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Public Statements

Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CROWLEY. I thank the gentlelady for yielding me this time.

In the days following Superstorm Sandy, many of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle reached out to me, and I think they did the same to others throughout the quad-State region, expressing their sympathies and their concern. While they weren't able to see firsthand the devastation, everyone had a sense, I think, of that devastation by the footage they all saw on television and over the Internet. It was pretty powerful in itself.

Everyone, I think, was astonished at the magnitude. We're not used to having such disasters in New York City; and everyone was shocked to see the extent of the damage, homes literally wiped away, businesses destroyed, flood waters consuming people's living rooms and completely overturning their lives. And the damage wasn't just in one city or one town or, for that matter, one State. From Breezy Point, Queens, to Edgewater in my district in the Bronx, from Manhattan to Brooklyn to Staten Island to Westchester to Long Island, from the coasts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, all of the way over to Connecticut, so many people's lives were wrecked by this powerful storm.

While words are kind and they are very much appreciated, action behind those words is even more appreciated. Today, finally, I believe we'll have the opportunity to see action. Seventy-nine days later, and far too much politics in between, this Congress is doing what the people of these communities need and what the American people demand--taking action.

I'm thankful to this Congress. I'm thankful that it's finally taking action to help the people of my district and the millions of other people hit hard by this enormous storm. I want to thank all of my colleagues from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania for our shared commitment to getting this done and never letting partisanship surrounding this debate divide us. I want to say a special thanks to Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Ranking Member Nita Lowey, along with their staffs, who have driven this process from day one. I want to thank you both.

This bill will provide direct assistance to communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy. It will help restore and replace damaged or destroyed infrastructure, and it'll put in place cost-saving measures to prevent further damage when--when, and not if--future storms occur.

I would just urge any of my colleagues, Democrat or Republican, who are considering voting against either the Frelinghuysen amendment or the overall bill to just for a moment put yourself in one of your colleague's shoes. I don't wish Superstorm Sandy or anything like it on any of my colleagues anywhere in the United States; but the one thing you need to know is that if this happens that your country will be there for you. There's the physical damage, but also the mental damage that people are experiencing because they think the country has forgotten them. Don't forget these people. Do the right thing. Vote for this bill.

[Begin Insert]

In the days after Hurricane Sandy, I was moved by the words of sympathy and concern I received from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

While many were not able to see the destruction firsthand, everyone could see the devastating images and footage on TV, in newspapers, and over the Internet.

Everyone was astonished by the magnitude of the damage.

Everyone was shocked to see the extensive damage to--homes wiped away, businesses destroyed, flood waters consuming people's living rooms, and lives completely overturned.

And the damage wasn't just in one town or one state. From Breezy Point, Queens to Edgewater in the Bronx; from Manhattan, Brooklyn to Staten Island, Westchester to Long Island; from the coasts of New Jersey to Connecticut; so many people's lives were wrecked by this powerful storm.

While kind words are one thing, actions backing up those words are another.

And today, finally, we have the opportunity to act.

79 days later, and after far too much politics, Congress is doing what the people of these communities need--and what the American people demand: taking action.

I am thankful this Congress is finally taking action to help the people of my district and all the millions of people hit hard by this hurricane.

I want to thank all of my colleagues from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania for our shared commitment to getting this done and never letting partisanship surrounding this debate divide us. A special thanks to Democratic Whip STENY HOYER and Ranking Member NITA LOWEY, along with their staff, who have driven this process from Day One.

This bill will provide direct assistance to the communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy. It will help restore and replace damaged or destroyed infrastructure; and it will put in place cost-saving measures to prevent further damage when, not if, future storms occur.

This is a good bill, and it deserves full bipartisan support of the entire House.

I would urge any Democrat or Republican who is thinking about voting against any portion of this aid package to reconsider. For a moment, please put yourself in our shoes--the shoes of every family, every American who lost or suffered as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

I do not wish what happened in my State on anyone, but the reality is the devastation that occurred in my backyard, throughout my district, across my State and to my constituents could happen anywhere at any time. If it does, you will want us, as a Congress, to stand together, to put aside politics and help your constituents, hard-working Americans, get back on their feet.

Today, let's stand with our fellow Americans who are rebuilding by voting for the underlying bill and the Frelinghuysen amendment. Together, the passage of these two measures will ensure the U.S. Congress is providing real help--and not just lip service--to all those hurt by this devastating hurricane.

[End Insert]

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CROWLEY. I thank the gentleman from New Jersey.

I have never, in my 14 years, spoken from this side of the aisle. I do it today, not as a gimmick, but as part of my plea to my Republican colleagues, to all of us, not to act as Democrats and Republicans.

People are suffering throughout the Northeast. They continue to do so. The Frelinghuysen amendment is one that will give assurance to the people of the Quad-State region that the Federal Government will be there with them throughout this crisis, that they will be there. When everyone else has forgotten, the Federal Government will be there.

The level of devastation is enormous. And as I said before, the level of psychological damage is enormous, and we only know the tip of the iceberg. We don't know yet what will come.

This amendment will give peace of mind to Americans who are suffering today. Americans just like all of us here today are suffering, and they are looking to their Congress, not red, not blue, not Democrat, not Republican, just Americans helping Americans. That's what this amendment and this bill is all about.

I thank the gentleman from New Jersey for yielding me this minute.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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