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Rubio, Colleagues Introduce Major Disaster Relief Package
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), David Perdue (R-GA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Rick Scott (R-FL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) today introduced a bipartisan disaster relief package with the backing of President Donald J. Trump. President Trump, working with this bipartisan group of senators, has confirmed his support for disaster relief and encouraged Congress to pass legislation with funding for Florida, Puerto Rico, and other states that are recovering from recent hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters. A summary of the bill is available here.
“While Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly to help Florida communities devastated by Hurricane Michael earlier this year, Congress has repeatedly played politics with disaster funding at the expense of local communities still struggling to recover,” Rubio said. “Each day that Congress fails to act, state and local governments become increasingly at risk of running out of the necessary resources needed to address critical issues and fully recover from recent disasters. Our communities should not have to suffer the consequences of Congress’s inaction any longer. It is time to act.”
“In October, President Trump and Vice President Pence both saw the devastation of Hurricane Michael firsthand and promised farmers they would have their backs. In pushing for this disaster relief bill, the President is fulfilling that promise,” Perdue said. “Now, it is up to Congress to follow through and pass this critical, bipartisan bill. Our farmers and rural communities cannot wait any longer for disaster relief. For some Georgia farmers, the timing of assistance will determine whether they put a crop in the ground ever again.”
“I’ve spoken personally with President Trump and Vice President Pence, with Senate leaders, with Governor Kemp and with Georgia farmers about our desperately needed disaster aid legislation and how to get it moving as soon as possible,” Isakson said. “This legislation will provide critical funds to our farmers and producers who suffered significant agricultural losses in Georgia last year during Hurricane Michael. We are now close to planting season, and time is of the essence for the lives and livelihoods in the industry. We cannot overstate the importance of quickly passing this legislation to restore our agriculture community in Georgia.”
“In Alabama, we’ve seen our fair share of hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather over the years, but that doesn’t mean it gets any easier to either experience a disaster or to rebuild after one,” Jones said. “Therefore, I’m proud to join Senator Perdue to introduce this bill and help folks get back on their feet by providing $12 billion in additional disaster relief funds. This bipartisan legislation will help Alabama farmers who were hard hit by Hurricane Michael.”
“As Governor of Florida, I saw firsthand the destruction left behind by multiple devastating hurricanes,” Scott said. “Following these storms, we worked nonstop to help our communities recover – but there is still a lot to do, especially when it comes to rebuilding Tyndall Air Force Base. Disaster funding should not be a political fight and needs to be brought to the floor of the Senate as quickly as possible. I will never stop fighting for disaster funding to help Tyndall return to its full operation and make sure Florida families and businesses have the resources they need to get back to their normal lives. I’m glad this bill also includes the funding to help our friends in Puerto Rico continue to rebuild following Hurricane Maria.”
“I commend the leadership of Senator Perdue as well as the unwavering commitment of Senators Rubio and Scott on behalf of vulnerable families in Puerto Rico,” Congresswoman Gonzalez-Colon said. “Their action to include an extension of $600 million for Puerto Rico’s nutritional assistance program demonstrates once again the unequivocal sense of responsibility that the Senate majority has to provide for the well-being of American citizens on the Island. Extending this program has been a top priority for me, as it will have a direct impact to close to 279,000 beneficiaries or 125,000 families. Senator Perdue’s bill puts my constituents one step closer to receiving the assistance they need to continue the long path towards recovery and I look forward to its swift passage.”
This bipartisan funding package includes:
- Approximately $13.6 billion in overall relief efforts to all those affected.
- $1.1 billion for the ongoing rebuild of Tyndall Air Force Base and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter beddown
- Critical agriculture disaster relief for farmers recovering in the wake of Hurricane Michael and other natural disasters across the country.
- Development grants for small, rural communities impacted by natural disasters in 2018.
- Assistance for veterans’ health facilities and military construction projects devastated by Hurricane Michael.
- Emergency funds for critical timber, watershed and wastewater infrastructure needs.
- Restoration of highways, aviation facilities and other transit projects damaged by natural disasters.
- Additional $600 million in nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico in response to President Trump’s disaster declaration.