Rep. Culberson Statement on Passage of $81 Billion Disaster Aid Package
“This a tremendous step in the right direction”
Watch my full comments on the floor here.
“I am greatly encouraged at the passage of the Disaster Recovery Supplemental bill today. This is a tremendous step in the right direction as we continue to rebuild, recover and press ahead toward a stronger, more resilient Texas.
“I thank Chairman Frelinghuysen for his leadership and partnership to make changes to the bill that will ensure the good people of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are provided the resources they need.
“As I requested, this bill fully funds all federally authorized flood control projects in Harris County and in all other Texas disaster area counties. This means Brays Bayou can be finished with front loaded funding. I also won passage of language prioritizing Army Corps funding to counties like Harris that have suffered repeated floods in recent years. In turn, this will help us get a third reservoir built to keep water out of Addicks and Barker Reservoirs.
“Additionally, I won approval of language to help compensate property owners who were flooded when the Corps opened the gates on Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. Hurricane Harvey caused the largest housing disaster in American history, so we will undoubtedly need more Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Recovery housing grant dollars in the future, but, again, this bill is a giant step in the right direction.
“I look forward to working with the Senate on this vital legislation so that all affected by this year’s storms can have more peace of mind this Christmas and a brighter 2018.”
Bill Highlights: H.R. 4667
Total: $81 billion in emergency spending for programs and activities to respond to recent hurricanes, wildfires, and other designated disasters.
In addition to funding requests, Rep. Culberson also pushed for a legislative fix that would allow those who took out SBA loans to repair their homes to be eligible for possible HUD grant funding later. Under current law, this is considered a duplication of benefits and is prohibited. The House passed bill would allow the Governor to request a waiver so that individuals can use HUD funding to repay their SBA loans.
Another important legislative change in the House passed disaster supplemental would allow religious institutions to be eligible for FEMA public assistance following a disaster. This will help our churches and synagogues impacted by Hurricane Harvey to receive essential funds to help them rebuild.
This bill includes funding for:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): $27.6 billion for FEMA for disaster response and recovery efforts. This includes:
Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR): $26.1 billion for CDBG-DR for housing, business, infrastructure, and mitigation needs for communities devastated by disasters in 2017 and disasters dating back to 2011. This includes:
Army Corps of Engineers - $12.1 billion for the Corps of Engineers for repairs needed due to natural disasters, and to expedite studies and projects to reduce damages in future disasters in areas affected by recent hurricanes. This includes:
This funding will also provide support to states and localities that accommodate displaced students from K-12, college and technical schools from affected areas, including disabled and homeless students. This funding can be used for both public and private schools.
Small Business Disaster Loans: $1.6 billion for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) disaster loan program. This will allow SBA to make up to $12.2 billion in disaster loans to small businesses and homeowners in all affected areas for recovery and rebuilding.
Defense Facilities - $1.5 billion to repair Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Reserve, National Guard, Coast Guard, and medical military facilities, and to repair or replace equipment damaged by the hurricanes in all affected areas.
Federal Transportation Emergency Relief: $1.4 billion to address all current damages to federal highways caused by designated disasters. These funds are provided directly to states and localities for repairs. The bill also includes $269 million to help communities restore hurricane-damaged mass transit systems.
Full legislative text of H.R. 4667 can be found here.