- President Joe Biden visited Fort Myers Wednesday to aerially assess damage sustained following Hurricane Ian
- Biden appeared alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis and both Florida senators
- The group agreed to continue supporting southwest and central Florida as recovery and repair efforts remain ongoing
- Sen. Rubio stated that he plans to push a major disaster supplemental spending measure through Congress
President Joe Biden visited southwest Florida on Wednesday, where he assessed the damage following Hurricane Ian, stating that it will take “not weeks or months, but years” to rebuild the region.
Biden was joined by a series of Floridian politicians including Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, where the group collectively reaffirmed a commitment to providing support to Floridians as recovery efforts are underway.
“You don’t have to have much of an imagination to see that everything is historic and titanic,” said Biden. “You have to start from scratch to move again. It’s going to take a lot of time; not weeks or months, but years to get everything squared away in the state of Florida.”
DeSantis and Biden exchanged pleasantries, commending each other for taking quick action in responding to the state’s needs.
“We appreciate working together across various levels of government,” DeSantis said, while Biden stated that the Florida governor has done a “good job,” lauding the joint effort between federal and state agencies.
DeSantis particularly applauded the Biden administration for expanding the period of time the federal government will fully cover the cost of storm repair expenditure from 30 to 60 days.
The governor went on that explain that the expense of debris clearance may exceed the entire annual budget of some cities in the area.
Biden said he expects a necessary second extension of cost subsidization based on initial damage assessments. The President further claimed he anticipates a longstanding need for collaboration between the federal government and Florida to be able to adequately provide aid and repair to communities across southwest and central Florida.
“I can assure you … the federal government will be here until it’s finished,” said Biden.
The two politicians could feature as the two Presidential candidates in 2024, with the pair exuding a long history of political shots at each other.
In the days following Hurricane Ian’s landfall, media speculation ran wild surrounding the strained relationship between Biden and DeSantis and how it may affect direct storm response. Any public issues appear to be squashed, however, as the focus remains on rebuilding Florida.
Sen. Rubio in a statement said that he is prepared to push a major disaster supplemental spending measure through Congress, expecting it to be well received upon submission.
“The strength and resilience of Floridians are inspiring, and I am glad President Biden and First Lady Biden could be here to witness it firsthand,” said Rubio. “Florida has a long road to recovery ahead. I plan to make sure our state receives the emergency relief it needs to fully rebuild.”