Hurricane Sandy Reliefby Representative Rosa L. DeLauro
Posted on 2013-01-02
DeLAURO. Writing at the time of Katrina, Harvard Professor
Michael Ignatieff called the Constitution ``a contract of citizenship''
that promises, first and foremost, protection. That government will
help ``citizens to protect their families and possessions from forces
beyond their control.''
In America, a citizen has a claim of right on the resources
of his or her government when they simply cannot help
When disasters strike, they test whether the contract is respected in a citizen's hour of need. When the levees broke, the contract of American citizenship failed. Mr. Speaker, the levees broke. They broke in Connecticut, in New York, and New Jersey. Government is about helping families recover and rebuild from major disasters like Superstorm Sandy.
In a shocking display of neglect, this House majority decided not to allow a vote on disaster aid funds so desperately needed to recover and repair from this storm. Hurricane Sandy was one of the most severe storms to hit Connecticut in our State's history. All across our region, families' houses were destroyed and lives were upended.
And whether it has been a fire in the West, a tornado in the Midwest, a hurricane in the gulf coast, or a storm in the Northeast, this body acted. We didn't say no. It was a resounding ``yes'' to help because it is the central responsibility of this institution to act on behalf of the American people.
And yet here we are 2 months since Sandy destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, took 100 lives across this Nation. This House majority said ``no'' on a vote for disaster assistance to help millions of people get back on their feet again. The Republican leadership has broken that contract of citizenship. They have said ``no'' to my constituents in Stratford, in Milford, in New Haven, East Haven, West Haven, Branford, North Branford and Guilford. They said ``no'' to the rest of the towns in Connecticut and in New York and New Jersey. They broke the contract of citizenship. They said: You are on your own.
My friends, our people cannot be on their own. We have a central responsibility to act on behalf of the American people when they are overwhelmed in circumstances that they had no control over. Let us act. Let us act today to restore that faith and confidence in the American government.