09.06.17

Statement Of Appropriations Vice Chair Patrick Leahy On Harvey Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Bill

[WASHINGTON (Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017) – The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday, by a vote of 419 to 3, approved $7.4 billion in appropriations for FEMA and $450 million for the Small Business Administration to support continued disaster relief following the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey.  The bill now moves to the Senate where Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will play a key role in passing it through the chamber.]

Marcelle and I have held the people of Texas and Louisiana in our prayers and looked on in horror as we saw Harvey’s destruction unfold over the last two weeks.  A disaster of this magnitude demands the full support of the United States Government, and I am glad the House approved additional funding for disaster relief.  Now the Senate must act, and we must act promptly, because FEMA is expected to exhaust its disaster relief funds by Friday.

My fellow Vermonters are all too familiar with the images of destruction coming out of Texas.  It was only six years ago that Tropical Storm Irene tore through the Green Mountain State, leaving a wound we are still trying to heal today.  Republicans and Democrats in the Senate stood by my side then to help Vermont rebuild, and I will stand by their side now.  It will require years of federal support, and we must not let our commitment fade.

We live in a world where “100-year storms” seem to have become annual occurrences. Just now, Hurricane Irma has struck Puerto Rico and continues on its path toward Florida and the East Coast. We must invest in technology, conservation and infrastructure that will mitigate further damage and make our communities more resilient.  This is what we did after Irene and Superstorm Sandy, and we should do that now. 

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