With Capitol Hill’s budget fight revving back up, Florida’s GOP senators are sounding wary about the idea of a government shutdown that could potentially interrupt their state’s recovery from Hurricane Idalia.
“It will affect every operation, every element of government,” Sen. Marco Rubio told Semafor, when asked if he was worried that a shutdown would hamper the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s efforts in his state. “So I hope we don’t have a shutdown.”
Florida Sen. Rick Scott, a frequent ally of House conservatives who’ve raised the possibility of a shutdown, also sounded sour on the idea. “The government should never be shut down,” he told Semafor. Scott is currently pushing for a Senate vote on disaster aid.
FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell said last week that a government shutdown wouldn’t impact operations providing immediate relief to victims of Maui wildfires or Hurricane Idalia.
About 80% of FEMA’s 22,000-strong workforce would be deemed “essential” and avoid furloughs in the event of a shutdown, according to a 2022 Department of Homeland Security contingency plan.
But the agency would still be hampered by the temporary loss of many career staff, said former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate. Programs that train first-responders in regional offices outside of Washington, D.C. and in hospitals could also be affected.
“Unless they’re in an emergency role at the time, they’re deemed non essential,” Fugate said.
The View From MISSOURI
Scott and Rubio weren’t the only Republicans to play down the idea of flicking off the government’s lights. “I’m not a shutdown guy,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., told reporters.