Lawmakers react to passage of disaster relief bill

Destruction of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida. / Photo: James E. Wyatt / (MGN)

By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness News
June 3, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- On Monday, the United States House of Representatives gave long-awaited approval to a bill that allocates over $19 billion dollars for disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

Local lawmakers from both Florida and Georgia have released statements about the bill. You can read them below.

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL)

“I’m glad the House finally passed the disaster relief bill Florida’s Panhandle and Puerto Rico so desperately need to recover following Hurricanes Michael and Maria. It’s long overdue. Unfortunately, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the 5 months I’ve been up here, it’s that Washington is broken. Our communities are hurting, and this process took way too long. Political games were more important than helping Americans, and that’s wrong. But I’m glad it finally got done. Once the President signs this bill, our communities will finally get the resources they need to continue rebuilding their lives and their communities.”

U.S. Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA)

"I am thrilled this assistance is finally on the way. For too long, real Americans, real Georgians have been suffering because Congress failed to deliver this desperately needed relief. Blueberries are a $1 billion industry for Georgia, and the backbone of many of our rural communities. The loss of this crop isn't only devastating for the growers, but entire local economies. It has taken months of negotiations, but help will be there soon."

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL)

“The passage of this hurricane relief funding is a huge victory for Floridians recovering from Hurricane Michael and recent storms. Communities from Northwest Florida to Monroe County have shown extraordinary resilience in the face of devastating natural disasters and deserve nothing short of our full support. I thank our leaders in Congress who helped pass this much needed relief and President Trump for his leadership and support on this effort.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

“After an unnecessary delay, the House finally passed the disaster relief agreement that passed the Senate nearly two weeks ago. Finally, Northwest Florida communities recovering from Hurricane Michael will get the funds they need to recover from this deadly storm. I will continue to work with the administration and Governor DeSantis on the implementation of this disaster relief bill to ensure it serves the needs of the Florida Panhandle.”

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)

“After almost eight months, Congress has finally done its job and passed a disaster aid bill for the people of North Florida. Never in our nation’s history has it taken so long to do the right thing following a devastating natural disaster. This is a shameful example of putting politics before people and Democratic leadership’s willingness to hold funding hostage over their hatred for President Trump.

“I’m thankful for President Trump’s unwavering support. With his help I successfully secured $1.7 billion in military funding that will be instrumental in jumpstarting Tyndall Air Force Base’s rebuild and restoring military readiness and training operations. We were also able to secure funding for the many farmers, ranchers and timber producers who suffered terrible losses in the storm.

“Over the last seven months I have stood on the House floor, the Capitol steps, in countless hearing rooms, and even on Air Force One demanding that the victims of Hurricane Michael not be forgotten. While many in Washington forgot about the Florida Panhandle, President Trump did not. He made a commitment to North Florida – he promised to help us rebuild. With his ongoing support and this much-needed disaster relief funding, we will continue to rebuild the Panhandle.”

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL)

“I am pleased that Congress has finally passed the $19 billion appropriations for disaster relief. This has been a long time coming for many Americans across our nation, and this funding will provide long overdue assistance for communities struggling to rebuild. The President needs to act swiftly and approve this vital legislation that will help families fighting to get back on their feet from Hurricane Michael and other recent natural disasters.”