Top Florida leaders call on Washington D.C. to pass relief bill

BAY COUNTY. Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Several state leaders gathered Thursday afternoon to make an unprecedented plea for help.

Florida CFO, Jimmy Patronis, said, "I sent a letter today to Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy and Leader Schumer demanding that they set aside politics just as we have today and step up for our victims of hurricane Michael."

The press conference at times got emotional as Patronis fought back tears saying, "I come forward to you today as not only your state's Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal but as a life long resident of Panama City."

One by one each stepping up to the lectern. An underlying theme wove through their speeches.

"It is unacceptable, morally wrong, and just flat out almost corrupt the fact that we can't get Washington to do their job," said Senator Bill Montford.

It was a plea for Washington to set aside their partisanship and pass a federal supplemental disaster relief bill.

Julie Sombathy is with the non-profit Michael's Angels hoping to spread awareness about the issue. She said it is so important to pass a supplemental federal disaster relief bill passed because, "There's some municipalities that their debris clean up bill is larger than their annual budget."

Just for unincorporated Bay County, that means it would have to foot an $84 million bill without federal supplemental disaster relief money.

Sombathy said, "The counties and municipalities that were affected by Hurricane Michael will be short in their budgets significantly and some of them will not make it to the end of the year."

"Washington right now is in total gridlock and this is why I'm so just really touched and supported that we've got such bipartisan support here," said Patronis. "This begs the question--if both parties can work together in Tallahassee... why not in Washington D.C.?

Patronis added, "It's not a red thing, its not a blue thing. It's a Florida thing."