Hurricane Sandy Relief

Floor Speech

By:  Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Date: Jan. 2, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I want to wish you the best. I'm glad there's one more Democrat, but I'm not glad that you're leaving. You're a gentleman.

Look, I don't think that this is time for a pedantic debate. As we say in Jersey, it is time calmly, cooly to take the gloves off. This is the time. There is precedent here. I would suggest to the Governors that they should bring us to court. It's fitting.

Not only did we pass the money for Katrina in a very short period of time--part of it was by a voice vote. Can you imagine? Part of it was by a voice vote within a few days after that disaster. Mr. Cantor voted for Katrina aid; Mr. Boehner did; Mr. Ryan did; Mr. McCarthy did, as did nearly every Member of the Congress from the New Jersey and New York regions. In fact, New Jersey and the other States that were hit by Sandy are some of the biggest donor States, that is, we send a lot of taxes to the Federal Government. Now we need our colleagues to step up to the plate.

As everyone knows, Sandy caused significant damage. In Bergen County, north Jersey--my district--first responders had to evacuate entire towns when the Hackensack River rose over a berm. The Moonachie Police Department will soon be housing trailers and be reimbursed. So let them come to north Jersey. Let them come to Connecticut at the shore of Jersey. Let them come to Long Island and Staten Island and Pennsylvania and Maryland. Let them come. Let them see. The mayor of Little Ferry is just one of the many people in that community whose house was decimated by the high water.

Look, we are, unfortunately, dealing with a schizophrenic leadership on the other side. Let's call it for what it is. Let's not mince words. State and local finances, which are already stretched too thin, allow for the limited or no ability of an area to rebuild alone. Because of the storm, the result will be one of depressed tax collections. We've been working with the Members of the House Ways and Means Committee to draft legislation modeled on tax relief.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, good luck to you. God bless your family.

God bless all of you for coming here this morning. We thought we'd have a shortened week, but our work is still ahead of us. This is the time to stop debating and take the gloves off--Jersey style.