WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- This week, Hurricane Michael victims may be one step closer to seeing more federal disaster relief. Florida Senator Marco Rubio tells Washington Correspondent Alana Austin he thinks a deal could finally pass out of Congress before Memorial Day Weekend.
This Congressional action would come eight months after that devastating Category Five storm took a heavy toll on our region.
“We’re as close as we’ve been the whole time getting there. I think we have really a good deal in place," said Rubio.
He expects the bill would include aid for victims in the Florida Panhandle, along with many other states impacted by devastating storms and wildfires over the past several months.
Rubio says some finer details still need to be worked out this week, but he thinks the White House, Democratic leadership, and Republicans have finally reached a tentative agreement on the bigger sticking point to date: handling further support for Puerto Rico disaster victims.
Rubio is focused on making sure Hurricane Michael storm victims, concentrated heavily in northwest Florida, receive the help they need.
“They’re urgent because a lot of people can’t plan their future until they know what’s going to happen. Tyndall Air Force base is an example. I mean, it needs to be rebuilt. It’s important for the region but it’s also important for the country. And these cities and counties that have spent money on the promise of federal reimbursement - that money needs to be approved," said Rubio.
Rubio also recently sent a recent letter to FEMA to voice concerns about debris removal projects for private property not getting approval.
“The debris review issue is critical – not just as a public health hazard but it could be a wildfire hazard, and by the way, hurricane season’s around the corner. So nothing is to say we couldn’t be impacted again here in the next few weeks - God forbid,” said Rubio.
Rubio says the finer details of this disaster bill are expected to be worked out in the coming hours. He says the White House, Democrats and Republicans have to iron out some differences over other elements of the bill, involving the border and humanitarian aid from the migrant crisis.
Votes could happen in the House and Senate as early as this week.