Mr. PASCRELL. Look, we're all Americans. We're not Democrats, Republicans.
You had 5,000 people evacuated in my district. When you see the damage in small towns and large towns, then you can appreciate it. The President came, the Governor of the State, who is not of my persuasion, came. They saw it firsthand. Homeland Security came. Mr. Fugate from FEMA came. They saw it firsthand. The damage is deep, and it's not going to be taken away and remedied within 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years because the ground was so saturated that trees fell without any wind, and are still falling.
Now, we are only one of 51 districts affected in 15 States, and we're talking about over 30 million people. And for the first time since I've been a Member of Congress, the other side, your side, wants to make this conditional, the aid, so that we carve out from either this program or that program, which is immaterial at this point, the money to help these very people.
The estimates are very clear as to how much this is going to cost, beyond our wildest dreams. We don't stop and ask those folks in Joplin, who had a huge tornado, where 160 people were killed, we don't say, wait till we go and rob Peter in order to respond to your emergency.
The fires in Texas--we have never done this on an emergency. This is an absolute disgrace because we're all Americans. We're not Democrats or Republicans.
Why didn't we do this, for crying out loud, in 2001 when we went to war? We didn't say, let's take from this program or that program. That was an emergency. We came up with the money and we sure as hell didn't pay for it, did we? And now look where we are economically.
We're talking about an emergency in our own country here, in our own neighborhoods. We need both sides to come together, and that's why we formed the coalition of Democrats and Republicans. And Republicans are not going to vote for this either. I'm telling you right now. So why don't we come together. They passed a clean bill in the Senate.
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Mr. PASCRELL. This coalition is going to stay strong because America is more important than either party, and we need to help our brothers and sisters who are hurting right now, many that will not return to their homes. They can't. Think about that.