Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013by Former Representative Rush Holt
Posted on 2013-01-14
HOLT. Madam Speaker, I thank my friend from the District, and I
commend the work of my colleagues on this bill. It has some good
features and should help smooth the way for recovery from Hurricane
The delay in getting this bill and, more importantly, the delay in getting the supplemental appropriations bill for Hurricane Sandy to the floor has only compounded problems for Sandy's victims in New Jersey and elsewhere. And I wish that this bill had included language removing a real impediment faced by our towns.
I'm told that the appropriators, in the legislation coming to the floor tomorrow, are showing unusual respect for House rules and won't use their supplemental appropriations bill to change legislation but only to appropriate funds, so that the standard 65/35 Army Corps of Engineers formula will [[Page H70]] not be changed. In other words, towns must put up 35 percent of the project cost for the Corps of Engineers to make the repairs that they would make. The construction costs are high. Many towns in my State will not be able to come up with the 35 percent cost share match for a multimillion dollar construction project. But the appropriators aren't authorizers, they say. Well, what we have before us now is coming from the authorizing committee. They could have fixed this, and I wish this bill had been brought up in such a way that we could fix this match, as the President had asked in his request for the emergency funds.
This bill should streamline the process, but we should have a 90/10 match so that these towns that are strapped for funds because of the damage of Hurricane Sandy and because they've exceeded their borrowing limits would be able to come up with a smaller amount of money so that the construction by the Corps of Engineers could get underway.
I'm happy to see this streamlined process that will get aid to individuals and municipalities in the wake of future storms like Hurricane Sandy. I wish that we could have used this opportunity to fix the 65/35 match and make it a 90/10 match, as the President had requested. That certainly would have helped the towns in New Jersey and Connecticut and New York.
I thank the gentlelady for yielding me the time.