Chairman Hal Rogers Statement For Rules Committee on H.R. 152, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013
Good afternoon, Chairman Sessions, Ranking Member Slaughter and members of the Committee. I am here before you today to present legislation providing urgently needed funding for Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery.
I am sure I don’t need to explain to you why it is crucial we consider and pass this legislation, given the size and scope of the devastation caused by this storm. It’s clear that recovery from this terrible hurricane is going to take months and years, not days and weeks, and thousands of victims are currently awaiting much-needed assistance.
To that end, this legislation will provide $17 billion in immediate relief funding to support the Disaster Relief Fund, transit and housing recovery, Army Corps of Engineers projects, and other emergency needs.
Of note, this legislation does not include approximately $9.7 billion in funding for the national flood insurance program, which the House and Senate already approved.
Mr. Chairman, we crafted this legislation responsibly, giving the Administration’s request and the Senate-passed bill a hard scrub to eliminate unnecessary spending. We’ve adjusted funding levels to make the best use of taxpayer dollars. We have also removed objectionable provisions added by the Senate, including: no authorization language; no earmarks – The Senate had included multiple provisions directing funds to specific projects; and we kept the money specific to the immediate Sandy disaster needs at hand.
This funding addresses the most pressing needs in the affected region, while making careful decisions to guarantee that we are getting the most out of each and every dollar spent on recovery. We’ve included important oversight measures and reporting requirements to prevent abuse, ensuring federal agencies are using these funds responsibly and effectively.
I am requesting an appropriate rule for this legislation to ensure swift passage. Hurricane Sandy has brought much of the Northeast region to its knees, and, as it has been in the past, it is once again our duty to help our people and their communities get back on their feet in a timely fashion.
Our Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen is offering a separate amendment to this bill, providing an additional $33 billion for disaster relief to support funding for longer-term recovery efforts and infrastructure improvements, which he will present.