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Motion to Instruct Conferees on H.R. 2112, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. OLVER. I thank the gentleman for yielding time.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the motion to instruct conferees. This motion would instruct the conferees to provide adequate funding to the Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief program in order to eliminate the backlog of repairs needed as a result of hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters.

Since the Hayden-Cartwright Act of 1934, Congress has repeatedly recognized the need to provide assistance to States when unanticipated disasters occur without conditioning the support on cuts to other programs.

Currently, there is roughly $1.75 billion in emergency relief backlog covering disasters in 37 States. The 2012 year has been an unusually active one for natural disasters, and 33 States have experienced declared disasters totaling $1.4 billion since the beginning of this year alone.

This includes $50 million in repairs that are needed in my State, Massachusetts, due to tornadoes in the spring and damage from Hurricane Irene; $42 million needed by Iowa to repair damage from Missouri River spring floods; and $100 million in Ohio due to severe rainfalls in the early spring.

Mr. Speaker, as we have done 20 times since 1989 during both Republican and Democratic Congresses, we have a responsibility to our neighbors to provide them funding needed to address their emergency relief needs.

Mr. Speaker, the chart I have in my hand references those 20 acts of Congress. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the motion to instruct conferees.


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