Florida will need about $33 billion in emergency funds to help recover from Hurricane Ian, the state’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday, noting that the figure represents an initial request and will change as assessments of the damage continue.
“Given the scale and scope of the disaster – by some measures the fifth strongest hurricane to ever hit the United States – the federal government has an important role to play in facilitating Florida’s recovery. I plan to make sure our state receives the emergency relief it needs to fully rebuild,” Rubio said in a statement.
Rubio’s emergency funding request includes $12.4 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to repair hurricane-related damage and build coastal storm risk management, flood control and ecosystem restoration projects. Another $10 billion would go toward replenishing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund.
An unusual request: “An individual lawmaker-originated supplemental funding request is unusual,” Roll Call’s Lindsey McPherson notes. “Typically such requests are made by the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the Appropriations Committees and congressional leaders decide what parts of the administration’s request to fund. … Rubio’s decision to get ahead of the White House could be due to the fact that he’s up for reelection in November.”
The bottom line: Congress is out until after the November midterm elections, meaning any new relief funding for the hurricane won’t be approved for at least another month.