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Mr. PALAZZO. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013. I want to thank Chairman Shuster, Congressman Denham, and the entire Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for their work to bring this very important piece of disaster relief reform legislation to the floor this week.
Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to travel to the hardest hit areas of New York and New Jersey to see firsthand the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. It immediately reminded me of the devastation we in Mississippi experienced after Hurricane Katrina just 7 years ago. When you look at the response to hurricanes such as Sandy and Katrina and other superstorms that have hit in recent years, there is no doubt in my mind that we have a broken system.
Last week, I took a vote against propping up a bankrupt and broken system without any serious reforms, and today, I proudly stand before this body to advocate for some commonsense reforms on how we administer disaster relief.
The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 scheduled for consideration today is the first step in a much longer process of reforming our disaster relief system. Improving resiliency, increasing mitigation efforts, and changing the way we pay for disaster relief will be key to this discussion.
I'm especially grateful for the committee's work in adding my language to this bill which will require FEMA to develop recommendations to Congress for a national strategy to reduce future costs and loss of life associated with these extreme weather events. Make no mistake, the Northeast needs our help now in ensuring the victims of Sandy receive the relief they so desperately require and need, and I want to encourage my colleagues to join me in support of both today's bill and the remaining Sandy relief measures we will take up this week. But I also believe there's no better time to address the very real needs of our broken disaster relief system. We must not only build back, we must build forward. That's why I'm proud to support this legislation to improve and streamline disaster relief in our country.
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