By DONLYN TURNBULL
With Andrea, the first tropical storm of the Hurricane season, dumping massive amounts of rain and wreaking havoc in Florida and across the northeast, forecasters predict a long and active season that won’t end officially until November 30th. And when early preparation becomes the key to saving lives and protecting our state, why would one of our Senators not make every attempt imaginable to aid in that preparation?
Gov. Rick Scott sent a letter last week to the Florida Senate delegation, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson requesting funding for the National Guard be restored after it was removed due to sequestration. Yet, Bill Nelson’s response came as a bit of a shock. Sen. Nelson flippantly replied the sequestration is already too far along for anything to be done, quickly putting his party before the safety of his Florida constituents.
Lenny Curry, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, revealed the hypocrisy of Nelson.
“How can Senator Nelson claim that sequester-related cuts to the National Guard can’t be fixed, when just one month ago he supported fixing sequester-related cuts to the FAA that would have caused major flight delays,” questioned Curry. “With hurricane season beginning, Gov. Scott and our GOP legislative leaders have urged the Obama administration to end unnecessary furloughs on the National Guard and make spending reductions in areas that do not affect emergency response readiness. Senator Marco Rubio should be applauded for his leadership on federal spending, correctly pointing out that sequester cuts should not be held has a hostage for tax increases that President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress want,” Curry stated.
“As Florida’s U.S. Senators and protectors of state and national defense functions, I respectfully request that you act on this matter immediately by calling on the Office of Management and Budget and the US Department of Defense to restore funding cut from the National Guard,” Gov. Scott wrote in his letter to the Senators. “And remove this imminent threat to Florida’s emergency response functions during hurricane season. The National Guard previously offered to produce savings through reductions in other areas that do not affect personnel and readiness.”
In May, Senator Nelson signed a letter along with 41 other Senators, including Marco , requesting the FAA remain fully funded instead of being furloughed by the sequestration. If he felt that strongly that public safety and matters of convenience were imperative concerning FAA furloughs, why does he show no sense of urgency or agreement to help fully fund the National Guard to protect innocent lives?
Florida Today reports, “Nelson said sequestration is already too far along in fiscal 2013, which ends Sept 30. Instead, he urged Scott to appeal to fiscal conservatives in Congress — including those affiliated with the tea party — to back off the cuts in the fiscal 2014 budget now being debated.”
It’s insulting Nelson would use the excuse that the sequestration is “too far along” when only a month ago he deemed it prudent to end the FAA furloughs. Senator Nelson needs to stop making excuses and work on his priorities.