Texas and Louisiana Senators respond to the federal efforts underway for Hurricane Harvey.
Senator Bill Cassidy said he’s spoken with federal officials and was assured that Louisiana will be prepared if conditions get worse. While Texas Senators said their work is just beginning.
“This is going to be a long haul. We’re trying to save people’s lives, we’re trying to make sure they have a place to live, safe water to drink, sewage, electricity and the like, but this is going to be a long challenge,” said Sen. John Cornyn, (R) Texas.
“We can continue the policy debate for months on end but at a time of crisis we stand united with our local officials, our state officials,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, (R) Texas.
Senator Cassidy said he spoke with Vice President Mike Pence, two cabinet secretaries and the Admiral of the Coast Guard in New Orleans.
“They assured us everything we need as far as rescue and for immediate relief or long-term recovery will be made available,” Sen. Cassidy said.
He said Hurricane Katrina changed how Congress appropriates money to FEMA for disasters. Now FEMA keeps on money on hand to immediately help communities, but long-term recovery requires special appropriations.
“There will be an assessment afterwards and that assessment will go into a block grant that is given by the federal tax payer to that states and localities,” Cassidy said.
He also said there’s talks on the federal level for flood prevention and insurance programs that would add 400-million-dollars to its budget.
“Over the last five years there’s only been 200-million-dollars total. We would 400-million every year and it’s paid for, for communities to prevent flooding,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy said he also has staff stationed in south Louisiana who are updating him on what may be needed in the coming days.