Last night, Congressman Billy Long voted to release $1 billion dollars to help cover the costs of disaster relief for Joplin, Missouri and other disaster stricken communities across the country.
"I promised Joplin that whatever needs to be done will be done to help rebuild," said Long. "This funding might not solve all of our problems, but it will go a long way into getting our community back on its feet. I have been assured that more funding will be provided when the final estimates are in and this first billion can be considered a down payment."
The $1 billion dollars comes from the Aderholt Amendment, which is part of the larger Fiscal Year 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. Although passed by the House of Representatives last evening, the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill must still be reconciled with Senate version before it can be signed into law.
The Aderholt Amendment would offset the $1 billion by moving the money from the under-performing Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program under the Department of Energy to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund. The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program was first funded in the Fiscal Year 2009 Continuing Resolution as part of the Obama Administration's green agenda. Of the $7.5 billion appropriated for the program approximately $4.2 billion remains unused today.
The FEMA Disaster Relief Fund provides assistance to state and local communities as well as individuals after declared disasters. America has a long history of providing relief to areas hit by severe disasters. During the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, relief was provided to Portsmouth, New Hampshire after a devastating fire ravaged the city.
"While we need to look everywhere to make spending cuts, making sure our first responder, disaster relief, and national defense communities have the tools they need will always be a priority while I am in Congress," said Long.