Hurricane Sandy Reliefby Former Representative Jon Runyan
Posted on 2013-01-02
RUNYAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in disbelief that a Hurricane
Sandy disaster relief bill has failed to come to the floor in the
It has been over two months since Super Storm Sandy devastated my home state of New Jersey, and Congress has failed to act. After Hurricane Katrina Congress acted and passed a supplemental spending bill within 10 days.
My district was ground zero for Sandy and suffered horrific damage.
I can personally attest to the devastation as I toured many of the coastal towns in the days after the storm, and I can honestly say that some areas look like they had just been bombed.
Governor Christie, after careful examination, estimates the damage to New Jersey alone to be $36.9 billion.
I fully support the Governor's request. New Jersey will need every last dime in order to rebuild successfully.
My constituents and I are extremely disappointed that in our time of need this Congress has failed to act.
Mrs. McCARTHY of New York. Mr, Speaker, I rise today to express my absolute shock that the House Republican leadership has adjourned the 112th Congress without addressing the needs of the victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Like most Members whose constituents were affected by Sandy, we expected, and were all but assured, that there would be consideration of a supplemental appropriations bill before this House adjourned. It is utterly unacceptable to leave millions of Americans across the most densely populated part of the nation, including my Long Island district, on the hook for the unexpected costs of a natural disaster.
The House Republican leadership had plenty of time to act--let's review the timeline. In November, Governors from affected states acted to give preliminary assessments of the damage caused to their cities and towns. In early December, the President submitted to Speaker Boehner a detailed supplemental package. By the end of December, the Senate passed a bipartisan supplemental providing sixty billion dollars in federal resources to Sandy victims. And yesterday, House Republican leadership chose to give Members an extra day of vacation rather than take up the Senate-passed bill or, at the very least, even attempt to address the needs of millions because of this natural disaster. All the House leadership did was tell storm victims to wait until the next Congress. Excuse me for being cynical, but I don't have much faith that this House leadership can keep its word and deliver for the people in a timely manner. Midnight hour deals on fiscal cliffs, pending dysfunction with the debt ceiling situation in two months--I just don't believe it.
Ladies and gentlemen, this represents an unprecedented action in the Congress. Never before has the United States Congress turned its back on its citizens after a natural disaster. Members of this Congress whose constituents were affected by Sandy have time and time again supported supplemental appropriations bills for other areas of the country affected by natural disaster. We were there with funding after Katrina, and we were there after the floods in the Midwest. Nowwe need to be there for millions in the Northeast. How come when it is our constituents' unfortunate circumstance to be in need of similar funding we are told to wait? It's shameful.
I am pleased that both my Republican and Democratic colleagues have expressed their shock and disappointment in House leadership for not allowing a vote on a Sandy aid package. I will not rest until I can deliver this funding to my constituents on Long Island and to the millions who live throughout the Northeast. The Senate passed a good bill, a bipartisan bill, a bill that includes much needed mitigation funding as well. Nine weeks is already far too long for folks to wait to be helped by our federal government after a disaster of this magnitude. FEMA alone cannot provide all the necessary funding until this House acts. The Small Business Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, other vital federal agencies and our state and local governments NEED the additional resources to help stem the hurt Sandy caused.
I am ashamed of the actions of this House Republican leadership and I remain committed to getting Long Islanders and those across the Northeast the federal assistance they deserve.