U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott called for President Donald Trump to declare the Florida coronavirus outbreak a major disaster.
“Federal government resources as well as coordination between federal and state officials are critical to Florida’s efforts to effectively and expediently combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads a letter from both Senators.
The two wrote in support of a request from Gov. Ron DeSantis. The letter cites the most recent data from the Florida Department of Health, which at the time listed 1,171 total positive cases.
Shortly afterward, DOH updated numbers further. The state now reports 1,227 cases and 18 deaths.
“New diagnoses are rising daily,” the letter from Scott and Rubio notes.
Vice President Mike Pence in a Monday press conference said he has spoken with all Governors requesting a major disaster declaration.
“I’ve assured them we are reviewing them in an expeditious manner,” Pence said.
He promised the full available resources the federal government could offer to states will arrive in a timely fashion. Pence stressed the need for response to be “locally executed, state-managed and federally supported.”
A declaration of a major disaster by the President would allow a more free flow of federal resources to the state.
The last time the President declared Florida as eligible for major disaster assistance came after Hurricane Dorian affected the state last year.
The Senators issued the letter while the Senate continues to wrestle over a rescue package, which has failed to clear a procedural vote twice, The Hill reports.
Rubio has said on social media he believes a package will ultimately be approved.
“Given all the economic suffering people are facing I simply can’t imagine we end today without passing a deal,” he tweeted. “The alternative is too horrific to even contemplate.”
But Scott has expressed concern about the bill and said he won’t support a corporate bailout.
“I’ve been very clear that I have concerns with some aspects of the stimulus bill,” he tweeted. “I believe $$ should be going to the people and small businesses that need it the most, not big corporations.”