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Mr. PASCRELL. You would think, Madam Chair, that we're having a Sadie Hawkins dance here today and we're patting each other on the back. The real sponsor of this legislation are the people who have been hurt. And let's be honest about it. It took only 10 days after Katrina until President Bush signed $60 billion in Katrina aid passed by the Congress of the United States.
How dare you come to this floor and make people think everything is okay. In fact, one of the gentlemen from New Jersey said that we've not waited at all. Well, the insurance runs out in 1 week. What were we going to do, wait for 1 week and then act? We wouldn't even be here. Who the heck are you kidding?
So we all come together very nicely this morning for breakfast and eggs. And we know what has happened over the last 10 days. This is a total, total disaster in helping those people that we are pompously saying today and pontificating about we're helping them. Isn't that wonderful? What are our jobs? We're not doing anybody favors. That's why we were sent here. Try it once in a while. Democracy--you may like it.
Madam Speaker, it's now been 68 days since Hurricane Sandy landed. By the time the rest of the $60 billion in aid requested by Govs. Christie and Cuomo comes up for a vote, as the Speaker has promised, on Jan. 15th, it will be nearly 80. Who knows how much longer after that until the new Senate gives their approval?
$60 billion in Katrina aid was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush just 10 days after that storm.
Why is there a double standard? People in New Jersey, in my district, are suffering and they cannot afford to wait a day longer for the aid that they are entitled to as taxpayers of this nation? If we had just voted on Wednesday, it could already be on the way.
I'm pleased that today we are approving more funding for the National Flood Insurance Program, which is going to run dry within a week, but we need to approve the rest of this aid as soon as possible. To not do so would be cruel and unconscionable.
But this is only the beginning of rebuilding the most important economic region of our country.
Two weeks after Katrina, this House passed a serious tax relief measure dedicated to helping those that our disaster aid programs cannot reach, on a voice vote. I and many bipartisan cosponsors, introduced similar measure in the last Congress.
I call upon the Speaker to bring this legislation up for a vote as soon as possible. There are thousands of individuals, small businesses, municipalities and utilities that need our help to rebuild, and it's our responsibility to deliver.
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