U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today released the following statement on Republican Presidential Nominee Gov. Mitt Romney's visit to South Louisiana following Hurricane Isaac.
"I welcome Governor Romney to Louisiana today so he can see firsthand the devastation caused by Hurricane Isaac. I hope as he witnesses recovery in action, he will reflect upon his party's approach to funding disaster response. Had the plan advocated by his running mate Congressman Paul Ryan and Congressman Eric Cantor prevailed, there would be no money readily available to provide assistance for this, or any other disaster," Sen. Landrieu said. "Congress would have to debate and agree upon cuts to other priorities. My hope is that Governor Romney will leave Louisiana realizing that such an approach is overly bureaucratic, unworkable, and terribly unfair."
Last August, Sen. Landrieu successfully fought against House Republicans' insistence that federal funding for disaster recovery be offset with cuts to other programs. While Sen. Landrieu believes that we must responsibly budget for disasters, there is no way to predict when one will strike. As such, we should address emergency aid in the way we traditionally have-quickly, efficiently and without political strings attached.
Thanks to the disaster relief reform Sen. Landrieu negotiated last August and executed in December, FEMA estimates that there is currently $1.4 billion in the Distance Relief Fund (as of August 31) to respond to disasters such as Hurricane Isaac through the end of the fiscal year.
Victims of natural disasters should not be victimized twice-first by Mother Nature and then by Washington politics. That's why many Republican governors--including Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey--have blasted attempts within their own party to politicize disaster aid.
Earlier this year, Rep. Paul Ryan eliminated $10 billion in disaster aid as part of the House GOP budget, which won approval by the House on March 29, 2012.