This week a bipartisan coalition in both houses of Congressed introduced legislation calling for the release of disaster funding. Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Randy Weber (TX-14), Brian Babin (TX-36), Kevin Brady (TX-08), G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), John Carter (TX-31), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Joe Cunningham (SC-01), Bill Flores (TX-17), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (PR-AL), Garret Graves (LA-06), Al Green, (TX-09), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Michael McCaul (TX-10), Pete Olson (TX-22),Tom Rice (SC-07), David Rouzer (NC-07), and Ted Yoho (FL-03) released a joint statement on the introduction of the Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Funding Act. The bill requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to release $16 billion in long needed (and awaited) disaster relief funding within 60 days to nine states and two U.S. territories – including Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
According to the statement:
“Congress acted quickly to approve aid for our communities in the wake of several devastating storms. Unfortunately, the agencies tasked with distributing these funds to our states have not acted with similar haste. Hurricane season starts in two weeks. Our communities continue to wait for the funds needed to recover and rebuild from past storms, funds that should have gone toward rebuilding and preparing for the next storms in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico. Our legislation is a common-sense ask: Release the funding already appropriated; grant our communities the resources needed to rebuild and recover.”
In a statement about the legislation released by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) it was noted that “Congress appropriated funds for mitigation and resiliency on February 9, 2018 through the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2018. These funds and activities would be determined by Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) programs run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). We are still waiting on the final rule from HUD 15 months later. Last month, during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Secretary Ben Carson testified the rules would be published by May 1, 2019, and funds distributed shortly thereafter.”
According to Brady, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Cornyn (R-TX) have introduced the Senate version of this bill back on May 9.