As millions of Florida residents try to put their lives aback together after Hurricane Ian last week, several things are becoming increasingly clear. The death toll will go up. The most marginalized in the path of the storm have the fewest resources to recover. More, and more powerful storms like Ian will hit Florida in the years to come. Insurance companies will help to rebuild and replace, but not infinitely. The mental and emotional health of storm victims will be just as important as physical.
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is calling for the US to send aid to Floridians in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian — but he also voted "no" to a bill that carved out cash for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to do just that.
In a tweet on Sunday, Gaetz appealed for help after Hurricane Ian battered Florida. Ian was a Category 4 storm when it made landfall and pummeled the Florida coast, killing at least 76 people.
"Dear Congress: On behalf of my fellow Florida Man in grave need of assistance…. Just send us like half of what you sent Ukraine. Signed, Your Fellow Americans," Gaetz wrote on Twitter.
Gaetz's appeal for funding came two days after he — and 200 other Republicans — voted against a stopgap measure that sought to fund the government through December. Among other provisions, the bill also gave $18.8 billion to FEMA's disaster relief fund, $12 billion in aid for Ukraine, and $112 million to beef up security at federal courts.
Speaking on the House floor in support of the bill last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that passing the bill would free up disaster recovery funding that would "go toward supporting Florida as well as Puerto Rico, Alaska and other communities hit by disaster."
In the roll-call vote on Friday, 10 Republicans joined 220 Democrats in voting for the bill. It was signed into law by President Joe Biden on September 30.
In a video posted to his Twitter page on October 1, Gaetz said he voted against the bill because it had other spending priorities tagged to it as well.
"This was a piece of legislation regarding insulin prices. And they attached the entire funding of our government and Ukraine's to that bill so that these programs and these policy choices would not be subjected to committee review, and to hearings, and to markups and amendments," Gaetz said in the video.