Chairman Rogers Floor Statement in Support of H.R. 152 - Disaster Appropriations Act of 2013
Mr. Speaker, I rise to present legislation providing emergency supplemental funding for Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery.
The base bill totals $17 billion in crucial funding to meet immediate needs for the victims, businesses and communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Since this terrible storm hit, we have come to realize that recovery is going to take months and years – not days and weeks. This legislation puts the region on the path to recovery by providing the aid needed for immediate relief, while also beginning the process of meeting longer-term recovery needs.
A significant portion of this funding will go to the most direct source of relief and recovery funding available to the victims of this storm, the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, which will provide individual and community assistance throughout the affected region. The bill will also support critical housing and infrastructure needs, ensure repairs to damaged veterans medical facilities, and help keep the economy moving by funding necessary transit repairs, small business loans, and recovery aid for businesses of all sizes.
My Committee thoroughly examined the emergency request, listened to the needs of the people and the region, and assessed the most pressing needs to determine the funding levels made in this bill. We crafted this legislation responsibly, giving the Administration’s request and the Senate passed bill a hard scrub to eliminate unnecessary spending. We’ve removed objectionable provisions added by the Senate, and have adjusted funding levels to make the best use of taxpayer dollars.
As we know, we face precarious fiscal times, and it is essential that Congress make responsible decisions to ensure efficient and effective spending. Taking cues from previous efforts, we’ve included important oversight measures in this legislation to prevent abuse and ensure that federal agencies are using these funds effectively and appropriately.
This is not the first major natural disaster to strike our nation, and unfortunately it will not be the last. One of the great attributes of the American people has been our ability and willingness to come together time and time again to help victims of catastrophes recover. We’ve seen the havoc that Sandy has wrought on the residents of the Northeast region, and it is once again our duty to help our people get back on their feet.
I urge my colleagues to support this critical legislation.