Rep. Culberson Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Budget Deal Guaranteeing Disaster Aid for Harvey Survivors

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Washington D.C. , February 9, 2018 | comments

Washington D.C. - Today Representative John Culberson (TX-07) released the following statement after Congress passed a bipartisan budget deal to include a continuing resolution through March 23 and $89.3 billion in emergency federal assistance. This money will help states, communities, businesses, and individuals recover from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria; wildfires; and other disasters:

“I’m pleased that Congress has reached a desperately needed long-term budget agreement today, and I am grateful for the efforts of Senators Cornyn and Cruz to successfully attach the Hurricane Harvey Emergency funding bill to this legislation. Countless families in District 7 have contacted my office for help after Hurricane Harvey, and I’m relieved to tell them that additional help is finally on the way.

“This comprehensive budget agreement will allow the Appropriations Committee to do our job for the next two years, will strengthen our military, and will get the $89.3 billion of disaster relief money to the hands of all the suffering Texans, Louisianans, Floridians, and Puerto Ricans who have been waiting far too long for the assistance they need and deserve. 

“I’m also very pleased that the changes I fought so hard for in the House version of the Hurricane Harvey relief bill are included in this package. 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. It will ensure that the Army Corps of Engineers prioritizes 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. It also makes certain that those who apply for an SBA loan and decide not to accept the money would be eligible for Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds later. The legislation also ensures that religious nonprofit organizations are eligible for certain disaster assistance in the aftermath of a storm. 

“I thank President Trump for signing this legislation into law so that my district receives the resources it needs to heal from Harvey. In the weeks ahead, I will continue to push House leadership to bring a balanced budget constitutional amendment to the floor, as well as legislation to rescue Social Security and Medicare from insolvency so that we can finally balance the federal budget.”

Highlights of the supplemental appropriations package include:

  • $23.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Fund, the primary funding source for immediate disaster response. The funding will support response and recovery efforts, including assistance to state, territory, possession, and local governments, to cover total estimated needs for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and FY2018 estimated needs for Hurricane Maria.
  • $17.39 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, largely targeted for projects to reduce the risk of future damages from flood and storm events.
  • $28 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Fund to help communities rebuild damages homes, buildings, and infrastructure.
  • $1.65 billion to the Small Business Administration to further support the disaster loan program, and $600 million to the Department of Commerce for Economic Development Administration grants to support immediate relief efforts and long-term recovery projects in communities affected by recent disasters.
  • $2.46 billion to restart operations at elementary and secondary schools affected by the hurricanes and wildfires, and for temporary assistance for schools, including private schools outside of affected areas, serving elementary and secondary school students displaced by the disasters.
  • $434.3 million for the Department of Defense, $720.9 million for military construction, and $718.9 million for the U.S. Coast Guard to recover from damage caused to defense and border security facilities and equipment during the 2017 hurricane season.
  • $149.5 million to repair and strengthen damaged Customs and Border Patrol facilities.
  • $93.5 million to help the VA repair damaged hospitals and facilities.
  • Includes important oversight and accountability measures within and across agencies to ensure responsible use of taxpayer funds.
  • Includes a provision ensuring religious nonprofit organizations are given the same opportunity to qualify for certain disaster assistance as their secular counterparts.

 

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