Governors & Mayors Call for FEMA Funding Now – Time for GOP to Compromise

This afternoon a group of Republican and Democratic governors – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R), and North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue (D) – called on Congress to pass a disaster assistance bill without delay:

“Our states have been hit hard by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. While the flood waters have receded and the storms are passed, the damage to communities, businesses and infrastructure remains significant. Billions of dollars in loss and destruction pose a serious threat not only to local and regional economies, but to the nation’s economic recovery.

Our states’ governments and our citizens are doing their part to restore and rebuild.

The federal government must also do its part.

Federal assistance for the victims of storms and floods should be beyond politics. Within 10 days of Hurricane Katrina, Congress passed and the President signed over $60 billion in aid for the Gulf Coast. It’s been 28 days since Irene and Lee started battering our states. We urge this Congress to move swiftly to ensure that disaster aid through FEMA and other federal programs is sufficient to start rebuilding now.” [9/23]

And the U.S. Conference of Mayors – representing nearly 1,200 mayors – sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging immediate passage of a clean disaster assistance bill:

I write on behalf of the nation’s mayors to urge you to replenish the Disaster Relief Fund right away and to do so without requiring other programs to be cut. If anything warrants emergency funding, it is disaster assistance. To do otherwise violates our nation’s commitment to its communities and their residents and small businesses to help them recover from disasters — events over which they have no control. [9/23]

They join Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell who, earlier this week, urged Congress to pass a bill funding FEMA and not waste time worrying about the deficit debate:

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, breaking with fellow Republican Cantor, on Tuesday suggested that deficit-spending concerns should not be a factor as Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency respond to Hurricane Irene.

“My concern is that we help people in need,” McDonnell said during his monthly radio show. “For the FEMA money that’s going to flow, it’s up to them on how they get it. I don’t think it’s the time to get into that [deficit] debate.” [9/23]

Democrats offered a compromise and stand ready to work with Republicans on a bipartisan bill that funds the government and provides critical assistance to states recently impacted by natural disasters without jeopardizing American jobs.

It’s time for House and Senate Republicans to put politics aside and pass a bill to help Americans restore and rebuild their communities.