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Public Statements

Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.

Madam Chair, I rise today to express my support for the underlying bill and the Frelinghuysen amendment, which will greatly assist the States and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. In every year since 1997, with two exceptions, the Congress has recognized the need for emergency funds to respond to the impacts of natural disasters on the Nation's water resource infrastructure. This year should be no different.

The Frelinghuysen amendment includes a total of $5.35 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers. Of that, about $1.8 billion will be used to repair existing Federal facilities that were damaged in the storm and to restore projects to design standards. The roughly $3.4 billion remaining will be used by the Corps for the construction of projects intended to reduce future flood risk. Additionally, the Frelinghuysen amendment provides $88.3 million to repair facility and equipment damage to Department of Defense facilities in several States along the eastern seaboard.

This is what we should be doing as a Nation. It is far less expensive to invest in preventing damage than it is to clean it up. We need to fund projects that result in the long-term sustainability of the impacted communities and reduce the economic costs and risks associated with disasters.

Madam Chair, our country has provided billions of dollars in infrastructure funding for dams, schools and roads in Iraq and Afghanistan on an emergency basis. We certainly can do no less for our own citizens in our own country. I urge passage of the underlying legislation and Chairman Frelinghuysen's amendment.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. I appreciate the chairman yielding. I would simply conclude by saying one of my colleagues mentioned that we have a crisis. We do have a crisis--a crisis of indecision in this Chamber. We are under a continuing resolution. This committee is not allowed to complete its work. That creates inefficiencies at the Department of Defense, endangering our security.

The chairman talked about the impact on across-the-board cuts and sequestration, and now we're going to pile on with more cuts. The fact is the goal the gentleman is looking for is not going to happen, and I will simply give you one example. By stringing out acquisition and modernization, you increase the cost to the American taxpayer. I would ask my colleagues to oppose this amendment.

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