- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 2, 2022

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida made a pitch Sunday to fellow Republicans who may be hesitant to provide his state with emergency aid in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

Mr. Scott has called for a “robust and timely federal response, including through supplemental programs and funding,” despite voting last week against a stopgap funding bill that included nearly $19 billion for disaster response to other weather events via the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

“The federal government is a partner in this, and I learned that as governor. The federal government is a major partner in helping families, helping businesses, helping governments get back to normal. But you don’t want to waste money,” Mr. Scott said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “There is abusiveness, but we do have to provide disaster aid, and whether that’s for a hurricane or whether it’s for flooding, or whether that’s for wildfires, we’ve got to do that.”

Mr. Scott, who chairs the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, has not put a dollar figure on the amount he wants Congress to provide.

He previously said that he voted against last week’s funding bill with FEMA aid because other unrelated spending items were included and it did not extend into the new Congress, so that a potential GOP majority could control the next budget. Instead, Mr. Scott at the time advocated for a standalone vote on disaster funding and accused Democrats of using it as a “political weapon” in must-pass legislation.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, also has called for emergency disaster relief. He was absent from last week’s vote.

“I have consistently voted for disaster relief for all parts of this country, and I have never even insisted on it being paid for, like some people do,” Mr. Rubio said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think disaster relief is something we shouldn’t play with. We are capable in this country, in Congress, of voting for disaster relief after key events like this without using it as a vehicle or a mechanism for people to load up with stuff that’s unrelated to the storm.”

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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