IN CASE YOU MISSED IT… Florida Agriculture Commissioner Announces Support for Sen. Rick Scott’s Federal Disaster Responsibility Act

September 7, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, following Senator Rick Scott’s introduction of his Federal Disaster Responsibility Act to provide emergency relief for natural disasters, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson issued the following statement supporting the legislation. This bill, which Senator Scott first announced the details of last week following the devastating landfall of major Category 3 Hurricane Idalia in Florida’s Big Bend, will ensure Florida families and all Americans facing emergencies following natural disasters are taken care of. Senator Marco Rubio joined as a cosponsor of the bill and Congresswoman Kat Cammack is leading the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.


Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Wilton Simpson said, “Florida’s agriculture community suffered more than a billion dollars in damage and losses during last year’s hurricane season, and they are now recovering from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Idalia. I applaud Senator Scott, Senator Rubio, and Representative Cammack for bringing forward this critical piece of legislation that puts hardworking Americans first. The Federal Disaster Responsibility Act will ensure the final passage of the Block Grant Assistance Act, which will give the support and relief needed for our agricultural industry to recover from devastating natural disasters. It will also secure an expanded version of the Hurricane Tax Relief Act, that will provide disaster-loss tax relief to families impacted by hurricanes.”


Over the weekend, Senator Scott met with President Biden and urged him to support the passage of his Federal Disaster Responsibility Act. In both his meeting with President Biden, and in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Scott has been clear that the Senate should not play games with disaster relief funds and believes that helping Americans should not be contingent on aid for foreign causes.


Senator Scott’s Federal Disaster Responsibility Act includes:

  • Fully funding the immediate needs of FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund with at least $16.5 billion to ensure the federal government can uphold its obligation to quickly deploy emergency funding and resources to communities and Americans impacted by natural disasters. This exceeds what the Biden administration has said is needed to respond to recent disasters, including those in Florida and Hawaii.
  • Ensuring final passage of the bipartisan Block Grant Assistance Act which provides needed authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue block grants to Florida’s citrus growers, Georgia’s peach growers and all U.S. agriculture producers devastated by natural disasters in 2022.
  • Securing final passage of an expanded version of the Hurricane Tax Relief Act, which takes care of Americans impacted by disasters by providing disaster-loss tax relief to families who have been impacted by qualified disasters for purposes of enhanced disaster casualty loss tax relief. This would apply across the nation and include relief for taxpayers in Hawaii, California, Illinois, Florida and others. This bill modifies the deduction for personal casualty losses in the hurricane disaster areas, waiving the requirements for impacted taxpayers to itemize deductions and to have losses that exceed 10% of adjusted gross income. Congress previously extended this tax relief for hurricanes Irma, Wilma, Dorian, and Michael, amongst others.
  • Committing necessary funds and resources to Florida’s military installations to fully rebuild and recover from hurricane damage.