WASHINGTON — In recent years, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has grown a national audience for his fiery brand of politics and has been listed as a presidential hopeful for 2024. He's also become a divisive political figure, who has received no shortage of criticism from progressives nationwide.
With Hurricane Ian hitting his home state, some on social media are levying new criticisms against the Republican governor, for his past voting record, when it comes to hurricane funding.
Some on social media are claiming that DeSantis, who first took office as a Congressman in 2013, did not support federal aid, following Hurricane Sandy. A post by Tristan Snell, a media contributor, has garnered nearly 74,000 likes and has been shared thousands of times.
Did then-Congressman Ron DeSantis vote against aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2013?
- Ron DeSantis Facebook Post, January 5, 2013
- H.R. 41, "To temporarily increase the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program"
- Roll Call, H.R. 41
- H.R. 152, "Making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, to improve and streamline disaster assistance for Hurricane Sandy, and for other purposes"
- Roll Call, H.R. 152
- Florida Times-Union, June 17, 2013 Report
Yes. Arguing that proposed packages would be fiscally irresponsible, then-Rep. Ron DeSantis voted against multiple bills in 2013, which provided aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
WHAT WE KNOW:
In the Election of 2012, Ron DeSantis was first elected to Congress, representing Florida. On January 3, 2013, he was sworn into office. Just one day later, he was on the floor voting on a major piece of legislation, relating to Hurricane Sandy.
On January 4, 2013, DeSantis voted against H.R. 41, a bill to "temporarily increase the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program."
This bill was passed in a bipartisan fashion with a final vote count of 354 to 67. DeSantis indicated that he voted against the bill because it was fiscally irresponsible.
On January 5, 2013, DeSantis posted the following message on his Facebook.
“I sympathize with the victims of Hurricane Sandy and believe that those who purchased flood insurance should have their claims paid. At the same time, allowing the program to increase its debt by another $9.7 billion with no plan to offset the spending with cuts elsewhere is not fiscally responsible.”
The complete roll call can be found here.
This wasn't the only Sandy-related bill that DeSantis voted against in Jan. 2013. On Jan. 15, 2013, he also voted against H.R. 152, which added "supplemental appropriations" to the year's budget to "improve and streamline disaster assistance for Hurricane Sandy."
The vote passed the House by a vote of 241 to 180. DeSantis joined many Republicans who voted against this bill. The complete roll call for this vote can be found here.
DeSantis did support H.R. 219, titled the "Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013", which passed through a unanimous House vote on January 14.
This bill streamlined FEMA's process for giving out money, but did not actually provide funding. On January 15, 2013, H.R. 219 was included in H.R. 152, which DeSantis voted against.
In a June 2013 interview with the Florida Times-Union, DeSantis offered the following statement, when asked whether he would accept disaster relief in his own district:
"If a hurricane came here, I would want any relief plan to be fiscally responsible,” he said.
In response to our questioning about DeSantis' 2013 voting record, our team received the following response from a spokesperson for the governor:
"Thanks for the well wishes, but give it a rest with amplifying all the critics. We are completely focused on hurricane response. As the governor said earlier, we have no time for politics or pettiness."