Rick Scott: Obama admin’s rejection of emergency funds ‘unthinkable’

June 21, 2016 GMT

Gov. Rick Scott said the Obama administration’s refusal to declare an emergency in Florida after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history is “disappointing” and “unthinkable.”

The formal declaration of emergency would have granted $5 million in federal funding that Mr. Scott said would be used for emergency response, law enforcement and health and safety measures in Orlando, following a terrorist attack that claimed 49 lives at a gay nightclub.

W. Craig Fugate, administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said in a letter to Mr. Scott that his request failed to demonstrate how the emergency response associated with the attack was beyond the capability of state and local governments.

The governor said he was disappointed with the decision.

“It is incredibly disappointing that the Obama Administration denied our request for an Emergency Declaration,” Mr. Scott said in a statement. “Last week, a terrorist killed 49 people, and wounded many others, which was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. It is unthinkable that President Obama does not define this as an emergency. We are committing every state resource possible to help the victims and the community heal and we expect the same from the federal government.”

It’s not clear if Mr. Scott will appeal the denial or seek funding from another federal agency, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

Despite the denial, the federal government will allocate $253,000 to pay for overtime for the first responders who assisted during the June 12 attack, Mr. Scott’s office said.