December 21, 2017
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of H.R 4667, a bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for hurricane and wildfire recovery:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present H.R. 4667, a bill making emergency appropriations for hurricane and wildfire recovery.
Parts of our nation have been devastated by multiple, back-to-back hurricanes and wildfires that have caused tremendous loss of life, livelihoods, and property.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria are three of the top five most expensive hurricanes in the last 25 years. Combined with the horrific wildfires that continue to rage in California, the toll that these disasters have taken is unprecedented. We must stand by our fellow Americans and get them the help and resources they need to recover.
To this end, this legislation provides a total of $81 billion for crucial federal programs that support ongoing relief, recovery, and rebuilding.
This includes $27.5 billion for FEMA to provide relief and recovery assistance; $26.1 billion for Community Development Block Grants for shelter and housing, and the means to help large and small businesses recover; and $12.1 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to repair and rebuild critical infrastructure projects that help protect against future disasters.
The bill also includes $3.8 billion for the Department of Agriculture, which will support critical agriculture disaster assistance for related crop and livestock loss.
Funding is also included to repair federal highways and local transit systems, to help children displaced by the storms in Puerto Rico get back to school, and for Small Business disaster loans that will allow businesses reopen their doors as quickly as possible.
Our Committee will continue to monitor recovery efforts – to ensure accountability, transparency, and that every dollar is spent wisely.
From Florida and Texas, to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to California – and all areas dealing with major disaster declarations – this Congress is committed to helping you!
Congress has already provided $51.75 billion in two separate supplemental bills for these ongoing efforts. With this third tranche of emergency funding, we will bring total funding for fiscal year 2018 emergency response to $132 billion. This funding is desperately needed by thousands of American families, individuals, and communities – to rebuild their homes and businesses, restore power and critical infrastructure, and protect against further damage. It is the duty of Congress to provide this help to our fellow Americans in their times of greatest need.
Mr. Speaker, before I close, I’d like to thank everyone who came to me and the Appropriations Committee to make sure that Congress is getting their people the help they urgently need. I’d also like to thank the clerks and professional staff of the Appropriations Committee, as well as the 12 subcommittee chairs, for working tirelessly to bring this bill to the floor today.
It is time we get this emergency aid to those who need it. I urge my colleagues to support this vital legislation.
Thank you. I reserve my time.
Read a summary of the bill here.