- Sen. Rick Scott is urging the Senate to address his proposed Federal Disaster Responsibility Act amid the severe impact of Hurricane Idalia in Florida.
- The Act aims to ensure adequate funding for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund and extend federal support to military bases, families, and growers affected by natural disasters in Florida.
- With the Senate reconvening next week after the August recess, Scott pledged to introduce the Federal Disaster Responsibility Act and demand an immediate vote.
- FEMA on Tuesday assured Florida that $3.4 billion remaining in the federal Disaster Relief Fund will be available for immediate response to Hurricane Idalia.
As Hurricane Idalia ravages Florida with unprecedented force, Sen. Rick Scott is pressing the Senate to immediately address his proposed Federal Disaster Responsibility Act.
In a released statement, Scott asserted that his Federal Disaster Responsibility Act amalgamates a series of aid bills with the primary objective of ensuring that FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund receives adequate funding. The measure is additionally designed to extend federal support to the military bases, families, and growers in Florida grappling with the aftermath of natural disasters.
Scott took the occasion to rebuke the Biden administration for intertwining domestic aid with foreign assistance for Ukraine, which he contended undermines the immediate needs of disaster-stricken American communities and exacerbates the challenges faced by those requiring federal assistance.
“I will be introducing a bill, the Federal Disaster Responsibility Act, that combines the Disaster Relief Fund Replenishment Act, Hurricane Tax Relief Act, Block Grant Assistance Act, and other essential provisions, to make sure that the immediate needs for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund are fully funded and Florida’s military bases, families and growers impacted by disasters have the federal support they need and deserve,” said Scott. “Unfortunately, while I’ve spent the months leading up to this storm fighting to make sure the federal government shows up, President Biden and politicians in Washington have been playing games with FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund and insisting that this critical domestic aid be tied to foreign aid for Ukraine.”
The proposed Federal Disaster Responsibility Act encompasses multifaceted provisions. It includes an enhanced version of the Disaster Relief Fund Replenishment Act, which allocates at least $12.5 billion to swiftly deploy emergency funding and resources to disaster-affected communities. The legislation also seeks the enactment of the bipartisan Block Grant Assistance Act, which facilitates the provision of block grants to agriculture producers impacted by natural disasters.
Further, the bill endeavors to secure the passage of the Hurricane Tax Relief Act, which would provide tax relief to families and individuals in regions affected by inclement weather events by waiving requirements for taxpayers to itemize deductions and adjusting the threshold for disaster casualty loss tax relief.
With the Senate reconvening next week after the August recess, Scott pledged to introduce the Federal Disaster Responsibility Act and demand an immediate vote.
“The moment the Senate reconvenes next week I will be introducing this bill and demanding an immediate vote,” he said. “Floridians are doing their part and getting ready, and I will not allow Washington to continue playing games with disaster aid and the lives of those needing our help.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Tuesday assured Florida that $3.4 billion remaining in the federal Disaster Relief Fund will be available for immediate response to Hurricane Idalia. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell spoke during a White House briefing Tuesday and said the agency is seeking an additional $12 billion from Congress to sustain its disaster response capabilities through year-end.
Moreover, Criswell reported that she had a phone conversation with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, and President Joe Biden spoke with DeSantis as well. Criswell and DeSantis stressed the need for people to take the impending hurricane seriously and follow evacuation orders, particularly due to the expected storm surge on the Gulf Coast.
Supplementing the state’s own efforts, FEMA says it has already pre-positioned urban search-and-rescue teams and supplies, including 50,000 meals, water, blankets, and medical supplies that are ready to be deployed to storm-damaged areas at the state’s request.