WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott was joined by Senator Marco Rubio to announce the introduction of the Federal Disaster Responsibility Act in the U.S. Senate. 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. Congresswoman Kat Cammack is leading the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
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 Rick Scott said, “When disaster strikes, families can’t be left wondering whether the federal government is going to show up or if they’ll be strung along while Washington uses them as a bargaining chip in a massive spending bill. One Democrat has even come out and proactively said that she would block this desperately needed disaster aid. That’s the type of gross politics being played in Washington and Floridians are sick and tired of it. I’ve been saying it for months, and I just said it to President Biden on Saturday and Chuck Schumer yesterday: We can’t let Washington play games with disaster relief funds or make helping Americans contingent on helping foreign causes. Funding for Ukraine should NEVER be paired with disaster relief for American families. Congress has passed all of the provisions in this bill before, and it needs to do its job and get that done again. Let’s put American families first and immediately pass the Federal Disaster Responsibility Act.”
Senator Marco Rubio said, “One of the most basic functions of the U.S. Government is, and should continue to be, to help Americans when disasters hit. Sadly, the Biden Administration intentionally withheld a budget request for the Disaster Relief Fund for months after acknowledging a funding shortfall to leverage it in exchange for unrelated spending. Congress must hold the administration accountable for this cynical conduct that has jeopardized disaster response, and must pass this straightforward bill as soon as possible.”
Representative Kat Cammack said, “Communities across Florida's Third Congressional District have been devastated by Hurricane Idalia. As we work to rebuild and recover over the next days, weeks, and months, I'm proud of how Floridians are working together to support each other during this time. From neighbors and business owners to community leaders and law enforcement, we're never shy to lend a hand to those in need. My Florida colleagues and I are committed to ensuring federal resources are available to everyone affected, which includes shoring up the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which does not have the funds necessary to help with Idalia recovery and other national natural disasters. The Federal Disaster Responsibility Act will help get Floridians back on their feet and make sure we continue to support the areas devastated by this catastrophic storm.”
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.
Read more in the Washington Examiner HERE.