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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 152, Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this rule which prevents consideration of critical amendments offered by me and my colleagues from disaster-affected States.

I'm particularly disappointed that my amendment was not even allowed a vote, as it would ensure that all States that received a major disaster declaration due to Hurricane Sandy are able to receive EPA State and tribal assistance grants. The failure of the House bill to provide this assistance to every State receiving a Presidential disaster declaration following Sandy is troubling and, quite frankly, extremely disappointing. The refusal of the majority to allow this amendment to come for a vote is even worse.

The Senate passed a fair and balanced relief package last year providing assistance for all of our communities and industries affected by a major disaster declaration, including our fishing industry. I'm deeply disappointed that this legislation before us reverses course, denying assistance to certain communities affected by Sandy, particularly after the House Republicans have delayed nearly 3 months in bringing even this flawed bill to the floor.

In this Congress, we've made it clear that we help our communities when they're in need when disaster strikes, and this bill doesn't adequately address assistance to all communities that have been impacted.

For these reasons, I will vote against the rule in the hope that we can improve the overall bill to include these critical amendments. But with that being said, should that rule pass, as flawed as it is, I won't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and I would urge my colleagues to act in good faith and pass the disaster assistance bill free from additional legislative gimmicks that will only further imperil its success.

With that, I thank the gentlelady for yielding. This bill is by no means perfect, but our States can't afford to wait another 3 months.


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