1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

The two Florida Republicans who voted against Hurricane Michael disaster aid explain why.

Reps. Greg Steube and Francis Rooney said they were concerned with the cost of the $19.1 billion aid package.
Boats lay sunk and damaged at the Port St. Joe Marina in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday (10/10/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times Boats lay sunk and damaged at the Port St. Joe Marina in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday (10/10/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Jun. 4, 2019
Updated Oct. 9, 2019

Two hundred and thirty-seven days after Hurricane Michael breached the Florida Panhandle, Congress finally passed a disaster aid package that will bring much-needed relief to victims of the storm.

The House of Representatives on Monday overwhelmingly approved a $19.1 billion disaster supplement that will bring aid to Floridians and other communities rocked by catastrophes of the past year, such as the California wildfires, other storms that hit the Carolinas, wildfires in California, and recent flooding in the Midwest. It also includes some additional aid for Puerto Rico, despite President Donald Trump’s loud criticism of the island territory and attempts to block more federal help.

The bill already passed the Senate and heads to the president after Monday’s 354 to 58 vote. Trump indicated he will sign it.

Of the 58 Republicans who voted against the measure, two hailed from Florida: Reps. Francis Rooney of Naples and Greg Steube of Sarasota. Every other member of the state’s delegation voted for it (except Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, who was absent).

“If I was in their district, I’d vote them out," Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, a Republican, said after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, according to WFSU. “Those individuals that don’t realize the harm and suffering that’s happening in Northwest Florida, and the recovery that we’re trying to endure right now. For them to put themselves over the better good of the recovery of the other citizens of the United States is shameful.”

READ MORE: 911 calls from Hurricane Michael paint horrifying picture of what it’s like to not evacuate

Trump to rally in the storm-battered Florida Panhandle, where residents still await help from Washington

Hurricane Michael: What if it had hit Tampa Bay?

The Tampa Bay Times asked why these lawmakers voted against the bill, despite Trump’s support. Both indicated they were bothered by the fiscal impacts of the legislation. Here’s what they said.


“It has become all too common for Congress to use disaster funding to break through spending caps that are in place. There are legitimate needs for funding to assist with recovery from horrific natural disasters that affected Florida and other states around the country, however I could not support a bill that is completely fiscally irresponsible.”


“While I’m glad the panhandle received the funding it desperately needed, I could not in good conscience vote for the Supplemental Appropriation which was filled with outrageous spending and no plan to pay for it. I ran for Congress refusing to add to the national debt, and this bill had a high price tag with no offset."

Here’s what other Florida members of Congress said after the passage of the bill.

More hurricane coverage: Tampa Bay Times hurricane guide

Complete reporting from Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael


  1. For Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is endorsing Michael Bloomberg in the Democratic primary for president.
  2. Russell Weigel. (Courtesy of Russell Weigel)
  3. Fans watch from the grandstands as Air Force One, carrying President Donald Trump, prepares to land at Daytona International Airport before the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday in Daytona Beach.
  4. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate on Feb. 7 hosted by ABC News, Apple News, and WMUR-TV at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.
  5. Nathan Myers, left, embraces his uncle, Clifford Williams, during a news conference after their 1976 murder convictions were overturned March 28, 2019, in Jacksonville. The order to vacate the convictions originated from the first ever conviction integrity review unit set up by State Attorney Melissa Nelson.
  6. Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., on Feb. 13, 2020.
  7. President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, waves as he steps off Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  8. In this Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004, file photo, Tiffany Carr, executive director of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, left, speaks at a news conference held by Gov. Jeb Bush, background right, to announce a public awareness campaign designed to prevent disaster-related domestic violence, in Tallahassee, Fla. On Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered an investigation into a nonprofit domestic abuse agency whose CEO, Carr, had received $7.5 million in compensation over a three-year span.
  9. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times The Florida Legislature opens its annual 60-day session Tuesday.
  10. A voting technician sorts ballots at the Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections facility in Riviera Beach, Fla., Nov. 10, 2018. Florida’s 67 counties submitted their midterm vote tallies to state elections authorities on Saturday, setting the stage for a recount of three statewide races as the contests for Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner came in too close to call. (Scott McIntyre/The New York Times) XNYT
  11. The Florida Capitol. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  12. Tiffany Carr, the former head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.