Failure of the passage of a continuing resolution has led to many federal offices and services shutting down. Understandably, there is concern about whether such a shutdown will impact federal flood relief assistance in Colorado. While Vice President Biden was touring flood damage in Colorado last week, he spoke at length about how a government shutdown would not halt flood relief efforts by any means. In fact, Vice President Biden said that "none of the federal assistance that we're providing--none of it--is going to be impacted even if there is a government shutdown" (click here for full video).
Rep. Cory Gardner released the following statement on federal flood relief in Colorado:
"I am grateful for Vice President Biden's visit to Colorado last week, and am glad that he was able to view the damage caused by this tragic flooding for himself. The Obama administration's willingness to offer assistance since the flooding began has been appreciated by all Coloradans who were impacted.
"Along with Governor Hickenlooper, myself and members of the Colorado Congressional delegation, we stood two feet away from Vice President Biden while he spoke at a press conference in Greeley and promised that federal assistance in Colorado would not be impacted in the event of a government shutdown. As President Obama's chief surrogate, I trust Vice President Biden's word. The President and Vice President must stay true to their promise and see to it that federal assistance is not slowed or stopped in any way as the Vice President promised.
"As the chief executive of our state, Governor Hickenlooper must ensure that President Obama keeps his promise and sees to it that federal assistance is not slowed or stopped in any way. Members of the Colorado Congressional delegation are working hard here in Washington to secure relief, and our elected officials in Colorado must do the same."
Gardner sent a letter to President Obama today reminding him of the Vice President's promise. Text of the letter is below:
Dear Mr. President:
As you know, Colorado is recovering from some of the most devastating floods in state history. Catastrophic water levels caused over $1 billion in damage to infrastructure and property throughout my district and other areas in the state. More than 20,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, eight individuals lost their lives, and overflowing rivers left a path of devastation. I am grateful for the recovery efforts led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Guard, and others involved in this process. Federal assistance is critical in this time of need and I have fought to ensure that funds are available for disaster relief. On September 30th, my legislation that would raise the cap on disaster-related transportation funds successfully passed the House.
Unfortunately, Congress has not yet come to an agreement to fund the federal government and the nation is now facing the effects of a government shutdown. While I am working diligently with my colleagues to resolve this funding gap, it is vitally important that the people of Colorado do not suffer as a result of gridlock in Washington. To this end, I was pleased to hear Vice President Biden pledge to the people of Colorado that "none of the federal assistance that we're providing--none of it--is going to be impacted even if there is a government shutdown." This commitment from the White House is reassuring for my constituents and others in the state worried about the impact a shutdown might have on disaster funds. I appreciate your support in this recovery and look forward to working on behalf of the thousands affected by these recent events.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (202) 225-4676. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Member of Congress