Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, the Republican do-nothing leadership has an opportunity to do something--something very important--today to help the more than 17 million Americans who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, one of the worst storms in U.S. history, more than 9 weeks ago. The Senate has sent us a good bill. We are ready to act. We have the bipartisan votes to pass it. And yet the House Republican leadership has said there will be no votes today, the last day to pass this legislation without delay before we have to start all over again in the new session of Congress tomorrow.
Let me be very clear. Republican leadership has turned their backs on New Yorkers. They have turned their backs on those suffering without homes and businesses struggling just to get by. They have no valid reason for this delay--only the dysfunction with which they lead this body.
This record storm resulted in the deaths of over 100 Americans. The coasts of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut have been devastated. Other surrounding States have sustained significant damage. In 2005, this body came together and passed a Federal disaster assistance bill to help the gulf recover from Hurricane Katrina 2 weeks after the storm. Congress acted to assist those who suffered damage in Hurricane Gustav and Ike within 1 month.
The Governors of our States, Democrat and Republican, have assessed over $82 billion in damages. The Senate bill would have provided $60.4 billion--not everything that was requested, but a detailed, thoughtful disaster assistance plan to help these communities rebuild. More than 9 weeks since the storm hit, House Republican leadership is doing nothing, after giving us nearly virtual assurance just yesterday that we would consider this assistance bill today.
When a disaster hits on American soil, we as a Congress have the responsibility and tradition of working together, Democrat and Republican, to help communities rebuild. Our citizens are counting on us to help them recover from the storm and mitigate future disasters. I respectfully urge House leadership to reconsider their decision. Support the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Put politics aside. Do the right thing. People are waiting. People need this assistance. Let's bring the bill to a vote today.