been forever changed,” the senators wrote.
“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 utility capacity, and to help our fellow Floridians rebuild their lives.” “.
But only one day before, Scott and Rubio refused to vote for additional financing. The interim spending bill the Senate approved Thursday includes about $18.8 billion in additional funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to Hurricane Ian and future disasters.
The 25 senators who refused to vote for the bill were Republicans. Scott voted against and Rubio did not vote at all. The House also passed the bill, with Republicans overwhelmingly voting against it.
“In the same week that #HurricaneIan brought so much chaos and destruction to Florida, not a single Florida Republican cared enough to vote for hurricane relief for the people in their own state most affected by the storm,” said the Chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, Manny Diaz. he tweeted on saturday.
“That’s a mind boggling level of callous indifference and political opportunism. Fortunately, [President Joe Biden] and Florida Democrats are doing the right thing when it counts, and we appreciate their efforts to help Florida rebuild once again.”
In 2013, Rubio voted against the $50 billion relief bill intended to help states affected by Hurricane Sandy, which left a trail of damage on the East Coast and hundreds of deaths. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), who was a congressman at the time, also voted against several bills that would have provided aid to Sandy’s victims.
When asked by CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday why other senators should support disaster relief for their state when he voted against Sandy relief, Rubio justified his decision by saying the bill “had been loaded with a lot of stuff that had nothing to do with disaster relief.
“What I didn’t vote for in Sandy is because they had included things like a roof for a museum in Washington, DC, for fishing in Alaska,” the senator said. Bash reminded Rubio that according to the congressional investigation report for the bill, the requested roof for the museum was damaged by the hurricane and Alaskan fisheries were affected by another disaster.
Rubio added that he would not support a Hurricane Ian emergency relief bill if it contained anything that did not directly relate to the affected areas.
Ian was one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the US, hitting Florida hardest last week before moving up into the Carolinas. The Category 4 hurricane has resulted in a rising death toll, rising to at least 47 as of Sunday morning. Hundreds of thousands are without homes or electricity, and destroyed infrastructure has left many isolated.