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Senators Lead Call to Pass Supplemental Disaster Relief

March 4, 2019, 12:04 PM HST
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Sens. Mazie K. Hirono and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) led nine other senators in urging the bipartisan leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives to pass disaster supplemental legislation that includes much needed relief for states like Hawai‘i and California, Tribal Nations and U.S. Territories.

“We urge you to immediately bring up for consideration disaster supplemental appropriations that are sufficient to meet the needs of all affected communities,” the Senators wrote.In 2018 alone, 124 federal disaster declarations were approved for states, territories, and tribal nations across our country. These disasters, which have come in a variety of forms, including severe storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and volcanic activity, have placed a severe strain on our local communities’ resources. In addition, there are communities in Puerto Rico and elsewhere that are still struggling to recover from previous disasters. Providing desperately needed relief to impacted communities should be a bipartisan, bicameral priority and continued inaction is unacceptable. As such, we urge you to bring legislation providing disaster supplemental appropriations to your respective floors for consideration immediately.”

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.),and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also signed the letter.

Last month, Sen. Hirono urged Linda McMahon, the Administrator the Small Business Administration, to continue SBA’s assistance to residents, home owners, and business owners impacted by last year’s volcanic activity on Hawai‘i Island.

Full text of the letter:

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

Now that Congress has funded the federal government through the end of this fiscal year, we are writing in the interest of all the communities impacted by recent disasters to request a continuation of the bipartisanship this body has previously demonstrated in providing aid for disaster recovery and rebuilding.

Specifically, we urge you to immediately bring up for consideration disaster supplemental appropriations that are sufficient to meet the needs of all affected communities. In 2018 alone, 124 federal disaster declarations were approved for states, territories, and tribal nations across our country. These disasters, which have come in a variety of forms including severe storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and volcanic activity, have placed a severe strain on our local communities’ resources. In addition, there are communities in Puerto Rico and elsewhere that are still struggling to recover from previous disasters.

Providing desperately needed relief to impacted communities should be a bipartisan, bicameral priority and continued inaction is unacceptable. As such, we urge you to bring legislation providing disaster supplemental appropriations to your respective floors for consideration immediately.

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