U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida want to change the U.S. tax code to encourage businesses to donate to Hurricane Dorian relief, co-sponsoring legislation that would temporarily suspend existing limitations on qualified charitable contributions for individuals and corporations.
The Category 5 hurricane killed at least 50 people, and more than 1,000 people remain missing, a U.S. government spokesman said Thursday.
The two Florida senators are co-sponsoring the bill with fellow Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Johnny Isakson of Georgia. Miami Republican Mario Diaz-Balart is sponsoring a companion bill in the U.S. House.
Some 70,000 people in the Bahama’s northern island lost virtually everything in storm, according to CNN.
“The conditions on Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands are shocking and, with tens of thousands of Bahamians now homeless, it is clear the island nation is in urgent need,” Rubio said in a written statement. “I will continue to do everything I can to ensure the Bahamas fully recovers from Hurricane Dorian’s devastation.”
Rubio and Scott have also been calling on President Trump to waive or suspend visa requirements for Bahamian citizens with relatives residing in the United States. Bahamians can come temporarily if they have the right travel documents, but won’t be granted work permits, the Trump administration has said.
The Trump administration also announced this week that it would deny temporary protected status to Bahamians displaced by the storm. That status would allow them to live and work in the United States until it becomes safe for them to return home.