Bill Nelson Seeks Help for Fla. Farmers Hit by Hurricanes

In an effort to help Florida’s agricultural industry recover from Hurricane Irma, Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson filed an amendment Monday that would provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture an additional $3 billion in disaster assistance to help farmers who lost crops during the Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria.

Shortly after filing the measure, Nelson took to the Senate floor and asked his colleagues for "unanimous consent" to include the measure in the current disaster-relief package being considered.

Under Senate rules, a request for "unanimous consent," or passage without a vote, is agreed to, unless one senator objects. 

In this case, Sen. Mitch McConnell objected to Nelson’s request.

Shortly after McConnell objected, Nelson took to the Senate floor, declaring "farmers are the lifeblood of this country and an important part of Florida’s economy and right now they desperately need our help." 

Nelson added that the president had even told some of their colleagues that he would support adding this additional agriculture money in a later supplemental, next month.

"To my colleagues who have farmers and ranchers in their own states," Nelson added, "You know as well as we do that these families and businesses can't wait any longer. They need our help and need it now."

Florida's agricultural industry reportedly sustained more than $2.5 billion in damage during Hurricane Irma, including more than $760 million in losses to Florida’s citrus industry alone.

Nelson said he has placed a hold on Trump’s nominee to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget to ensure the White House keeps its word about adding additional money to a future supplemental. 

Nelson said he doesn't intend to lift that hold until the White House fulfills its promise to Florida’s farmers.

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