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Yvette C.
Democrat NY 9

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  • Temporary Increase in Borrowing Authority for National Flood Insurance Program

    by Representative Yvette D. Clarke

    Posted on 2013-01-04

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    CLARKE. Madam Speaker, I rise today to ask all of my colleagues to support H.R. 41, a bipartisan proposal to replenish the National Flood Insurance Fund which will increase its borrowing authority and allow the program to continue paying claims from those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

    Without the enactment of this bill, the NFlP might reach its ceiling and could no longer pay out claims. The families in my district and the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are suffering.

    Even as I am excited that we are considering this bill today, I am disappointed that there were seventy days of inaction by Congress. Congress has a history of providing assistance to the American people in times of disaster and devastation--in this country, we help our neighbors.

    Since 1989, Congress has approved $290 billion in disaster relief aid. Indeed, only two weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of the Gulf Coast, Congress appropriated $62 billion in disaster aid. Those impacted by Superstorm Sandy have been waiting for more than two months, and cannot afford to wait any longer. The recovery depends on this emergency funding.

    Again, I ask that all of my colleagues support the first portion of the Superstorm Sandy Disaster Relief package. Through enactment of this critical bill, many home and business owners flooded out by Superstorm Sandy will soon be able to get flood insurance payments.

    Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of HR 41, a measure to increase by $9.7 billion the borrowing authority of the National Flood Insurance Program, enabling the program to continue paying the tens of thousands of claims related to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.

    Across this country from the Appalachians to the Great Lakes to northern coast of Maine, dozens of people have lost their lives, the homes of thousands of families were destroyed and millions of people have suffered from the cold and exposure of winter because they lost power. The suffering touched the people of my state of Maryland as well--hitting hardest the county of Somerset, where the poverty rate is among the highest in the State and where more than 500 homes were affected by the storm.

    After more than two months of waiting, it is only now that the House has chosen to act. And by only considering a bill to increase the Flood Insurance Program's borrowing authority by $9.7 billion, we are only making a down payment on the problem. There are estimates that the full cost of recovery will be more than $60 billion.

    I had hoped that we would have voted for a relief package during the last Congress. But it is only now that the House Leadership is bringing Sandy legislation to the floor. In the meantime, the people affected by the hurricane have had to wait and will continue waiting as the Senate passes what we pass here today.

    Delaying for months the aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy is unjust and I am disappointed that we are not meeting today to consider a bill to address the full cost of the Hurricane's destruction.

    I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the swift passage of this bill so that those suffering around the country can get the relief they so desperately need. I also hope the Republican leadership follows through on its promise to consider additional legislation on this subject when the Congress reconvenes later this month.

    Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Madam Speaker, today I rise in support of H.R. 41, to temporarily increase the borrowing authority of FEMA for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program.

    This bill would provide FEMA with an additional $9.7 billion in emergency funding to immediately assist those affected by the storm.

    In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast of the United States, affecting millions of Americans and killing over 100.

    The economic cost of the storm is still being assessed, but it has been estimated to be in excess of $60 billion, which would make it the second-costliest storm in history, after Hurricane Katrina.

    Our nation has a responsibility to rebuild the areas that were devastated by this terrible tragedy and I am committed to making sure that Congress helps provide the necessary resources to help those individuals and communities which were harmed by this disaster.

    It is important to recall that four years ago, Congress, with my strong support, provided nearly $23 billion in disaster relief for communities like our own due to the devastation from Hurricane Ike.

    I stand with my colleagues from the East Coast, especially from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to get the funding necessary to aid the recovery from Hurricane Sandy. As Americans, we all have a responsibility to help each other during times of need.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Garrett) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 41.

    The question was taken.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.

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