The Senate is set to vote on a new version of the federal disaster relief bill package on Thursday. A portion of the money would help Hurricane Michael victims and victims from other natural disasters. The latest version of the bill helps Eastern Shipbuilding and includes money for Tyndall Airforce Base.
“We’re as close as we’ve been and I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” Senator Marco Rubio said. He said the finish line is right around the corner.
President Trump said he wouldn’t sign the house’s disaster relief bill last week. It includes $3 million to help Puerto Rico recover.
“I think the Puerto Rico language was the one that was the sticking point. I think we’ve reached the point where the president is ready to sign this compromise we’ve come up with,” the senator said.
First, the senate has to vote and that’s expected to happen Thursday. The proposal also includes funding for Tyndall.
“It’s really important for Tyndall to be able to stand up again and serve the new planes that are coming. We need to start putting the infrastructure for that. It’s important that there be enough of a down payment this year so enough work can happen over the next few months to get that process started,” Rubio said.
A new line in the bill will let Eastern Shipbuilding renegotiate its contract with the U.S. Coast Guard to build up to 25 new off-shore patrol cutters. “The labor costs have gone up and that is something that you never couldn’t have anticipated when this contract was first signed. It’s a very important contract for northwest Florida but also for America. This cutter is critical for the coast guard’s future. They’re doing a great job of building it. It’s creating great jobs in Florida but it’s going to cost a little bit more, not because they’ve done anything wrong, but because the storm has pushed away some of the workforces that we have to attract back,” Rubio said. He also added the cost of living has risen becuase there are less homes available.
After FEMA denied dozens of private property debris removal applications, Rubio is urging the agency to reconsider.