Dear Gov. Scott:
I appreciate your letter of June 5, echoing the concerns Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr. publicly expressed about sequestration in his opinion column published last month by the National Guard Association of The United States.
I have had my staff examining the Florida National Guard’s risk assessment and requests for relief, as well as the Department of Defense’s consideration of those requests; and, any actions taken by authorities so far to mitigate possible readiness risks during the 2013 hurricane season.
As was reported today by Gannett newspapers in Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio and I both agree nothing can be changed right now with only a few months left in this fiscal year.
Instead, you could be enormously helpful by urging some of the Florida Republican members of Congress to get rid of the sequester by exploring with us more sensible and strategic ways to reduce the budget for the next fiscal year, starting Oct. 1.
Regarding your concern about increased costs to the state, let me share with you what I have received from the legal office of FEMA Director Craig Fugate. If you as Governor activate the National Guard in anticipation of a federal disaster, the state’s costs, including the costs to recall any furloughed Guardsmen, will be fully reimbursable by FEMA.
Specifically: “For the purposes of FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Emergency Work reimbursement, the National Guard must be activated by the Governor to conduct disaster related emergency work. This would include the activation of National Guardsmen who are on furlough (dual status technicians).
“Under a Presidential disaster declaration, FEMA reimburses the State (Grantee), subject to the State cost-share, for costs in excess of those incurred for weekend drills and annual training and other non-disaster related activations.”
Again, thank you for your letter in support of our ongoing efforts to define and explore alternatives.