CHAIRMAN BISHOP AND CONGRESSMAN SCOTT HERALD PASSAGE OF EXPANDED DISASTER APPROPRIATIONS BILL
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, and Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08) issued the following statement after the full House of Representatives passed a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill by 354-58, sending it directly to the President’s desk:
“I am overwhelmingly relieved that Americans will finally receive much needed disaster assistance after months of waiting for the Administration and the Senate to stop playing politics,” said Chairman Bishop. “After several unnecessary delays last week by three House GOP members, the vote today sends the disaster bill to the President to be signed into law.”
“In October, Hurricane Michael ripped through Georgia, leaving an estimated $3 billion in agricultural damages in its wake. For months, Rep. Bishop and I have worked in a bipartisan fashion with our colleagues in Congress and state officials to ensure our Georgia farmers and rural communities devastated by this storm receive the help they need to put the pieces back together again,” said Rep. Scott. “While I remain frustrated that it has taken eight months to get this relief, today Georgians can rest a little easier knowing that this package has passed through Congress and is on its way to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.”
From coast to coast and across the territories, our nation was suffering from the effects of natural disasters. Middle and Southwest Georgia were directly hit by Hurricane Michael in October 2018, that left a path of destruction all the way up to Virginia—killing more than two million chickens and causing nearly 100 percent crop losses. The Carolinas had already suffered billions in damages a month earlier from Hurricane Florence and California had one of the largest and deadliest fires on record. Volcanic eruptions in Hawaii cost pineapple farmers nearly $30 million in damages, while the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa were also hit by violent cyclones. And yet, these Americans were put on the backburner due to the Administration’s belief that spending on natural disaster relief was “unnecessary.”
Last January, Chairman Bishop and Congressman Scott worked tirelessly to pass an Emergency Disaster Appropriations bill to help farmers and communities recover from these natural disasters. In response, the Administration released a statement of policy opposing the $1.1 billion provided for crop and livestock losses and threatened to veto the disaster relief bill. Meanwhile, farmers all across the nation knew planting season was near and missing this window, due to a lack of disaster relief, would have long lasting adverse impacts on agriculture and ultimately increase costs for American consumers.
Nearly a month ago, the House passed a second expanded bill with additional funds to address catastrophic flooding in the Midwest, in hopes the Senate would heed their calls for urgency. The Senate Majority Leader refused to allow a vote on either of the relief bills until two weeks ago, after the House had gone home for the Memorial Day District Work Period. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 85-8.
“I strongly urge the President to sign the disaster bill immediately and do right by all Americans affected by natural disasters,” said Chairman Bishop.
The $19.1 billion disaster aid bill passed the House of Representatives by 354-58. A summary of the bicameral, bipartisan disaster relief package is available here.