September 8, 2017
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen today gave the following statement on the House floor to present the Senate amendment to H.R. 601 that will provide emergency relief for Hurricane Harvey and Irma, continue funding for the federal government, extend the debt limit, and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a Senate amendment to H. R. 601.
As Texas and Louisiana begin the first steps of recovery from Hurricane Harvey, Congress must ensure that funding is readily available to meet the short- and long-term needs of the hundreds of thousands of victims of this terrible storm. And, as we all are seeing unfold before our eyes, the next storms could cause even more terrible devastation.
This legislation is the first step in what will be long and difficult recoveries.
As our fellow Americans pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives, we all must come together to support the victims, volunteers, and first responders on the ground. And Congress must ensure that the federal government provides the help needed to continue this recovery process.
With FEMA resources running low and Hurricane Irma on Florida’s and the South’s door, providing this additional funding is all the more important. As I’ve said before, my Committee is ready and willing to address any additional funding needs that may arise as a result of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or any other major disaster.
In addition to providing this desperately needed emergency aid, this bill also extends funding for the entire federal government until December 8, 2017.
This continuing resolution will ensure that the federal government remains open for business, and that important programs and services are maintained beyond the end of the fiscal year on the 30th of this month
While I don’t believe that a continuing resolution is the best way to fund our government, it is imperative to give us time to go to Conference Committee and complete our 12 full-year appropriations bills with the Senate. It is essential that all of these bills be signed into law and that our nation avoids the uncertainty caused by the threat of a shutdown.
In addition, the bill also contains a clean hike of the federal debt limit and reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program. Both of these items will allow for more certainty and stability as those communities and families suffering from Harvey and Irma begin to rebuild.
I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
Thank you, and I reserve the balance of my time.