Florida Republicans vote against billions for natural disaster relief (includes video story)

With Hurricane Ian leaving widespread destruction and flooding, Floridians are looking for help from the government.

Republicans face hard-hitting questions on their votes.

Last week, the Senate passed a spending bill that includes an additional $18 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to natural disasters. A total of 16 Republican House Representatives from Florida voted against the bill, including two who represent Lee County, where much of the hurricane’s destruction was felt.

In the Senate, Marco Rubio was not present for the vote and Sen. Rick Scott cast a no ballot despite acknowledging the help Florida needs after Hurricane Ian.

“I’ve been touring the areas; I’ve been talking to sheriffs with … first responders. I know FEMA’S here … everybody’s helping but there’s a lot of need right now,” said Scott “And there’s a lot of need, especially in places like Lee, which is Fort Myers area, but I was up in Kissimmee yesterday and there are areas that you would never think would find that are flooded. So, I feel sorry for people.”

Gov. Ron Desantis asked President Biden to approve a major disaster declaration for Florida. He got it. But many Floridians were quick to note that DeSantis voted against a 2013 bill that would have given New Yorkers similar aid after Hurricane Sandy.

Biden will visit Florida on Wednesday to see first-hand the damage Hurricane Ian left as well as recovery efforts.

For more stories on the election, check out the SFMN voter guide.

Juliana Narvaez is a junior majoring in journalism and English literature with a minor in psychology. After her studies, she wishes to pursue a writing career with a focus on mental health and victimization advocacy.