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Pointing to Damage From Hurricane Idalia, Kat Cammack Introduces Rick Scott’s Disaster Relief Proposal in the House

This week, U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., introduced the “Federal Disaster Responsibility Act,” which U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is championing in the U.S. Senate.

Cammack and Scott toured Levy County in recent days, which was hit hard by Hurricane Idalia.

“Communities across Florida’s Third Congressional District have been devastated by Hurricane Idalia. As we work to rebuild and recover over the next days, weeks, and months, I’m proud of how Floridians are working together to support each other during this time. From neighbors and business owners to community leaders and law enforcement, we’re never shy to lend a hand to those in need,” said Cammack. “My Florida colleagues and I are committed to ensuring federal resources are available to everyone affected, which includes shoring up the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which does not have the funds necessary to help with Idalia recovery and other national natural disasters. The Federal Disaster Responsibility Act will help get Floridians back on their feet and make sure we continue to support the areas devastated by this catastrophic storm.”

The proposal that Scott and Cammack are championing includes the “Disaster Relief Fund Replenishment Act,” which U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are championing. The bill ensures the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “has sufficient resources to continue ongoing disaster response and is prepared for unforeseen major disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, and other events.” Scott is co-sponsoring Rubio’s proposal and noted his package will include at least $12.5 billion for FEMA.

The legislation also includes a proposal to reform block grants. At the end of January, Scott and U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin, R-Fla., brought out the “Block Grant Assistance Act,” with Rubio and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., co-sponsoring it.

“This bill will provide the Agriculture Secretary needed authority to provide block grants to the state of Florida to assist producers affected by the two hurricanes,” Franklin’s office noted.

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Since the end of January, two dozen other House members, all from Florida, lined up behind the bill which also has the support of some leaders of Florida’s agriculture community, including Florida Citrus Mutual, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson.

The legislation also includes Scott’s and U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds’, R-Fla., proposal to provide “enhanced disaster loss tax relief to those affected by Hurricane Ian, Nicole, and Fiona, which impacted Florida and Puerto Rico in 2022.”

Scott and Donalds introduced the “Hurricane Tax Relief Act (HTR Act)” back in March with Rubio and U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Franklin, Jenniffer González-Colón, R-PR, and Bill Posey, R-Fla., backing it.

The proposal modifies “the deduction for personal casualty losses in the hurricane disaster area to eliminate (1) the requirement for losses to exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income to qualify for the deduction and (2) the requirement to itemize” and “mirrors what has been done for previous hurricanes and natural disasters, and previous legislation enacting these provisions has been put into law recently as 2020.”

Since Scott and Donalds introduced the proposal, it hasn’t garnered much momentum in either chamber, though U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., threw her support behind the bill towards the end of March.

Scott’s office noted the package will also “commit necessary funds and resources to Florida’s military installations to fully rebuild and recover from hurricane damage.”

Cammack’s bill has a host of stops, including before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure; Ways and Means; Armed Services; Budget; and the Agriculture Committees. So far, Cammack has not reeled in any co-sponsors for her bill.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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