Sens. Hawley and Blunt Decry Lack of Action on Disaster Aid Bill

Friday, April 12, 2019

U.S. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) joined a group of colleagues to address Senate Democrats’ efforts to stall disaster relief legislation for emergency flooding in the Midwest.

Earlier this month, Senators Hawley and Blunt voted in support of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) emergency supplemental appropriations legislation, which would have been a step toward making the states devastated by the recent flooding – including Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska – eligible for aid. The bill failed and Democrats prevented similar bills from coming up for a vote this week.

“Although more will be needed in the future, this package would have expedited critical aid for Missourians whose homes, crops, and livestock have been destroyed by catastrophic flooding,” said Senator Josh Hawley. “It’s shameful that Democrats would hold hostage aid to farmers and ranchers in order to settle political scores. This is Washington at its worst.”

“Historic flooding has devastated farms, destroyed homes, and damaged vital infrastructure systems in Missouri,” said Senator Roy Blunt. “I’m disappointed Senate Democrats have stood in the way of getting much-needed resources to flood impacted areas. We need to get this aid package to the president’s desk. With damage assessments still ongoing, we must also be ready to move forward on any additional assistance that will be needed to help communities recover.”

In late March, Sens. Hawley and Blunt toured flood damage in Northwest Missouri and emphasized the need to get relief to impacted communities. Other members of neighboring states also weighed in on the matter.

“Iowa farmers are under water, literally and financially, due to the floods that have ravaged portions of the state,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). “It is the responsibility of Congress to step up during times of crisis and help out our fellow Americans. But rather than come to the aid of disaster victims in Iowa and throughout the country, congressional Democrats are playing politics. Iowans who need help to put their lives back together will certainly remember this as the same Democrat senators who voted ‘no’ ask for their vote in 2020.”

“Nebraskans are suffering after being hit by blizzards and severe flooding. It’s extremely upsetting that Senate Democrats are holding Nebraska’s relief funds hostage over their demand for additional resources for Puerto Rico, which already has received $41 billion in approved funds,” said Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.). “People in my state are traumatized, and we need to get a funding bill that includes Nebraska passed now. I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides to do so.

“The political hackery from Senate Democrats is dumb and it needs to end now,” said Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). “We’re still recovering from the biggest natural disaster in our state’s history. Nebraskans rolled up their sleeves and went to work, but Congress is playing typical partisan politics. This is shameful.”

Republican senators have worked to negotiate in good faith on a bipartisan disaster relief package to provide funding across the continental United States as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands for regions that have experienced droughts, flooding, hurricanes, storms, volcanoes, wildfires, and other natural disasters.

Historically, the federal government has stepped in to help victims recovering from natural disasters, and the same action is overdue and badly needed for these affected states. Despite months of negotiations, efforts to advance funding have stalled over partisan disagreements.