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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 152, Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KING of New York. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the rule and equally strong support of the underlying legislation, particularly the Frelinghuysen amendment, which is so vital to the people of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and especially my area on Long Island in Nassau County and Suffolk County.

To put this in perspective, there were 305,000 homes in New York damaged, 2.2 million people lost their power. That's more than the population of 15 States. That's 2.2 million people that lost their power. In Nassau County and Suffolk County, 95,000 buildings were damaged. More than 38,000 had more than 50 percent damage. In Nassau County--and the county executive, Ed Mangano, is here today--they had more than $6 billion in recovery costs. That's $6.1 billion for one county. In Suffolk County, under County Executive Steve Bellone, there were $1.8 billion in recovery costs. These are two adjoining suburban counties with almost $8 billion in recovery costs.

I was here in 2005 for Katrina. In fact, I had become chairman of the Homeland Security Committee just several weeks after Katrina. Within days of being chairman, I went to Louisiana with Ranking Member Thompson and to Mississippi. Congressman Reichert was with me, as well. That was less than 3 weeks after Katrina. Ten days before that, the House of Representatives had passed two appropriations bills totaling $63 billion. The first appropriations bill was introduced, passed on a voice vote, passed unanimously by the Senate, and signed by the President all in one day. Four days after that, another bill came up for the balance of the $63 billion, which passed the House by a vote of 410-11, was passed unanimously by the Senate and was signed by the President in one day.

Now, 11 weeks have gone by. There's a lot of reasons for that. For one thing, Governor Cuomo, Governor Christie, and Mayor Bloomberg, they submitted the most detailed summaries ever, the most detailed accounting ever. It took them about 30 days to get that in. Then the White House held it for several weeks. They went through it. That was their prerogative. The Senate finally voted on it just before Christmas. And, as you know, I wish that this had passed our House 2 weeks ago on New Year's Day. The fact is it didn't, and that's behind us.

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Mr. KING of New York. Right now we are standing together as one in a bipartisan show of support. The time for recriminations is over. Let's stand together as Americans, and let's get the aid to the people who need it because in my district alone, in my community, people are homeless, people are cold, people are without food. This is a serious matter we have to address, that we have to do as quickly as possible.

I'm proud to stand here today with all of us united. There may be divisions in the vote, but all of us are committed to getting this done.

I want to thank the gentleman from Oklahoma, I thank the chairman of the Rules Committee, Mr. Sessions, and the great job that they've done in bringing it here with a fair rule and allowing for an up-and-down vote.

Again, I urge support of the Rogers bill and the underlying, and the accompanying Frelinghuysen amendment--absolutely essential to the people of our region, and most importantly, essential to the people of our country.

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