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Public Statements

Public Housing Disaster Relief Act of 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I thank the gentleman from Mississippi.

Mr. Speaker, I guess as I get older my memory is even worse than I thought. I thought I remembered what it was like when the Republicans were in power. But I don't seem to remember any of those bills my friend from Texas was just talking about. Apparently they were saving them up until we came to power, because I don't remember them ever bringing them up when we were here.

Having said that, I do want to apologize to my friends on the other side for talking about the legislation under consideration. I hope they will indulge me as I do that.

And as I do it, I want to say that I think what we've seen in the bill being brought forward by our newest colleagues from Louisiana and Mississippi is the importance of timing. We've had this problem in which public housing authorities in Louisiana and Mississippi were being treated unfairly. This is not singling them out for special treatment. This is ending a bureaucratic glitch that disadvantaged them. And we're doing it in the way that was suggested by the Bush administration, and I give them credit for that.

But it ought to be clear to people that having new Members here from Louisiana and Mississippi, the areas affected, had an impact. They are both on the Financial Services Committee, and I'm very proud that the Financial Services Committee on which they are now members gave them the opportunity to bring this bill forward.

I also want to express my appreciation to the gentleman from Mississippi and the gentleman from Texas, the Chair and Subcommittee Chair of the Homeland Security Committee.

One of the things that plagues this institution is jurisdictional arguments and turf fights. I'm very pleased that we've been able, my colleagues particularly on the Homeland Security Committee, to work so closely together on this. I'm also glad to say that this is genuinely a bipartisan issue, and I appreciate the Republicans supporting us.

But I do want to stress again, this is no special deal for Louisiana and Mississippi. By a bureaucratic glitch, the existence of a provision that has never been funded keeps them from getting money to replace public housing that was destroyed. And there's a Federal program under FEMA that provides Federal funds for public buildings that are destroyed. This simply allows public housing a fair share.


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