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Public Statements

Disaster Loan Fairness Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MARINO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 6296, the Disaster Loan Fairness Act of 2012, introduced by my colleague from Pennsylvania, Representative Barletta.

Our districts cross each other in several counties, so we both have experienced the disaster that took place in the 10th and 11th District.

At the end of August 2011, Hurricane Irene caused severe flooding and widespread power outages in eastern Pennsylvania. With the ground saturated and waterways at a very high level, Tropical Storm Lee arrived about one week later, causing historic widespread flooding in most of central and eastern Pennsylvania. The 10th Congressional District that I represent was particularly hit hard.

Ten of the 14 counties in the district were impacted by the flood. The storm knew no boundaries. It hit homes and businesses, government offices and schools, farms, cemeteries, and churches. I visited with families and individuals who had lost everything.

I traveled to many businesses, both large and small, that were affected, like the Knoebels Amusement Park in Northumberland County, where I watched workers and owner clean up four inches of mud that covered the ground across the entire park.

While the people of my district have made heroic efforts to rebuild, they have faced many obstacles. One of these is finding loan opportunities which they need to finance the rebuilding of their homes and businesses.

Unless you have lived through a disaster and visited with families that have been through the experience, it is hard to imagine the hopelessness and desperation that people experience when the rebuilding process begins.

H.R. 6296 will provide critical relief to disaster victims in my district and across the country by lowering the interest rate on SBA disaster loans. This legislation, which will, on average, lower rates on SBA disaster loans by 1 1/2 to 2 percent, will give Americans impacted by disaster the ability to begin the process of rebuilding their lives and livelihoods.

I had the occasion to hear a little of the argument prior to this concerning the conventions getting money, and there was an issue raised about it's only $36 million. Well, there's nobody in this room that doesn't think $1 million is a lot of money, and I certainly think $36 million is a whole heck of a lot of money.

Now, we can send money to conventions. That should be the responsibility of each party, regardless of what side of the aisle you're on.

But we also send taxpayer money to countries that hate us, so I think it's about time we start helping the American people with their own tax dollars.

I urge all of my colleagues to join with me and Representative Barletta in support of this important legislation.

I had one experience that just stuck in my mind. During the flood, I visited a family who wasn't in their house.

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Mr. MARINO. I want to share an experience I had touring the same areas that Lou did. And it was a family of six; they weren't able to be in their house. It was a blue collar family. It was half a double.

They wouldn't even be able to sit on their porch or stand in their front yard. That's how bad the flood was. Most of their furniture and belongings were out on the front yard, just totally lost.

They sat on the back of a pickup truck. A 6-year-old little girl, 6 or 8 years old, said to me, Are you here to help, because we don't have a bed to sleep in and we don't have a room to sleep in. What are we going to do tonight?

That is what we're faced with. We're supposed to be helping our people in our district, and I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

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