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Marco Rubio maligns ‘politically cynical’ disaster relief bill

The GOP controlled United States Senate passed a $15.25 relief bill for Hurricane Harvey relief on Thursday, lifting the debt ceiling in the process.

Sen. Marco Rubio, who missed the vote as he is preparing for Hurricane Irma, takes issue with the “politically cynical” package, essentially the product of a deal between President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats.

“I consider the manner in which this measure was structured, linking emergency disaster relief for victims in need of immediate assistance with other controversial measures we still have time to debate through regular order, to be among the most politically cynical efforts I have ever witnessed,” Rubio said Thursday, adding that he would have voted for the bill “despite significant reservations” about certain elements.

Rubio’s qualms are myriad, and he lays them at the feet of President Trump.

“I strongly disagree with the decision made by the administration to agree to pair funding for FEMA and emergency disaster relief to short-term extensions to the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling and the National Flood Insurance Program unaccompanied by significant reforms,” Rubio asserted.

Short-term continuing resolutions, Rubio said, are “an incredibly inefficient way of spending taxpayer dollars and fails to provide the certainty required for effective planning.”

“Additionally, I am frustrated Congress has once again temporarily reauthorized the outdated National Flood Insurance Program without enacting a long-term solution that provides much-needed improvements for the people of Florida and places this vital program on a sustainable path for the future,” Rubio added. 

“It is shameful these necessary and important measures are not being considered separately. Linking them to funds needed to assist our fellow Americans recovering from a devastating natural disaster is an unfortunate effort to avoid subjecting these measures to the scrutiny and debate they merit,” Rubio continued.

Despite these philosophical qualms, Rubio would have voted for the bill.

“Today, I was informed by Administrator Long that FEMA has less than two days of emergency funds remaining. Given that Texas continues to recover from the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Harvey and that the state of Florida is facing the most powerful Atlantic storm ever recorded, I have no choice but to support this measure.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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