Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio got a pat on the back from the Florida League of Cities for filing a bill that would protect communities that receive FEMA funds from claw backs years after a disaster strikes.
The Post-Disaster Fairness to States Act puts a three-year cap on the FEMA seeking refunds for money handed out to help with disaster recovery. Similar legislation has also been filed by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel and U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.
“Floridians should not be subjected to permanent uncertainty about when the federal government might claw back support distributed after a disaster,” Rubio said. “Our state has experienced numerous storms since 2004, and although recovery efforts have long been completed, under current law the federal government can take back these funds, sometimes decades later—financially decimating the recipients who relied on them.”
The Florida League of Cities agreed, thanking Rubio and other lawmakers for their taking up the issue.
“Florida’s communities accept the constant threat posed to our state by hurricanes and other natural disasters, but they should not be forced to live at risk of a drawn out bureaucratic process that is confusing and inconsistent,” the League said in a press release.
“In the aftermath of a disaster, Florida’s municipalities do heroic work restoring order to their communities, and the value of help from agencies like FEMA is impossible to calculate. We applaud Senators Rubio and Nelson, Representatives Frankel and Diaz-Balart and Florida’s other congressional members, for their steadfast support on this matter.”
Rubio’s bill also applies to homeowners and carves out the claw back limitation if objectives specified for the FEMA funds are not accomplished. It also keeps in place requirements that communities getting federal resources after a disaster act as good stewards of taxpayer dollars.