Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said Sunday he will vote against any potential congressional disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Ian if lawmakers “fill it up with things unrelated to the storm.”
“Yeah. I’m going to fight against having pork in it. That’s the key,” the senator told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked if he would vote against any potential relief package that also contains money for other things. “We shouldn’t have it in there because it undermines the ability to come back and do this in the future.”
“I think that disaster relief is something that we shouldn’t play around with. We are able in this country, in Congress, to vote for disaster relief for key — after major events like this without using it as a vehicle or a mechanism for people to fill it up with things unrelated to the storm.
Rubio had previously faced criticism for voting against federal disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy because he said the relief was not narrowly tailored to just respond to the storm. The senator later voted for a piecemeal relief package for the victims of Sandy.
“It was filled with a lot of stuff that had nothing to do with disaster relief,” he told Bash on Sunday, referring to a Hurricane Sandy relief package that he voted against. “I would never say that we should use a disaster relief package for Florida as a way to pay for all sorts of other things that people want around the country.”
On Friday, Rubio and fellow Florida Sen. Rick Scott sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee asking for their “support to develop a disaster supplement to provide much-needed assistance to Florida.”
“A robust and timely federal response, including through supplemental programs and funding, will be required to ensure that adequate resources are made available to rebuild critical infrastructure and public service capacity, and to help our colleagues in Florida rebuild their lives,” the Republican lawmakers wrote. .
Hurricane Ian — expected to rank as the costliest storm in Florida history — made landfall Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 and had weakened to a post-tropical cyclone by Saturday, bringing rain to parts of West Virginia and western Maryland .
At least 67 people have been killed by Ian in Florida as it engulfed homes in its furiously rushing waters, obliterating roadways and tearing down power lines. Four people were also killed in storm-related incidents in North Carolina, officials have said.