HARTFORD, CT — On the heels of a House vote in favor of $15.25 billion in federal disaster relief for Texas and Louisiana, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called on the nation to come together to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“This measure with the president’s support, is truly bi-partisan,” Blumenthal said Friday at a Legislative Office Building press conference.
In the wake of Harvey and with Irma, which is currently barreling toward Florida, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the relief by a 316-90 vote Friday morning after it overwhelmingly passed the Senate, 80-17. All 90 House votes against it were from Republicans.
Blumenthal said those votes didn’t overshadow the bipartisanship of the measure.
“It is the direction we need to go,” Blumenthal added. “Putting aside partisan interests and divides, as well as poison pills, coming together as one country in favor of our fellow Americans who have been struck by one disaster after another.”
With the devastation left in Houston after Harvey, and the impending damage from Irma, as well as the looming presence of Hurricane Jose in the Atlantic, it is difficult to calculate the damage caused by these natural disasters.
“The results of these massive hurricanes have been a humanitarian nightmare,” Blumenthal said. “People are without homes, without food, without medical supplies, without water. And American’s need to come to their rescue and help in their recovery. There should be nothing North or South, red or blue, no divisions ought to prevent this kind of aid.”
The $15.25 billion passed earlier today will only be the beginning.
“Clearly, tens of billions of dollars will ultimately be necessary,” Blumenthal said, “well in excess of $100 billion, going to the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, the Community Development Block Grant Fund, the Small Business Administration. Disaster relief must be bi-partisan and it must be as robust in resources as needed to help America recover.”
With no true measure as to what will be needed to recover completely, the only reality is that the restoration will take time.
“We are determined, not just to rebuild, but to do it stronger and safer,” Blumenthal noted. “When we rebuild we have to look long-term and impose resilience standards so that homes are rebuilt at elevations and code standards make them stronger and safer, [as well as] businesses rebuilt to make them more resilient.”