WASHINGTON, D.C. — There is a new proposal aimed at giving tax relief to families hit by a disaster and ensuring federal funds are available to those who need it following Hurricane Idalia and the Maui wildfires.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the bill dubbed the Federal Disaster Responsibility Act.
The bill would fully fund FEMA’s disaster relief program and give tax relief to qualified families impacted by a disaster.
It also allows the Department of Agriculture to issue grants to farmers impacted by a disaster, such as Florida’s citrus growers and Georgia’s peach growers.
Scott said he discussed his measure with President Biden during his visit to Florida over the weekend.
“We need to make sure Floridians get the support from the federal government that they deserve,” said Scott. “It’s not a partisan issue in my opinion.”
But the bill comes as Congress faces a separate debate over the federal budget, which is set to expire at the end of the month.
That stalemate has led to debates over funding for Ukraine, federal food assistance programs, and more.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer this week, Scott wrote about concerns that a lawmaker may block his proposal from moving forward.
“Unfortunately, it is my understanding that at least one member of the Senate Democratic Caucus plans to block the immediate passage of this legislation to provide Americans with urgently needed relief unless it is accompanied by foreign aid for Ukraine,” wrote Scott.
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Scott is urging Schumer to bring his proposal to a full vote as a separate measure – not one connected to other budgetary needs.
“We shouldn’t make it contingent on helping a foreign cause,” said Scott. “Might be an important thing to do, but we ought to be helping Americans with disaster relief first.”
Scott said he hasn’t yet heard back from Schumer’s office about a potential vote on the bill in the Senate.