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Public Statements

Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ENGEL. I thank my dear friend, Congresswoman Lowey, for yielding to me.

I urge all of our colleagues to support the aid for the Hurricane Sandy victims. You know, we have a lot of disagreements in this Congress. We talk about issues, about spending, about taxing offsets and whatever, but those are issues. Those fights on those issues should be left for another day. It shouldn't be intermixed with the fight to get aid to the Superstorm Sandy victims. They should not be innocent pawns in this fight that we have in Congress.

I've been in this Congress for a while now, and I have voted for aid for all regions of our country, be it Katrina, be it floods and tornados. We didn't even think twice because that is what Americans do. We help our communities, help other Americans when there are natural disasters.

New York is a donor State. We actually send more money to the Federal Government than we get back, and we do it because it's the thing that we have to do. But now it's our turn. Now we need help, and so now we say to the rest of America, please help us the way we helped you in your hour of need.

The constituents in my district, in West Chester and the Bronx, and my former district in Rockland County are hurting very, very much. These are real people with real lives and real difficulties. So I beg my colleagues, please, don't vote for any poison pills that will kill this legislation.

One of the things that's really irksome is when some of my colleagues who stood up and when they had natural disasters in their district begged us for help and we gave it to them now are voting against giving help to the people of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. It's just not right.

We can argue what role the Federal Government should play, whether it's too big or too small or whatever, but no one should argue against the fact that, when Americans are in need, the Federal Government has a role in stepping in and helping them and providing for their needs. That's all we're asking for today.

I urge my colleagues to support all the aid for Hurricane Sandy and to reject any of the amendments that would take it away.


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