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Mr. HOYER. I thank the ranking member, Mrs. Lowey, and I thank Mr. Rogers for his work, as well, on bringing this bill to the floor.
I rise not only in support of the chairman's mark at $17 billion, but also for the Frelinghuysen amendment. I think both of these together meet our responsibilities in responding to one of the most historic and damaging storms to hit the country--not only the Northeast, but the country.
People throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the whole mid-Atlantic region are still struggling to pick up the pieces after the most devastating storm in years, and Congress has a duty to help. As I've said before, it's never too late to do the right thing. I thought we might do this previously, but now is a good time to act, and hopefully today we will act.
Earlier this month, we took action to help ensure that flood insurance benefits will be available for those still recovering from Sandy. Today, however, we must finish our work and take action on the comprehensive aid package that communities in the Northeast need to rebuild.
This is not a moment for partisan difference or gimmicks. Amending these relief bills will make it harder to get aid to those who need it as soon as possible. The American people, especially those impacted by Sandy, will not look kindly on such delay.
Congress appropriated $62.3 billion in emergency relief less than 2 weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the gulf coast in 2005. I voted for that; that was the right thing to do. As it was then, it is now the right thing to do. There's no reason why the people of New York, New Jersey, and affected areas should have to wait any longer.
This is a bipartisan effort. When Americans are in trouble, in pain, at risk, we respond, not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans, to their needs.
We must pass these relief bills. So I urge my colleagues on both sides to oppose any amendments that diminish our ability to provide this much-needed assistance. Only by setting party aside and coming together as fellow Americans and fellow Representatives can we achieve this goal.
I urge all my colleagues, not only on my side of the aisle, but on the other side of the aisle, to join together to make sure that the relief necessary is given this day to this region for this storm.
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