Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:  Rob Andrews
Date: Jan. 15, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding, and I thank the chairman of the Appropriations Committee and my friend for working together to bring this product to the floor.

I've heard two objections to this bill. The first is that money is spent in the wrong places, and the second is the amount of money altogether is too costly. Let me try to address those objections.

As to the money being spent in the wrong places, I would respectfully request that Members who have that objection read the legislation because, throughout the legislation, when it refers to the money to be spent, it says that the moneys are to be spent on necessary funds related to the consequences of Hurricane Sandy. Now, there is one exception to this that I've read, and it is limited to situations in which there were prior disasters that are not yet cleaned up. So this is a bill that deals almost exclusively with the Sandy disaster, and to the extent it does not, it deals with lingering problems in other parts of the country from those disasters.

To those who would argue that the amount of money in the bill is just too much to begin with, I would offer you this question: If you were running a business and had 100 manufacturing plants and sales offices around the country and 15 of them were shut down by a storm--so 15 percent of your available revenue was no longer available to you--what would you do? You'd repair those 15 manufacturing facilities and sales offices as quickly as you could in order to restore the health of your company and the growth of your revenues. That is exactly what this bill does.

The taxpayers of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey--three States--contribute more than 15 percent of the individual and corporate tax revenues collected in the United States of America--15 percent from three States. If you shut down that engine of production, the whole country suffers. This is an occasion for the House of Representatives to rise above normal parochial politics.

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Mr. ANDREWS. When the disaster struck the gulf, we were all Mississippians or Louisianans. When tornadoes hit Missouri, we were all Missourians. When there have been earthquakes that have hit the west coast of our country, we have all been citizens of California.

We are asking Members from coast to coast and throughout our country today to look at themselves and walk in the shoes of New Yorkers and the citizens of Connecticut and New Jersey. If we understand that we have a common purpose, that this legislation does focus almost exclusively on the Sandy disaster, and then focuses what it does not focus on Sandy on other disasters, and if we understand that 15 percent of the economic engine of this country is at risk of being shut down, then we will all be people who cast the same vote and the right vote, which is ``yes.''

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