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Rick Scott & Marco Rubio Press FEMA for Answers Disaster Relief Funding

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Florida Senators Rick Scott (R) and Marco Rubio (R) are demanding transparency from Deanne Criswell, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), after reports that FEMA expects the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) to run out of funds by August 2024 and may need to activate an immediate needs funding designation as early as June.  FEMA’s latest monthly DRF report, issued May 7, 2024, projects a $1.359 billion deficit in its Major Declarations fund by August, growing to $6.811 billion by September. 

Below is a copy of Rubio and Scott’s letter to Criswell.

Dear Administrator Criswell:

We appreciate your hard work and partnership to support Florida’s families following recent hurricanes. In Florida, we understand the importance of total coordination between local, state and federal partners who stand ready to deploy resources at a moment’s notice. Continuing this partnership will be critical to ensure Florida can prepare for, respond to, and quickly recover from severe weather during the 2024 Hurricane Season should disaster strike.

It is our understanding that your agency expects the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) to run out of funds by August 2024 and may need to activate an immediate needs funding designation as early as June. We cannot stress enough how devastating this funding shortage would be to hurricane and disaster relief efforts in Florida and across the country. FEMA’s latest monthly DRF report[1], issued May 7, 2024, projects a $1.359 billion deficit in its Major Declarations fund by August, growing to $6.811 billion by September. This is unacceptable going into hurricane season.

Last year, we led an effort in the Senate to fully fund FEMA’s DRF at the levels requested by your agency and the White House. It is gravely concerning to us that now, not even a year later, the Biden administration is projecting another funding shortfall.

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As we work to ensure full funding for the DRF as a clean, standalone effort so that the federal government be a partner in disaster preparation, response and recovery, we ask that you please provide written responses to the following questions:

  1. What is the current funding level of the DRF, and what are the estimated monthly expenditures that are being drawn from the fund?
  2. Does FEMA still project a deficit to the DRF in August or do you expect it to occur earlier?
  3. When does FEMA expect it will need to activate an immediate needs funding designation?
  4. What level of funding does FEMA need to adequately respond to disasters during the 2024-25 hurricane season?

In the aftermath of any natural disaster, Floridians expect government at every level to work together and show up. Families in Florida, and across the nation, must be able to rely on the federal government to do its part as they get back on their feet. We look forward to your response as we work together to ensure FEMA and the DRF have the resources our communities may need.

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  • Florida Daily

    Florida Daily offers news, insights and analysis as we cover the most important issues in the state, from education, to business and politics.

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