Following Hurricane Irma, Curbelo Urges Constituents to File Disaster Relief Claims and Pushes Long-Term FEMA Funding, Tax Relief for Those Impacted

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Miami, Florida, September 12, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) has been focused on the immediate needs of his constituents in the Florida Keys and South Miami-Dade County.

Following the President’s Major Disaster Declaration, Curbelo encouraged individuals and businesses in both Monroe and Miami-Dade County to check their eligibility for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Small Business Administration (SBA). In order to assist his constituents attempting to file claims, Curbelo’s office has outlined the claims process and all available resources on his website here. Constituents will also be guided to the page from a pop-up on his homepage at curbelo.house.gov.

Yesterday, Curbelo joined Governor Rick Scott to update the media on the state and federal response to Hurricane Irma. Curbelo called on his colleagues to focus on long-term, robust funding of FEMA instead of the short-term spending bills that have become an unacceptable norm. Immediately after, Curbelo joined the U.S. Coast Guard to assess the property damage in the Florida Keys by air and on the ground at military installations in Key West.

Curbelo spoke about the tour with CNN New Day this morning and shared he was working with Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (TX-8) on a tax relief package for those impacted by storms like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Curbelo is the only South Florida Member on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Curbelo then spent part of the afternoon at the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations Center to coordinate federal relief efforts and later joined Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez at a press conference where Curbelo explained the process of filing a disaster relief claim in both English and Spanish and shared details about the situation in Monroe County.  

Partial transcripts of Curbelo’s remarks with Governor Scott and the interview with CNN New Day are available below.

Curbelo Urges Colleagues to Pass Long-Term, Robust Funding of FEMA
Opa Locka, Florida
September 11, 2017
https://youtu.be/i2vvk9JpI4I

Representative Carlos Curbelo: “We keep getting this question about how much is this is going to cost. We don’t have an exact estimate, but I can tell you this: This is going to cost billions, upon billions, upon billions of dollars to help the Florida Keys, Florida’s Southwest coast, and obviously some of our residents here in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to recover.

“Administrator Long, who again is doing a wonderful job, just told me a few minutes ago that they have enough funding to get them through September. What I would tell all of my colleagues, and I know Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen joins me in this, is that we cannot fund an agency like FEMA month-to-month. FEMA needs solid, long-term funding so that they can effectively respond to this crisis, to the crisis in Texas, and to future crises that we can expect given that we’re still in the middle of hurricane season.

“So, one of my big goals – and I will let Speaker Ryan know when I talk to him later today – one of my big goals is by the end of the year to have a robust funding package for FEMA so that they don’t have to operate with this uncertainty and so that they can help our residents get off the ground.”

Curbelo Discusses Possible Tax Relief Package for Those Impacted by Hurricanes with CNN New Day
CNN “New Day”
Miami, Florida
September 12, 2017
https://youtu.be/X1jaWSnCT3w

Representative Carlos Curbelo: “The true tragedy here is going to be the financial toll that this is going to take on so many people who work in the Florida Keys. A lot them live paycheck-to-paycheck, people who own small businesses. Just today, Judith Silva of King Seafood in Marathon, one of my favorite stops, asked me, ‘Please, when can we get back? We need to rebuild our lives. We’re afraid we’re going to lose everything.’

“Well, the truth is that local law enforcement is in no position right now to guarantee the safety or security of anyone in the Lower or Middle Keys. That’s why they are only opening up to Mile Marker 73. So, to those people who are worried and frustrated, I understand, but right now the best thing that you can do is remain calm and be patient because going down or attempting to go down to the Lower or Middle Keys is simply not safe.”

Curbelo: “We were able to see a lot of evidence of storm surge damage and of boats on land, so that middle area of the Keys – from Marathon to Cudjoe – is going to need a lot of help to rebuild. They don’t only have to rebuild financially, they actually have to rebuild a lot of physical structures which, as you have displayed this morning Chris, has suffered quite a bit of damage.

“I already spoke to Kevin Brady, he’s the Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, this morning and he has committed to allowing me to work on a tax relief package for South Florida and other parts of the country that have been impacted by storms, like the Houston area. But that is going to be very important to helping these people rebuild their lives and re-energizing and revitalizing the Florida Keys.” 

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