Following Monday's unanimous passage of H.R. 219, the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013, Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-04) today voted in favor of H.R. 152, Disaster Relief Appropriations. Once approved by the Senate, the Hurricane Sandy aid package will provide immediate relief for victims and continue funding for ongoing recovery efforts.
"I've advocated for relief for Sandy victims, with much-needed reforms for our disaster relief systems," Palazzo stated. "I am glad I could contribute to House legislation this week that gave us just that."
Palazzo publicly advocated for both the reform package passed Monday as well as the aid bill passed today. In a letter sent to colleagues who opposed the $9 billion package on January 4th, Palazzo compared the damage from Hurricane Sandy to that of Hurricane Katrina, acknowledged conservatives' fiscal concerns, and cited Monday's reform package as a good first step in the "much longer process of reforming our disaster relief system."
"I believe we as Americans will work to do what is responsible by reforming our disaster relief system, but we will also always do what is necessary to provide help to those in need," Palazzo stated in the letter.
The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, which included Palazzo's measure requiring a national strategy on disaster relief reform, would streamline disaster response and expedite individual assistance to disasters such as Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina.
Among other things, the final relief package passed Tuesday included funding for FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund, funding to repair roads, bridges, tunnels and public transit facilities as well as funding supporting National Guard response and Small Business Administration Disaster loans. The bill also included provisions requiring offsets for Army Corps of Engineers projects.