This week, the Florida delegation on Capitol Hill secured $22 million to have the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to investigate the collapse a condo building in Surfside that left 98 dead.
On the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., was able to amend the “National Institute of Standards and Technology for the Future Act” to include the funds with the committee backing the amendment. U.S. Reps. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., Bill Posey, R-Fla., Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and Dan Webster, R-Fla., all backed the amendment which also “directs NIST to identify the source of the failure, issue recommendations on how to prevent future collapses, and inform building codes for similar structures.”
“The Surfside condo collapse was an unspeakable tragedy – one that I hope no other family ever has to endure,” said Crist. “We need to get the bottom of what happened and take the necessary steps to make sure this never happens again. That’s why I called for an investigation immediately following the collapse – and why I offered this amendment today. I’m proud to use my seat on the House Science Committee to secure $22 million to investigate the Surfside condo collapse – because Floridians shouldn’t have to mourn another preventable tragedy.”
“We must provide recommendations for how to rectify any shortcomings in building standards to prevent future disasters,” insisted Gimenez. “This can never happen again.”
Over on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee this week, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., included the $22 million in the FY 2022 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill.
“Over a month after the deadly collapse, our community is still in shock,” said Wasserman Schultz who represents Surfside. “While we are still in the process of mourning all those lost, we’re simultaneously trying to assess just how widespread the issue may be. In South Florida and all across the United States, there are thousands of condos just like Champlain Towers, and we simply don’t know how many could have similar structural issues. The NIST investigation will be key to determining the scope of the issue and give us a roadmap to prevent similar catastrophes in new and existing buildings. I’m proud to have had the support my colleagues to secure the necessary funding to allow NIST to conduct such a thorough and necessary investigation in Surfside.”
Wasserman Schultz also weighed in this week after the final victim killed in the collapse was identified.
“Now that the final victim of the tragic Surfside building collapse has been identified, our community begins the next step in the healing process. Thank you to all of the first responders and the medical examiner’s team for their devotion to giving each of the families some measure of closure and the ability to lay their loved ones to rest. The sorrow we feel for the 98 lives lost and those they leave behind cannot be expressed in words. We send our sincerest condolences to the families who lost loved ones and the survivors who lost everything, including their homes. I will continue to work hand-in-hand with local and state officials to assist families through the next steps as they put their lives back together in the aftermath of this unprecedented disaster. We remain ‘Surfside Strong,’” she said.
At the end of last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., marked the one-month anniversary of the tragedy.
“One month ago tomorrow, the Surfside community, our Jewish community, and the entire state of Florida experienced a tremendous loss when Champlain Towers South tragically and unexpectedly collapsed, taking 97 innocent lives and devastating hundreds of families. Immediately following this horrific tragedy, and in the face of great danger, our brave first responders answered the call. These heroes came from across Florida, the United States, and from Israel and Mexico and worked around the clock on search, rescue and recovery. We also saw volunteers pour into Surfside, bringing a tremendous amount of love and support to lift up the affected families and this heartbroken community. Following unimaginable loss, those responding to the collapse showed the world what it means to be Surfside Strong. We can never thank them enough,” Scott said.
“Today, we continue to pray for and mourn with the affected families. As we mark this somber moment, we also know the work in Surfside is far from over. I will be relentless in the search for answers to make sure this never happens again and remain fully engaged with our local, state and federal agencies to ensure every available resource is provided to these families and the Surfside community,” he continued.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.
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