Feb 23 2022
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and the Louisiana congressional delegation urged leaders on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to dedicate additional disaster recovery funds for Louisiana.
“This is an urgent crisis: families across Louisiana are struggling to house people and meet their basic life-sustaining needs today. We respectfully request swift action to make good on the promise of the down payment in the September Continuing Resolution and appropriate additional supplemental funding dollars for unmet needs in Louisiana. South Louisiana has been hit by unprecedented disaster and needs the support of the Congress to put them on the path to a full recovery,” the lawmakers wrote.
Congress must pass an additional government funding bill by March 11, 2022, and a year-and-a-half of natural disasters—including a historic winter storm, severe flooding and Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta and Ida—has left Louisiana in need of additional recovery aid.
The delegation also called for Congress to invest more in pre-disaster mitigation and protection from future floods.
Kennedy also spoke on the Senate floor ahead of the most recent funding extension to urge Congress not to forget Louisianians’ need for disaster relief aid in the upcoming government funding deal.
Kennedy fought for nearly $600 million in disaster relief to be included in the short-term funding bill that became law after passing the Senate on Sept. 30, 2021. The legislation also extended the National Flood Insurance Program without raising the debt limit. This law provided $595 million to Louisiana.
Kennedy is the only member of the Louisiana delegation who sits on an appropriations committee.
- On Feb. 16, the Senate Small Business Committee passed the Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act, which would allow rural homeowners, renters and small businesses to access disaster relief more easily in the wake of a natural disaster. Kennedy helped introduce the bill.
- On Oct. 19, 2021, the Senate passed the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, which Kennedy helped introduce. The bill would allow state governments to use unspent pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to provide relief for natural disaster victims and to invest in infrastructure needs. The bill is waiting for a vote in the House.
- On Aug. 2, 2021, Kennedy offered an amendment to the Senate’s infrastructure bill providing $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta. The Senate blocked the amendment.
- On July 21, 2021, Kennedy joined Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging the Office of Management and Budget to prioritize Louisiana’s request for supplemental disaster relief.
- On July 15, 2021, Kennedy introduced and asked the Senate to pass the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act of 2021. The bill would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from historic storms. The Senate blocked the bill’s passage.
- On May 18, 2021, Kennedy urged President Biden to provide supplemental disaster relief for southwest Louisiana.
- On Sept. 4, 2020, Kennedy wrote to Senate leadership, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), to request that the Senate consider emergency supplemental aid to help Louisiana residents recover from Hurricane Laura.
The letter is available here.