Floridians will need about $33 billion in emergency aid from the federal government as the state recovers from the devastation of Hurricane Ian, state Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday.
Rubio said the federal government has an important role to play in Florida’s recovery. He said the $33 billion is only an initial estimate of what will be needed, and warned that the number is likely to grow.
“I plan to make sure our state receives the emergency aid it needs to fully rebuild,” Rubio said in a statement.
The Army Corps of Engineers needs more than $12 billion to help repair shorelines, deepen navigation channels and increase coastal resiliency, Rubio said. The second-largest share of the funding, $10 billion, would go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which helps families with temporary housing, cleanup and financial assistance to meet critical needs such as food, water and prescriptions.
Rubio said nearly $3 billion is needed for the Department of Agriculture to cover the cost of crop and tree losses.
Florida lawmakers from both parties are eager to assure voters heading to the midterm elections next month that they are fighting for the state when it comes to federal disaster relief. Rubio is running for a third term against Democratic Rep. Val Demings, who emphasizes his role as chairman of a House panel that oversees FEMA’s work.
Congress faces a mid-December deadline to fund the government, giving lawmakers an excellent opportunity to include disaster relief before the end of the year. But Rubio has warned that aid to Florida must be kept separate.
“We are able in this country, in Congress, to vote for disaster relief 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 said recently on CNN.