Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio Wrote to Senate Asking for Help, but Neither Voted for Disaster Funding Bill

Toby Hazlewood

Political gestures, not practical actions?

It has emerged that on September 30, Florida's Republican Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio wrote a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, asking for money on behalf of their state to assist with the cleanup operation after Hurricane Ian.

Just the previous day, Scott had voted against a bill - HR 6833 - The Continuing Appropriations bill - that proposed to divert $18.8 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that is tasked with helping Americans after natural disasters. Scott's fellow Republican Senator Marco Rubio wasn't even present at the vote.

Gaetz voted against it too

Irrespective of the stance taken by Scott and Rubio, the bill was passed. It was later voted on by House Representatives and passed by 230 votes to 201. In that session, Florida's Republican Representative Matt Gaetz also chose to vote against the bill, later posting on social media, asking for help on behalf of his fellow 'Florida Man'.

DeSantis avoids partisanship during the crisis

While Florida Republicans like Scott, Rubio and Gaetz have continued to try and make partisan points through their voting during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Governor Ron DeSantis has gained a lot of positive feedback for his preparations and subsequent handling of the hurricane and subsequent clear-up operation, while avoiding getting drawn on partisan politics.

He was particularly praised for efforts to discourage prospective looters from taking advantage of those who have already suffered, and has chastised members of the press who have tried to draw him into arguments and suggest mishandling of certain decisions.

Were there other reasons for voting against the bill?

22 Republican Senators and Just 10 House Republicans voted in favor of the bill which also included $12 billion in aid for Ukraine, and $112 million to beef up security at federal courts. It would seem that Scott, Rubio Gaetz and other Republicans objected to something else in the bill, hence why they didn't vote for it. Either that, or they were more intent on making a political point?

The United States has suffered a greater number of more severe natural disasters this year, and the cost of recovering from them is escalating. Given that Hurricane Ian was already having an effect and threatening death and destruction in Florida, Gaetz, Scott and Rubio may have considered it worthwhile to approve the bill given the large sum of money that was due to be given to FEMA as well as the humanitarian aid that was proposed to be sent to Ukraine?

In times of natural disasters, perhaps it'd be more appropriate for politicians to focus on the people they've been elected to serve rather than continuing to focus on partisan political matters?

Do you think that politicians should focus more on helping the people they have been elected by in times of crisis, rather than furthering their political career? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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