Homeland Security Chairman Carter Statement on H.J. Res. 85, the National Emergency and Disaster Recovery Act

Oct 9, 2013

House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman John Carter spoke on the House floor today in support of H.J. Res. 85, the National Emergency and Disaster Recovery Act.

His statement follows:

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

"Mr. Chairman, I rise to present the House with a bill to fully sustain funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, commonly known as, “FEMA”. 

"Right now, at this very moment, dedicated men and women at FEMA are preparing for the possible landfall of Tropical Storm Karen along our Gulf Coast, but they are not being paid.

"Right, now, at this very moment, FEMA has begun to recall furloughed employees in Atlanta, Georgia and Denton, Texas as the agency prepares for a potentially significant natural disaster.

"According to the National Weather Service, a hurricane watch is currently in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana eastward to Indian Pass, Florida. 

"And, a tropical storm watch is currently in effect from west of Grand Isle to east of Morgan City, Louisiana, and New Orleans.

"Mr. Chairman, this is a major storm that we must take seriously.

"So, this bill before us provides for continuing appropriations to ensure FEMA can fully render assistance to impacted States and fully support our citizens and brave first responders. 

"Mr. Chairman, I want to remind my friends on the other side of the aisle that the government is, sadly, shut down.  We have repeatedly offered versions of a continuing resolution to sustain the government’s operations… to no avail.

"Furthermore, we have offered to negotiate, to convene a conference, and to work out the differences in a professional and orderly manner, but such offers have been refused out of hand.

"So, Mr. Chairman, this bill is yet another offer to the other side of the aisle to at least fund vital components of the government. 

"We have a duty to ensure our Nation is adequately prepared for disasters and our States are fully supported when they require federal assistance.…and this bill does so without increasing the rate of spending and in a manner entirely consistent with the text of the non-controversial H.J. Res 59.

"In short, this bill before us today is about getting our priorities right. 

"It is my hope that passage of this bill will not only support our Nation’s emergency preparedness, but also lead to a re-opening of the entire Federal government.

"In closing, I urge my friends on the other side of the aisle to lower their partisan blinders, come to the table, and work out the current impasse so that we can get on with the business of fixing our Nation’s budgetary mess.

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I reserve the balance of my time."