WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) today spoke to Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and urged him to support a disaster funding component for Louisiana families and businesses in the FY 2017 Appropriations Measure.
“As a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, my No. 1 priority has been and will continue to be securing more disaster relief money for those impacted by the March and August flooding last year in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I do not want our families to lose their homes to foreclosure or our businesses to close because of these historic, unprecedented events. Nearly 200,000 families were impacted by last year's floods. This was an epic event that requires the nation's help. I will move Heaven and Earth to ensure that our Louisiana families and businesses receive the assistance they need in order to recover and thrive.”
Sens. Kennedy and Cassidy asked Mulvaney for more than $2 billion in unmet recovery needs to help middle income families and small business owners, mitigate the risk of future floods and assist Louisiana's farmers; $296 million in repairs and rebuilding needs following the EF-3 tornado at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans; Small Business Association loan forgiveness on disaster loans; an easing of the restrictions on schools that did not have flood insurance; and permission for Housing and Urban Development to waive site-specific environmental review regulations.
“Our meeting with Director Mulvaney was productive, and I know that he will do what he can to help. Every single request is more than reasonable. In fact, as a nation, we've taken similar steps to help victims following other disasters,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I am so thankful for the financial assistance that Congress has already provided to our flood victims, and I hope Gov. Edwards gets it to them soon. We need just a little bit more for a robust recovery. "
The Office of Management and Budget works with the president to develop budget proposals. The FY 2017 Appropriations Measure will fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year. Sen. Kennedy has made flood relief his top request on the list he submitted to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for the FY 2017 Appropriations Measure.
Sen. Kennedy has been working on behalf of flood victims since taking office in January. Here's a timeline of his actions:
- Jan. 4, 2017: Sen. Kennedy met with HUD Secretary Ben Carson ahead of his confirmation hearing to discuss Community Development Block Grant funding for the recovery.
- Jan. 12, 2017: During the confirmation hearing, Sen. Kennedy told Carson that nearly $1.7 billion in disaster aid needed to get into the hands of Louisiana's flood victims. Link to Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
- Feb. 9, 2017: Sen. Kennedy and Gov. Edwards met with HUD to discuss problems complicating the recovery.
- Feb. 20, 2017: Senate staff visited Louisiana to tour the flood damage. Sen. Kennedy successfully pushed for Acadiana to be included on the tour.
- March 3, 2017: Sen. Kennedy wrote Secretary Carson about issues facing flood victims. Link to letter.
- March 14, 2017: Sen. Kennedy again met with Secretary Carson.
- April 3, 2017: Sen. Kennedy wrote Mulvaney requesting additional funding. Link to letter.
- April 7, 2017: Sens. Kennedy and Cassidy met with the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and followed up with a letter about additional CDBG federal disaster assistance. Link to letter.
- April 12, 2017: Sens. Kennedy and Cassidy requested additional Department of Justice funding to replace law enforcement equipment, vehicles and facilities as well as to help cover overtime costs due to the flooding. Link to letter.
- April 19, 2017: Sen. Kennedy spoke by phone with Mulvaney.
- April 19, 2017: Sen. Kennedy wrote to the U.S. Small Business Administration requesting that the duplication issue on SBA loans be resolved. Link to letter.