Georgia governor pledges not to ‘over-ask’ the feds for Irma aid

Boats along with sections of dock are scattered in the marsh, some sitting on the bottom, after Hurricane Irma on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, at St. Marys on the Georgia coast. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Gov. Nathan Deal pledged that the state won’t “over-ask” the federal government for aid to help pay for recovery efforts from the remnants of Hurricane Irma that slammed into Georgia this week.

In an interview Wednesday on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Political Rewind,” he said he hoped that partisanship takes a “very distant second seat” as federal lawmakers weigh aid packages to the state. But he added that lawmakers won’t find a padded request from Georgia.

“We do not ask for things that we do not need. And I believe that is true for the most of these kinds of emergencies,” he said. “We don’t over-ask. And if you don’t over-ask, people pay a lot more attention when you do ask.”

Deal said it’s still too early to determine a cost estimate for the storm, which forced the governor to declare a state of emergency for all 159 Georgia counties. He said it was the first time a governor has ever had to make such a move.

Irma slammed into Georgia on Monday, killing at least three people and knocking out power to more than 1.2 million people. Downed trees and flooding cut off scores of roads around the state and left parts of the coast swamped by seawater.

Federal lawmakers last week approved an initial $15 billion aid package to help fund the recovery after Hurricane Harvey, which swamped vast parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana. Congress is likely to soon debate additional installments for Irma.

Earlier on Wednesday, the governor transferred $3 million from his emergency fund to help pay the up-front costs of sending state resources to help Florida with storm recovery.

Read more on this story by clicking here.

And listen to Deal’s full interview here.

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