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Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LOEBSACK. I thank the chairman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, my home State is still recovering from billions of dollars in damage after the floods of 2008, which were the worst disaster in our State's history and one of the worst disasters in our Nation's history.

Unfortunately, today we have communities that have been awarded funds through the FEMA Public Assistance program that are afraid that over a year after the funds were awarded to replace buildings, and local funds have been spent, FEMA may be required to take back that funding at no fault of the community. That's what those folks are afraid of.

We shouldn't leave our local communities holding the bag on a failed project, destroyed and decaying buildings, and a loss of local taxpayer funds.

I don't believe that FEMA should come into one of our communities and take back disaster recovery funding over a year after it's already been awarded and after our communities have already spent a large amount of their taxpayers' money with the understanding that the project was moving forward.

Communities recovering from disasters right now, as I know the chairman's has, are also struggling in the worst recession since the Great Depression. The last thing they need is to have even more uncertainty thrown at them by losing disaster recovery assistance.

Disaster recovery must be a collaboration. Our local communities should not have the rug pulled out from under them, after years of struggling to recover, because the Federal Government committed support for rebuilding a community and then later took back that support. We need to maintain a partnership with States and communities, which means confidence that the Federal Government's promise of recovery funding means something.

Mr. Chairman, I just hope that we can work together with FEMA to ensure that taxpayer dollars are protected, that we can work together at all levels to rebuild communities and economies destroyed by disasters all over this great Nation, and that a local community's recovery can continue to move forward while we address any issues outside the community's ongoing recovery process.


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