Congress praised for early flood aid package, but leaders say more is needed
BATON ROUGE - Governor John Bel Edwards praised Congress for its effort to secure up to $500 million for flood relief Thursday, but stressed the need for additional money to help people in flood-ravaged south Louisiana rebuild.
The money is made available in a federal, short-term continuing resolution item. U.S. Senator David Vitter said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will distribute the money to states with disasters in 2016. Louisiana is expected to receive a major portion of those funds via the Community Development Block Grant Program, and the state is expected to use that funding for housing recovery efforts and other unmet recovery needs.
"I couldn't be more appreciative of the collaborative , bipartisan manner in which we all worked to have this funding included in the CR so quickly. Everyone, from our entire congressional delegation to Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, played a significant role in making this happen," Governor Edwards said. "Make no mistake, this is a down payment from the federal government on our recovery needs, and I am hopeful and optimistic that the final CR passed by Congress will include this assistance. I look forward to working with Congress in the coming months to address Louisiana's long-term flood relief."
Edwards made three trips to Washington, DC to lobby Congress for federal assistance in the CR. During his visits, he met with Congressional leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. In addition, Gov. Edwards met with various members of Congress who are influential in the appropriations process and related to flood insurance, as well as members of the Obama Administration.
Vitter commented the money allocated is a good start, but "Louisiana needs much more assistance and federal aid to start the rebuilding process."
The Senate is expected to consider this language in the next few days, Vitter said.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz