Marco Rubio to SBA: ‘It is unconscionable’ agency considered delaying relief announcement

algae bloom (Large)

Marco Rubio is demanding answers from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In a letter to the SBA administrator, the Miami Republican said “it is unconscionable” that officials recently stated that they had no problem delaying the opening of a relief center in Martin County.

“Please answer the following question,” said Rubio in his letter. “In times of disasters, such as the algae bloom in Florida’s waterways, why would the SBA have ‘no problem’ delaying any form of relief to my constituents?”

Rubio requested an “immediate response” to his inquiry.

The Associated Press reported emails made public by the administration of Republican Gov. Rick Scott show an aide to U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy asked the SBA to hold the announcement of federal assistance so Murphy could present it Thursday. Murphy represents part of the area in the state that has been hit hard by the smelly algae blooms that have fouled rivers, streams and beaches.

“Is it possible for you to hold the announcement until Thursday and allow Congressman Murphy to announce it at a news conference?” wrote Candace Wells, an aide to Murphy, to a public affairs specialist with the federal office distributing aid to businesses.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, which first reported the exchange, the SBA said it had no problem holding off, but asked Scott’s administration.

The SBA asked the Scott administration about delaying until Friday the opening of a center that would offer loans to affected businesses. The emails show Scott administration officials opposed the delay, and the center instead opened Wednesday.

“Suffice it to say, this incident leaves a profoundly bad taste in the mouths of many Floridians who see this as an example of the SBA putting politics and publicity plans heads of the needs of our people,” said Rubio in his letter. “As the SBA continues its efforts to provide assistance to Florida on this matter and others throughout our state, I ask that you act swiftly and not delay the immediate relief my constituents desperately need.”

Murphy is the leading Democratic contender in the U.S. Senate race. The Treasure Coast Democrat will likely face Rubio, who is running for re-election, in November.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Last updated on July 14, 2016

Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster


  • Bob Markey

    July 15, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Maybe the feds don’t want to provide relief because they have refused to fully fund Everglades restoration, due in major part to Marco Rubio’s failure to make our environment and the purchase of the land south of Lake Okeechobee for water storage and filtration a priority. Rubio helped cause this mess and now he expects us to believe he wants to help? We are not that stupid! Rubio is on bed with Big Sugar and will do everthing he can to help his fat wallet friends at at U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals get even richer. He is the country’s biggest sugar shill and must be sent packing this fal by any Floridian of any party who cares about our environment. Rubio has shown us he does not give a damn. At least Murphy is trying to do something, as Rubio stays shacked up with the Fanjuls and other uber rich sugar barons.

    • Jeri Spinella

      July 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      How many of you respondents have been in Florida for over 45 years??
      I have and this problem with Big Sugar has been going on over that time period. Our state has been controlled by the Democrats for most of that time; therefore, it is a political football that keeps getting passed from one to the other.

Comments are closed.


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