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Rubio, Nelson, Florida Colleagues Urge POTUS To Approve Governor Scott’s Request For A Major Disaster Declaration In Response To Hurricane Michael

Oct 10, 2018 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Florida Representatives urged President Donald Trump to approve Florida Governor Rick Scott’s request for a major disaster declaration in response to Hurricane Michael. While the full extent of the damage is yet unknown, quick approval of the declaration is needed so that Florida can have access to all federal resources needed to commence its recovery and rebuilding process. To date, the State of Florida has spent approximately $40 million on response costs. This catastrophic storm made landfall as a strong category 4 hurricane, and reports have shown widespread damage. 

Joining Senators Rubio and Nelson were U.S. Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL) Kathy Castor (D-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Val Demings (D-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Bill Posey (R-FL).

Today, the Governor requested that the President declare a Major Disaster for the State of Florida in response to Hurricane Michael, beginning on October 7, 2018.  Specifically, it requests Individual Assistance and Public Assistance, including direct Federal assistance for 14 counties (Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla Counties), and Hazard Mitigation statewide. The State requested a 100 percent Federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B) for the first 60 days, with a 90 percent Federal cost share afterwards.  In addition, it contains  a request for Public Assistance, including: Transitional Sheltering Assistance (Category B); and 90 percent Federal cost share for permanent work (Categories C-G).

Timeline of Rubio Actions related to Hurricane Michael:

  • This morning, ahead of Hurricane Michael’s Landfall, Rubio urged Attorney General Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig to assist communities affected by the storm.  
  • On October 9, 2018, Rubio joined Senator Nelson and Florida Representatives in urging President Trump to approve Florida Governor Rick Scott’s request for a pre-landfall emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Michael.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Mr. President:

As Hurricane Michael, a devastating category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, made landfall today near Mexico Beach, Florida, we write in full support of Florida’s request for a major disaster declaration. With Hurricane Michael causing catastrophic damage across North Florida, it is critical that assistance is immediately provided to impacted communities.

Thank you for your prompt signing of the pre-landfall disaster declaration on October 9, 2018, which was vital to the state’s preparation efforts. Today, recognizing the magnitude of this storm, the State of Florida requested a major disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is paramount in the protection and recovery of affected Floridians in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Federal government resources will be vital after this unprecedented storm, and coordination between the federal government and state and local officials is essential. In particular, federal resources will be desperately needed for emergency officials and volunteers to assist those in northwest Florida and along the western coast of the state who are isolated and in need of aid. The size of this storm warrants a major disaster declaration as sustained winds and storm surge have been reported as causing record damage. 

Thus, we urge you to promptly approve the Governor’s request for a major disaster declaration, so the State of Florida will have access to all federal resources needed to commence its recovery and rebuilding process.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.