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Public Statements

Letter to Robert Byrd and Thad Cochran, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Re: Supplemental Funding for Storm and Flood Damaged Areas

Durbin, Harkin Lead Midwest Senators in Requesting Supplemental Funding for Storm and Flood Damaged Areas

Following a meeting last night to discuss how best to deliver vital emergency federal assistance to the most storm and flood damaged states, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) led a bipartisan group of senators from Midwestern states in asking for supplemental funding to ensure that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies have the necessary resources to ensure that critical relief reaches the affected areas.

"The magnitude of this disaster will require action from the Federal Government beyond the requirements of the Stafford Act. Every time a region of our country has been affected by a major disaster we have come together to make sure states do not face disasters alone," the Senators wrote. "As this disaster worsens and waters continue to rise, we must move quickly to acquire the funding that will allow state and local governments, as well as the Federal government, provide the assistance needed to help our citizens put their lives together and revive the economies of the areas impacted by the tornados and flooding."

Joining Durbin and Harkin in signing today's letter to the senate appropriations committee include: Senators Kit Bond (R-MO), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Barack Obama (D-IL) and Pat Roberts (R-KS).

[text of letter below]

June 17, 2008

The Honorable Robert C. Byrd
Chairman
Senate Appropriations Committee
135 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Thad Cochran
Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Committee
123 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Byrd and Ranking Member Cochran:

The recent storms and subsequent flooding of the Mississippi and its tributaries has devastated many communities in the Midwest. Local emergency management teams, state national guards, and countless volunteers have put up a heroic effort to prepare for the worst and minimize the damage. But despite these outstanding efforts, floodwaters have overtaken entire communities and many more stand in the water's path downstream.

The magnitude of this disaster will require action from the Federal Government beyond the requirements of the Stafford Act. Every time a region of our country has been affected by a major disaster we have come together to make sure states do not face disasters alone.

The storms and flooding have already destroyed millions of acres of farmland, breached levees, crippled land and water shipping routes, halted Amtrak service, and evacuated thousands from their homes and businesses.

We are in a race against time and nature. As this disaster worsens and waters continue to rise, we must move quickly to acquire the funding that will allow state and local governments, as well as the Federal government, provide the assistance needed to help our citizens put their lives together and revive the economies of the areas impacted by the tornados and flooding.

We need to ensure that FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, HUD, Commerce, USDA, SBA and other federal agencies have the necessary resources to save businesses, homes and lives. We urge you to work with us as we consider the FY 08 Supplemental Appropriations bill to ensure critical funding and relief reaches the areas affected by this disaster. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,


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