Menendez Statement on Senate Passage of FEMA Disaster Relief Package

Menendez Statement on Senate Passage of FEMA Disaster Relief Package

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D- NJ) issued the following statement regarding today's passage by the U.S. Senate of a $6.9 billion FEMA disaster relief package. Passage came after several attempts by Republicans to delay the aid at a time when communities throughout 47 states are suffering in the aftermaths of hurricane Irene and other hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires. The measure includes an immediate $500 million for FEMA to shore up its disaster relief fund, an additional $4.6 billion for next year and $1.3 billion for Army Corps of Engineers flood control projects. The bill also provides $135 million for the Economic Development Administration, $100 million for Community Development Block Grants and $266 million for the Department of Agriculture to respond to disaster recovery efforts.

The disaster package must now return to the House where many Republicans have said that any disaster aid must be offset by cuts to programs elsewhere. Without this measure, aid for victims of disasters is expected to run out around the end of this month - stopping all relief actions. As of Sunday, more than 31,000 individuals in New Jersey had registered with FEMA for disaster help.

"Today's vote is a victory for the thousands of families throughout our state who are struggling to recover and rebuild. But even as we applaud this victory, the fight for our families is far from over. Too many House Republicans have already made clear whose side they're on when it comes to getting relief to the people who need it, or bending to the political whims of the Tea Party. It's just not the American way to turn our backs on those suffering from this devastation. It's time for House Republicans to put Tea Party economics aside and stand on the side of the thousands of communities who need relief now."

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