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Public Statements

Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. RUNYAN. Madam Chair, I rise in support of H.R. 152, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

This bill does the minimum necessary to help towns like Brick Township rebuild. It does the minimum to help remove mold from their living rooms so they can sleep at night without worrying about their children getting sick from breathing mold spores.

Many of my colleagues have asked for disaster funding or declarations for their home districts in the past. As one of my New Jersey colleagues pointed out earlier today, there are more than 30 of my colleagues who have received disaster assistance for their own districts in the past who actually plan to oppose this package before us.

Madam Chair, I would say to my friends, why should New Jersey and New York be treated any differently? My friends should ask themselves what would they do if this were their district that suffered the amount of catastrophic loss that many of the families and businesses in my district now face.

Next to me, you can see damage Sandy left behind in Brick Township. My constituents in Brick have suffered for almost 3 months without any help from this Congress. I want to be able to tell them when I go home this weekend that help is heading their way.

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Mr. RUNYAN. Madam Chair, I rise today in support of the Frelinghuysen amendment. We must pass this amendment to ensure that hardworking men and women in communities like Brick, Seaside Park, Toms River, and Barnegat get the resources they need to get back on their feet.

After Hurricane Sandy, many of my constituents completely lost their homes. Others lost power and heat in their homes for over a month. And many, like this home here in Mantaloking, haven't even been permitted back to their homes 2 months later.

Make no mistake, my constituents have suffered. They have seen the communities they have grown up in completely destroyed. I urge passage of the Frelinghuysen amendment.

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Mr. RUNYAN. Madam Chair, I rise in opposition to the Flores amendment. The Regional Ocean Partnership grants program was established in 2004 by President Bush to help prevent damages from future natural disasters in coastal States. It is not part of President Obama's National Ocean Policy.

This program is supported through a competitive grant program first authorized by President Bush in 2004 to support urgent coastal needs. This program is also voluntary and State-led, with individual States opting into the program.

In the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, there is a Mid-Atlantic Regional Council that was established by mid-Atlantic Governors in 2009. These Governors work together to address coastal issues and mitigate future risks.

State universities like Rutgers University in New Jersey also receive funding through States to work and coordinate with States to determine how to best mitigate future disaster risks. The Reinsurance Association of America has written in opposition to this amendment due to concern about future risks to coastal areas.

I again emphasize this program is not part of President Obama's National Ocean Policy and was established by President Bush.

I thank the gentleman for yielding.

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Mr. RUNYAN. Madam Chair, I rise in support of my amendment, which makes a technical correction of the current bill language that makes it clear that fisheries disaster funding is restricted to those States that were declared fisheries disasters in 2012 as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy.

While I understand that the intent of the appropriators was to limit the money to the States impacted by Hurricane Sandy, NOAA has informed me that according to the current bill language they will distribute the money to any State with the fisheries disaster declaration in 2012.

While I'm disappointed that more money has not been appropriated to the fisheries that were damaged during Sandy, we need to make sure that this limited pot of money gets to the fisheries that need it most in New Jersey and New York. There is only $5 million appropriated for the fisheries bill. In New Jersey alone the commercial fishing industry has sustained over $4 million in damage.

This amendment was supported by the Garden State Seafood Association, the Recreational Fishing Alliance, and the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey.

I want to thank the Rules Committee for ruling my amendment in order and urge all colleagues to support it.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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