Today, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (FL14) and all of the Democrats in the Florida Congressional delegation wrote to President Biden thanking him for his administration’s whole-of-government response to Hurricane Ian. On Friday, Florida Democrats voted for a continued resolution to fund the government, which included $18.8 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). . This federal funding will now immediately complement state, tribal and local recovery efforts across the state, as well as provide funding to people in several of the hardest hit counties.
The letter can be read here and below:
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
RE: Response to the impact of Hurricane Ian on Florida
Dear President Biden:
Thank you for your continued help as our home state of Florida prepared, withstood, and is now recovering from the devastating Category 4 Hurricane Ian. It was one of the biggest storms to ever hit the United States, and it had a catastrophic impact. More than 2.6 million people lost power; severe flooding and record winds decimated homes, businesses and infrastructure; and more than 80 people in Florida have tragically lost their lives, a number that is expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue. 230 members of Congress, including the entire Democratic delegation from Florida, voted last week for a continuing resolution that included nearly $19 billion in federal disaster assistance, which is now flowing to our communities without delay. It’s a lifeline for our neighbors, but the road to recovery will be long and we will need your continued partnership.
We appreciate your administration’s whole-of-government response to this deadly disaster, including your Major Disaster Declarations for the State of Florida (DR-4673-FL) on September 29.e and the Seminole Tribe (DR-4675) on September 30e. These declarations have unlocked federal disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which will immediately supplement state, tribal, and state recovery efforts. and locals across the state, as well as provide funding to people in several of the hardest-hit counties. Additionally, Secretary Becerra issued a Public Health Emergency Declaration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Section 1335 waiver on September 27.e to help the state deal with the health effects of Hurricane Ian and give providers more flexibility to meet emergency health needs. Finally, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a disaster declaration on September 29emaking several disaster-related loans available to our constituents.
As partners in Congress, we were proud to vote for the Ukraine Continuing and Supplementary Appropriations Act (HR 6833) on September 30.e that you signed into law. This legislation provided $18.8 billion that can be sent immediately to our communities, as well as to survivors of other declared disasters such as Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico and severe flooding and landslides in Alaska. This is in addition to the roughly $10 billion already in the DRF from previous funding, which Florida can tap into to respond to Hurricane Ian. Important to our neighbors across the state, the legislation also provided $2 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-DR), which can be earmarked for long-term housing. term, infrastructure and the economy. recovery needs for areas affected by a natural disaster in 2021 or 2022, including Hurricane Ian.
Each storm provides new information and urgency to inform reconstruction in ways that reduce future loss of life and property. We can already see that early adoption of resilience-based land use decisions and building codes has helped reduce losses. Applying the latest science, codes and standards to decisions on how to rebuild and rapidly deploy finance will be essential to accelerate mitigation and a resilient recovery from this storm.
We appreciate you coming to visit Florida on Wednesday to personally assess the damage caused by Hurricane Ian. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to gather information from local, state, and federal partners and officials to determine the most important needs in our communities. We know your administration will continue to coordinate with us once we have a more complete assessment of the damage, including the likelihood that the state will require additional funding for recovery costs in the future.
Thank you again for your strong support of Florida as we recover and rebuild from Hurricane Ian.