Lowey Floor Statement on Bipartisan Disaster Relief Legislation
WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY-17) today delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of $19.1 billion bicameral, bipartisan disaster relief legislation:
Today we are rejecting the political stunts and grandstanding that have made it difficult to deliver much-needed disaster relief to families and communities across America.
It’s been nine months since Hurricane Florence struck the Southeast, just one of the many natural disasters – including other hurricanes, Pacific typhoons, and Western wildfires – that impacted our fellow Americans last year.
In that time, the House has already passed two strong packages of relief and recovery assistance; bills to help the people of Puerto Rico recover from one of the deadliest and costliest storms in American history; and to meet urgent needs following Midwest floods and Southern tornadoes.
Those bills were held up because some in our government refused to assist our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico who are still recovering from a 2017 hurricane. I’m pleased we’ve moved past that. Because when disaster strikes, we shouldn’t let a zip code dictate our response. And Americans across the country have been waiting far too long for the relief and recovery assistance they deserve.
That’s why so many of us were deeply disappointed last week when this bipartisan, bicameral disaster relief bill was blocked three times by House Republicans – even though it has the support of the President, Senate Republicans, and Congressional Democrats and has passed in the Senate.
While it has taken far too long, this bill delivers much-needed assistance to American communities struck by recent natural disasters. It includes a broad array of measures – totaling $19.1 billion – to meet urgent needs:
- Assistance for farmers and rural communities who have been devastated by crop losses brought on by storms;
- Funding for infrastructure repairs that will create jobs and revitalize broken communities;
- Approximately $1.4 billion for Puerto Rico, including $600 million in nutrition assistance;
- Funding to stabilize health care systems in disaster-stricken Pacific territories; and
- Repairs and reconstruction at damaged federal facilities, including military bases that are critical for national security.
This bill represents bipartisan compromise that will strengthen communities and make lives better. I look forward to its enactment.