Two Florida Lawmakers Just Voted Against Hurricane Relief As Irma Strikes Their State

Two Florida Republican lawmakers voted against a $15 billion hurricane relief bill just as Irma churned toward the state. Congressmen Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Ted Yoho (R-FL) claim they have concerns about other provisions of the measure. Irma is now a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph but forecasters expect the storm to strengthen. Presently, the Florida Keys is facing a potentially catastrophic force that could threaten to drown entire islands.

But, it’s obviously more important for Gaetz and Yoho to exercise their conservative bonafides.

The relief package sailed through the Senate and the House and was signed by Donald Trump on Friday. The package boosts funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a necessary move at this time following the destruction left by Hurricane Harvey and much more expected after Florida feels Irma’s force and fury. Also, FEMA is running out of money so the funds are needed.

The package will also raise the debt ceiling for three months and includes a short-term budget that would keep the government running until December. The deal struck between Trump and Democratic leaders Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) sent Republicans into a panic while disregarding that lives are at stake after the deadly storm obliterated Houston, Texas.

The Washington Post reports:

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That latter was a problem for GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Ted Yoho, who stuck to their principles of fiscal conservatism despite calls from fellow Florida lawmakers to support the bill. The two, who are among the 90 House Republicans who voted against the bill, do not represent parts of the state that are likely to feel Irma’s immediate impact as the massive storm makes landfall on mainland United States this weekend.

“Snaking in a debt-ceiling increase with funding for victims and communities affected is immoral and reflective of broken leadership in Washington,” Yoho said after the vote Friday. “I do not think it wise to extend our borrowing limit without mandatory spending reforms . . . If this was a clean measure that focused on those affected by Hurricane Harvey, I would have proudly voted for it.”

Gaetz, whose district includes coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico, said the debt limit should be raised only if it includes cuts in entitlement programs, which is really heartless since many victims of the Hurricanes will need a hand up after losing everything they owned in the world.

“I have a pretty strident view that I will only vote to raise the debt limit if that vote is accompanied by reductions in entitlement spending,” Gaetz said. “If conservatives don’t start voting no against debt-limit increases, all the FEMA in the world won’t save us from our most unfortunate destiny.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was against federal aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy, then a natural disaster struck his state with deadly force. Suddenly, he’s cool with aid being provided to his state. Funny how that works. But the other two Republicans just don’t want to help anyone, even their own constituents.


Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.