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Chairman Frelinghuysen Floor Statement on Hurricane Harvey Aid

Washington, September 6, 2017 House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen made the following statement before the U.S. House of Representatives today in support of H. Res. 502, a bill making supplemental appropriations to provide for Hurricane Harvey response and recovery:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present H. Res. 502, a bill making emergency appropriations to allow the federal government to continue the vital response and recovery efforts that are helping the hundreds of thousands of victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Our thoughts go out to all of the people of Texas and Louisiana who are coping with the aftermath of the storm and its catastrophic flooding.

As one of the nation’s greatest natural disasters continues to unfold before our eyes, this Congress must ensure that our federal government is able to meet the short- and long-term needs of disaster victims.

I believe that every type of resource ought to be utilized to support rescue, relief, and recovery efforts. I want to reassure the people of Texas and Louisiana that we are there for them in their time of greatest need.

The House Appropriations Committee has already approved a $1 billion reprogramming request for FEMA last week, which has allowed the agency to continue to meet the most immediate needs in the region.

It has become clear that, in the face of a disaster of this magnitude, more is needed to assist states and local communities as they recover and rebuild.

Last Friday, we received the Administration’s initial request for supplemental funding for Hurricane Harvey response. We are grateful for the speed of this request, and, recognizing the urgency of the situation, we have brought this bill to the floor today to ensure that critical initial recovery efforts can continue in the affected states.

This bill contains a total of $7.4 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, which will allow FEMA to continue its efforts related to Harvey as well as any additional disasters that may strike. The bill also includes $450 million to support the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program that will help small businesses and homeowners come back from this disaster.

Working closely with the Texas members of the Committee and the entire Texas and Louisiana delegation, the Appropriations Committee completed its due diligence to guarantee that this funding will make best use of taxpayer dollars as the federal government fulfills its important duty in recovery efforts. We are ready and willing to take all steps necessary to ensure that FEMA will be able to continue its response efforts should the need for additional funds arise.

I want to thank all our federal agencies, first responders, including New Jersey Task Force One, and the thousands of volunteers who immediately responded, from near and far, and who have been working tirelessly to help the hundreds of thousands of people affected by this storm and save countless lives.

They have fed and housed the displaced, met critical medical needs, provided transportation, and most importantly, gave faith to those who lost everything. These American heroes are showing the best side of our nation, and we are grateful for their service.

I urge my colleagues to support this critical bill that will help our fellow Americans recover and rebuild in the aftermath of this storm.

Thank you, and I reserve the balance of my time.



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