Chairman Rogers Releases Emergency Legislation for Hurricane Sandy Recovery
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) today released legislation to provide needed funding for Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery. The base bill totals $27 billion, and will provide funding to meet immediate and critical needs for Sandy victims and their communities.
The statement by Chairman Rogers follows:
"Given the size and scope of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, it is essential that Congress provide the victims of this storm and their communities with the necessary federal aid as soon as possible. It is crystal clear that the recovery from this terrible hurricane is going to take months and years, not days and weeks. To this end, the legislation released today will provide the aid needed for immediate relief, while also beginning the process of meeting long-term recovery needs.
“However, as we embark on these recovery efforts, it is essential that Congress make responsible decisions to get the most out of each and every recovery dollar. We’ve included important oversight measures and reporting requirements in this legislation to prevent abuse and ensure federal agencies are using these funds in a responsible, effective way.
“This is not the first major disaster to hit our nation, and unfortunately, it will not be the last. As a nation, we have come together again and again to help victims of catastrophes across the country recover after storms, droughts, fires, and floods. Hurricane Sandy has brought much of the Northeast region to its knees, and it is once again our duty to help our people get back on their feet."
In addition to the base legislation, Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen will offer a separate amendment to the bill providing an additional $33 billion for disaster relief. This amendment includes funding for longer-term recovery efforts and infrastructure improvements, and will receive a separate vote when the bill is considered on the House floor.
A summary of the major items within the $27 billion emergency disaster supplemental bill follows:
National Flood Insurance Program – $9.7 billion
The bill includes the authorization of a $9.7 billion increase in borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program. This funding will allow insurance claims for flood damages sustained during the hurricane to be paid to home and business owners covered under the program, as well as allow new, eligible participants to enroll in the program.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) – $5.4 billion
This funding will fulfill near-term needs for the DRF, the most immediate source of relief and recovery funds available to individuals, families, and communities to support ongoing recovery through affected areas. This includes providing individual assistance such as temporary housing, crisis counseling, and disaster unemployment assistance. It also provides funding for public assistance to local communities and certain nonprofits for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repair, replacement, and restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain nonprofit organizations.
Department of Transportation – Federal Transit Authority Emergency Relief - $5.4 billion
This funding will provide reasonable assistance and recovery to the four major affected transit agencies –New York’s MTA, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, New Jersey Transit, and the City of New York DOT Ferries. Language is included in the legislation to provide stringent oversight on the use of funding and the administration of grants.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – $3.9 billion
This funding through HUD’s Community Development Fund will support critical and immediate community needs. This includes repairs to damage sustained by publicly owned hospitals, local roads and utilities, small businesses, etc.
Army Corps of Engineers – $1.35 billion
The bill fully funds the Administration’s updated estimates for Army Corps of Engineers projects for response and recovery to Hurricane Sandy. As was done after previous disasters, these funds will help restore navigation channels, beaches, and other damaged infrastructure to pre-storm conditions. In addition, the bill will provide funds to continue response and recovery activities for flood control, coastal emergency projects, and emergency dredging. The legislation also directs the Corps to submit plans for reducing the threats of future flooding to ensure future funding is responsibly and effectively utilized.
Department of the Interior – $287 million
This funding will help repair national parks, lands and facilities under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior that sustained damage during Hurricane Sandy. This includes funding for immediate repair and recovery needs for national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries along the East Coast, and National Parks, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Department of Health and Human Services – $100 million
The bill provides $100 million in funding for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for disaster response and recovery efforts directly related to Hurricane Sandy. This includes funding for the Social Services Block Grant program for repairs to social services facilities, repairs to Head Start centers, replacement of equipment and resource losses within National Institute of Health studies, etc.
Department of Veterans Affairs – $235 million
This funding will go to repairs and reconstruction at the Manhattan VA hospital and other VA medical facilities, which sustained significant flood damage during the storm. These repairs are urgently needed to provide adequate medical services and care to veterans in the Northeast region, many of whom have had to move to other VA facilities following the storm
Small Business Administration – $161 million
This funding will provide for the immediate needs of the SBA Disaster Loan Program to provide timely, low-interest financing for the repair and rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property for homeowners, renters, and businesses. This funding would also provide grants to assist small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy with disaster recovery and response problems.
National Guard – $24.2 million
This funding will provide for repairs of a variety of Army National Guard buildings and structures damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Department of Agriculture – $6 million
This will support replenishing stocks at food banks and soup kitchens in the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, via the Commodity Assistance Program through the Food and Nutrition Service.
The full text of the legislation can be found at http://www.rules.house.gov.