October 4, 2013
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers spoke on the House floor today in support of H.J. Res. 85, the National Emergency and Disaster Recovery Act, which provides immediate, short-term funding for critical Federal Emergency Management Agency programs. The bill passed the House on a vote of 247-164.
Chairman Rogers' statement follows:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.J. Res. 85. This bill will help ensure that our government can help prepare for emergency situations. As we well know, you can never be too prepared.
"Over the past year, we’ve seen the damage natural disasters can wreak. From Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast, to the tornadoes in the Midwest, to the raging wildfires out West, no area is immune to Mother Nature’s wrath. Now, with a tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, we are reminded once again that disaster can strike when you least expect it to – or when you can least stand it – though we hope that is not the case with Karen.
"This bill will provide immediate funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, at the current annual funding rate of $10.2 billion. As with the previous 5 short-term funding bills this House has passed, this will last until December 15 – but could end sooner if we can find a way to fund the entire federal government before then.
"And as with the previous 5 short-term funding bills, this language for all intents and purposes mirrors that of my clean CR offered several weeks ago.
"Passing this bill today is important to fulfill our duty to the people of this country – that their government should help communities prepare for disasters and be there in their times of greatest need.
"However, our end goal isn’t to fund each government program bit-by-bit; it is to reopen the whole federal government, as soon as possible. I believe this bill inches us closer to that goal, but there is much more to be done.
"If this bill is approved today, this will be the sixth clean, short-term funding bill we send to the other side of the Capitol. These bills provide more than $300 billion in annual funding so far. That’s one-third of the discretionary budget – one-third of the way toward reopening the entire federal government with clean funding bills. This is what the Senate says they want, so why aren’t they voting on these bills?
"In additional to these clean bills, we’ve also sent over to the Senate 7 other Appropriations bills to fund portions of the federal government.
"This House, since Republicans took over in 2011, has been serious about returning to regular order. However, it takes two to tango, and the Senate has passed ZERO regular Appropriations bills so far this year.
"We must come together – Senate and House, Republican and Democrat – to have a meaningful discussion on how we can fund the federal government – first to reopen its doors, then to fund it as it should be funded – with regular-order, full-year Appropriations bills.
"I urge my colleagues to vote for this bill to continue working toward ending this government shutdown, and to ensure that from today forward, FEMA has the resources it needs to prepare for whatever should come our way.