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Public Statements

Disaster Relief for Colorado

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GARDNER. Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, this House worked to find a solution to the impasse over the continuing resolution, sending over various options to the Senate to try to jump-start negotiations to work through an agreement to find a solution to keep our government funded.

In the early hours of this morning, we finally said to the leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid, let's find a way to meet face-to-face, through a conference committee, to negotiate a solution and avoid a government shutdown. We've passed, three times now, measures to keep the government funded and a way to find solutions to this critical issue.

But there are many people in Colorado who are struggling now because of the shutdown and who are worried about what happens to their situation, particularly those who may have been impacted by the flood. And that is why we must find a way to get government funded to find a solution to get government going back on track, while preventing policies that we know are bad for the economy.

So let's work together and find solutions but also, at the same time, ensuring certainty to people who are suffering from Colorado's greatest natural disaster.

That's why I bring to your attention a statement that the Vice President made on September 23 in Greeley, Colorado, after touring the damage and devastation that those floods caused.

I stood 2 feet away from the Vice President of the United States as he addressed the people of Colorado and said this:

None of the Federal assistance that we're providing, none if it is going to be impacted even if there is a government shutdown.

So while people may try to use this as a scare tactic, try to politicize a disaster, the Vice President himself stood before the people of Colorado and said there will be no impact on flood recovery.

And yet we have seen in the newspaper people are trying to scare people to try to take away any kind of certainty that exists, but you can't take those words back.

That's why I also sent a letter this morning to the White House reminding the White House, Mr. Speaker, of the promise that the Vice President made to the people of Colorado. And we, as elected officials in Congress, in the Senate, the Governor of Colorado, we have a responsibility to make sure that the Vice President and the President keep their word, they're true to the people of Colorado; that we make sure that, indeed, this statement:

None of the Federal assistance that we're providing, none of it is going to be impacted, even if there is a government shutdown.

So while we work to resolve this issue before the government right now, while we work to make sure that policies are put in place to return to normal operations, we cannot let this be politicized. We cannot let the people of Colorado be forgotten, and we must hold the Vice President and the President accountable and true to their word.

Mr. Speaker, I submit for the Record the letter that I sent to the White House this morning, and also the statement, in full, of the Vice President's comments.


Now a lot of you will hear probably on the national news about the potential for a government shutdown. And it's probably going to scare the living devil out of you. Well the truth of the matter is there is reason to be scared but not in terms of disaster relief. None of the federal assistance that we're providing, none of it is going to be impacted even if there is a government shutdown. I don't want folks that are here in shelters watching on TV seeing the dysfunction of Congress thinking that all, all the relief efforts that they are now benefiting from or (inaudible) are likely to continue to benefit from are going to shut down. They will not shutdown even if the Congress doesn't fund the federal government in a continuing resolution.

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