Scott calls for hurricane relief deal ahead of president's Panhandle visit

After Katrina, it was 10 days. After Andrew, 34. And Sandy? 74. Victims of those hurricanes waited at most a handful of weeks before government funding arrived. 

But northwest Florida has been waiting over six months.

Senator Rick Scott penned a letter to Senate Democrats with Georgia Senator David Perdue, calling for an end to budget negotiations on disaster relief.

“It’s ridiculous that it’s been 208 days now," Sen. Scott said. “It just seems like it’s just a political game.”

While in Tampa this morning for a roundtable discussion on helping senior citizens, the freshman senator took questions on the issue. 

“It doesn’t make any sense," he continued. "If you go back to Andrew, or Katrina or some of these others, it was just days and the federal government did their job. But this is now 208 days. Chuck Schumer complained when it was just 91 days for the disaster relief to get to New York and New Jersey after Sandy.”

The ongoing dispute between the GOP and Democrats is over additional funding for Puerto Rico. Senate Republicans proposed an additional $600-million in nutritional aid, but Democrats wanted more. 

During a recent interview with FOX 13, Senator Marco Rubio says the dispute is holding communities hostage.

“The president believes Puerto Rico has gotten more than enough money and said he won’t sign a bill that gives Puerto Rico more money than $600 million for the food stamp program," Rubio said. "And so the Democrats have decided they’re going to oppose any bill that doesn’t have more funding for Puerto Rico."

Both Scott and Rubio have supported the $600 million in additional funding. Scott says the bill ought to be dealt with like a business deal. 

“You should be an incrementalist," he said. "Do what you can do today. Do what you can do today, and do what you can do the next day.” 

With President Trump heading to Panama City Wednesday – where Michael hit the hardest – Scott hopes it’s a visit that gets the ball rolling. 

“Maybe his going there will be the impetus to finally get the Senate and the House to come to an agreement and get something done," he added.