Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
Posted on 2013-01-14
JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I thank very much the gentlelady from
the District of Columbia for her clarification; and I, frankly, thank
you for having the wisdom in months and years back to have these
corrections and these improvements in FEMA, and I know they welcome it.
I am a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee and served as the ranking member on Transportation Security, but know firsthand, as the committee that shares jurisdiction over FEMA, firsthand, in living color, the catastrophe and tragedy of Hurricane Katrina; both in my visits and almost living in New Orleans, as many of our Members did, and then in welcoming over a quarter of a million-plus of New Orleanians into Houston, Texas, being there inside the Astrodome, and seeing eons and eons and layers of beds of people who are Americans and who were Americans who, one could not call them broken, those survivors, if you will, from Hurricane Katrina were not broken. They were people who had worked and had homes and paid taxes.
And so today, Madam Speaker, those who are survivors of Hurricane Sandy are not broken. They are not the cornerstone of the fault of bureaucracy or misuse. They are, in fact, survivors. They are Americans who need our help.
And I'd like to add to this discussion, certainly. I join and want to comment on one or two of the changes here. In particular, the individual assistance factors, I think, will be very helpful to expedite the declaration process for individuals.
I'm very grateful that one of the changes they made, thank goodness, and this is what happened to our seniors, fixing their homes instead of putting them in FEMA trailers. What a celebration.
How many had to stay in FEMA trailers down in the gulf forever and ever and ever while they watched their homes deteriorate because a few simple repairs could not be made. That is a much-needed step.
But I join my colleague from New Jersey and say, how can people who are broken and who are in need come up with 35 percent? And I hope that this will be one that is reconsidered.
Let me quickly suggest that I am in support of the $5.4 billion for FEMA disaster relief. I'm in support for the $5.4 billion for the Department of Transportation. Anybody who's been on the east coast and seen the transportation corridor and the congestion [[Page H71]] and the synergism between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York realizes that this is crucial.
The $3.9 billion for community block grant, I am told that there are Hurricane Sandy islanders, people on Staten Island, people on Coney Island, who are living in New York downtown hotels. I'm sure in a better day they would enjoy living in high-rise, high-class hotels; but they are people that want to go back to their home, and I'm delighted that we'll have that.
And then I want to support the additional amendment that calls for, the gentleman from New Jersey, $33 billion unfettered dollars that will help additional resources.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.