Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise in solidarity with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle against the House Republican leadership's outrageous decision to refuse emergency assistance for our States to recover from the strongest storm to ravage our region in generations.
It's simply unconscionable that this Chamber would walk away from a region desperate for assistance in its greatest hour of need. We cannot accept this shockingly callous indifference of the leadership to the human suffering that our constituents and their fellow citizens continue to endure.
The leadership's decision stands in stark contrast to the immediate decisions to provide relief in the wake of every disaster that has befallen this Nation over the past many years. It comes in stark contrast to our Nation's call to provide well over $100 billion to Louisiana and the Gulf States following that tragedy, the first $62 billion of which was on its way to the Gulf States within 2 weeks of the storm.
More than 2 months after our region was struck, our constituents are still waiting for help. Our States are overextended and our constituents have reached the limits of their tolerance. They deserve more than the Federal Government's refusal to help, particularly after the Senate's strong bipartisan approval of the aid we need.
Our leadership has decided to pass up an important investment against future losses. Many of our districts remain exposed to future damage. My own district, for example, experienced two relatively routine storms in late December, but, nonetheless, those storms compounded the massive erosion along the south shore of Long Island. We simply cannot afford any further breaches, flooding, overwashing, or storm damage without incurring significant losses to our infrastructure and to our economy.
Mr. Speaker, let me close with this:
What do I say when I go home to my constituents in Mastic Beach, a working class community on Moriches Bay with a little over 5,000 homes, about a thousand of which sustained damage, a great many of which are unrepairable? Do I tell them that the Republican leadership of the House considers it entirely appropriate for their tax dollars to be used for recovery and repair in New Orleans, in Tuscaloosa, in Joplin, or anywhere else in this country where a natural disaster has occurred? Or do I tell them that when it's in their hour of need, the Republican leadership has decided to simply walk away? That's precisely the message that the Republican leadership is sending to my constituents.
They deserve better. The residents of all of the States that were ravaged by this storm deserve better. We must bring this bill to a vote immediately.