Matt Gaetz votes against disaster relief days after Hurricane Ian

Just days after Hurricane Ian devastated his home state, Rep. Matt Gaetz was one of many Republicans to vote against an emergency solution that would keep the government funded and provide billions of dollars in additional disaster relief.

The House of Representatives on Friday approved a rolling resolution that gives the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the ability to spend through the Disaster Relief Fund, freeing up an additional $15 million in aid for disaster relief. Just 10 Republicans voted for the measure, two days after a Category 4 hurricane swept through Florida, killing dozens and causing billions of dollars in economic damage.

Gaetz indicated he would vote against funding in favor of government agencies earlier this week. He, along with dozens of his colleagues, signed a letter saying they would “do what is necessary” to prevent additional funding for the Biden administration.

“Any legislation that sets the stage for a ‘lame duck’ fight for government funding gives Democrats one last chance to pass that agenda,” the letter said. “Therefore, we, the undersigned, will oppose any continuing resolution passed before the first day of the 118th

None of the representatives who signed the letter voted in favor of the resolution.

Passing the bill through the House of Representatives follows passage of the bill through the Senate with 25 Republicans supporting the measure. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk for signature.

Matt Gaetz speaks during a committee meeting
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building June 2 in Washington, DC Gaetz was one of many Republicans who recently voted against funding more disaster relief.
Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Biden recently approved a Major Florida Disaster Declaration that releases federal funding to nine hurricane-affected Florida counties. Those who have lost their homes and belongings can apply for federal grants to help secure temporary housing, repair their home, or get cheap loans for uninsured property losses.

“People in Florida who have destroyed or damaged homes – if you don’t have adequate insurance, that means the federal government is providing individual assistance [up to] $37,900 for home repairs, another $37,900 for lost items — everything from a car to a lost wedding ring,” Biden said Thursday.

He also hinted that the death toll could rise as damage estimates continue, calling Ian possibly one of the deadliest storms in Florida history. On Friday, WBBH-TV in Fort Myers, Fla. reported that the hurricane killed at least 21 people.

Before the hurricane struck, Biden declared a state of emergency for Florida, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts. The hurricane could be one of the costliest storms in Florida history and is estimated to have caused up to $65 billion in damage.

news week turned to Gaetz’s office for comment. Matt Gaetz votes against disaster relief days after Hurricane Ian

Rick Schindler

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