VIDEO RELEASE Senate Democrats Block Sen. Rick Scott's Disaster Relief Bill

September 21, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott spoke on the Senate floor to request unanimous consent to schedule a vote on his bill, the Federal Disaster Responsibility Act. This bill would fully fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) to ensure the federal government could quickly and comprehensively respond to natural disasters, and deliver urgently needed disaster aid to America’s growers and ranchers. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, blocked Senator Scott’s request, denying the Senate an opportunity to vote on and pass this bill. Following Senator Whitehouse’s objection, which denies disaster aid for millions of Americans, Senator Scott released the below statement.


Senator Rick Scott said, “Communities in every state are dependent on disaster aid from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, which is now nearly exhausted and will have just $550 million available at the end of this month. When I spoke to President Biden earlier this month, I told him this is UNACCEPTABLE and especially devastating for families and farmers in Florida, California, Illinois, Vermont and Hawaii who are fighting tooth and nail right now to recover from major disasters. In Florida, our growers and ranchers have been waiting for nearly a year since Ian devastated so many of them and this delay is Senate Democrats kicking them while they’re down. This shouldn’t be a political issue, but Democrats are treating it that way to try and force disaster aid to be part of their massive spending package. It is beyond shameful for Senate Democrats to hold disaster aid hostage, and I won’t stop fighting to get this bill passed and relief to our families and growers working hard to get back on their feet.”


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.
  • Committing necessary funds and resources to Florida’s military installations to fully rebuild and recover from hurricane damage and to the Army Corps of Engineers to complete beach renourishment projects.


Watch Senator Scott’s speech HERE or below.


MORE HERE… See below for additional actions Senator Rick Scott has taken in preparation for and response to Hurricane Idalia: