Florida Delegation Wants Trump to Approve Ron DeSantis’ Request to Amend Hurricane Dorian Emergency Declaration

All 27 members of the Florida delegation in the U.S. House are calling on President Donald Trump to approve Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to amend the Emergency Declaration on Hurricane Dorian to allow for Category B reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which allows for expenses related to shelters, removal of health and safety hazards and evacuation measures.

At the end of last week, the two chairmen of the Florida delegation–Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Democrat U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings–wrote Trump on the matter. They rounded up the other 25 members representing Florida in the House to sign off on the letter. On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent Trump a letter to the same purpose.

Following a letter led by Rubio and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., Trump approved Florida’s request for an Emergency Declaration prior to Hurricane Dorian impacting the state. However, that designation only provided for direct federal assistance for emergency protective measures. DeSantis estimates approximately $197.3 million was expended in preparation for Hurricane Dorian, and requests Category B reimbursement be extended to the state and 24 counties.

“As Hurricane Dorian, a devastating category 2 storm with sustained winds of 110 miles per hour, made its way up Florida’s east coast, we write in full support of Governor Ron DeSantis’ request for financial assistance for eligible Category B expenses under FEMA’s Public Assistance program for the State of Florida and twenty-four counties. As of September 4, 2019, the State of Florida has incurred approximately $157.6 million in Category B emergency protective measures and the counties have incurred approximately $39.7 million for a total of $197.3 million,” the members of the Florida delegation in the U.S. House wrote Trump.

“We appreciate your prompt signing of the pre-landfall disaster declaration on August 30, 2019, which was vital to the state’s preparation efforts. Included in that request was financial assistance for eligible Category B expenses under FEMA’s Public Assistance program. As you know, Category B emergency protective measures are actions taken by local communities before, during, and following a disaster to save lives, protect public health and safety, or eliminate an immediate threat of damages to property,” they added.

“Hurricane Dorian formed on Saturday, August 24, 2019, and the forecast from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) indicated that a major hurricane would make landfall in Florida on Monday, September 2, 2019. At the time, the NHC forecasted that the entire Florida peninsula and Northwest Florida were within the cone of error. As a result, our local governments quickly moved into action, expending funds and resources in preparation for the fast approaching storm,” they continued.

The members of the Florida delegation reminded Trump that the Sunshine State has been hit hard by hurricanes in recent years and FEMA is behind on some of its reimbursements.

“In the last three years alone, Florida has been hit by Hurricanes Hermine, Matthew, Irma and Michael, causing significant damage and depleting local government funds. In fact, local governments are still waiting on FEMA Public Assistance reimbursements from Hurricanes Michael and Irma. The 2019 hurricane season is far from over, and our local governments simply do not have the resources to recover from the past three extremely active hurricane seasons, Hurricane Dorian, and prepare for what may come,” they wrote.

“We urge you to promptly approve the governor’s request for financial assistance for eligible Category B expenses under FEMA’s Public Assistance program for the state of Florida and for the following twenty four counties: Brevard, Broward, Clay, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Highlands, Hendry, Indian River, Lake, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, and Volusia,” they wrote in conclusion.  “Thank you for your consideration of this request.”

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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