06.17.21

Cassidy Calls for Disaster Supplemental, Relief for Louisiana Communities on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today delivered another speech on the Senate floor calling for a disaster supplemental to aid Louisiana communities recovering from 2020 storms. Last year set a record for the most named storms, 30 in a season, with five making landfall in Louisiana, also a record. The strongest of which, Laura a category 4 hurricane, devastated Lake Charles, Louisiana and was followed by Hurricane Delta, a category 2 hurricane, just over a month later. Louisiana farmers were also hit with catastrophic damage to livestock, crops and structures during unprecedented winter storms.

“June marks the start of Atlantic hurricane season. 2021 is upon us and my constituents are still suffering from the storms of 2020. People in Louisiana are hurting. I may sound like a broken record but this needs to be repeated: We cannot afford to allow the impact of an entire years’ worth of natural disasters to go unaddressed,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We’re past due on moving quickly. It’s likely going to be another difficult year for many. The people of Southwest Louisiana deserve better. This region has been pounded. My job is to do what I can to help this region get fully back on its feet. Once again, I call on my colleagues in the House and Senate with a simple message: let’s get a supplemental disaster done.

Cassidy’s full speech as prepared for delivery can be found below: 

Mr. President, 

June marks the start of Atlantic hurricane season. 2021 is upon us and my constituents are still suffering from the storms of 2020.

People in Louisiana are hurting. I took to the Senate floor last month stressing the need for a disaster supplemental while Lake Charles and Baton Rouge were being hammered by heavy rains and severe flooding.

At the time, Lake Charles got somewhere between 8 to 15 inches of rain in less than 12 hours. It was utterly heartbreaking to see Lake Charles hit again by a natural disaster. In Baton Rouge, they got a torrent of more than 13 inches of rain overnight with 15,000 homes and businesses without power the next morning in East Baton Rouge Parish.

This comes on the heels of Hurricanes Laura and Delta. And unprecedented winter storms which unleashed catastrophic damage to livestock, crops and structures for Louisiana farmers. 

For those that need a refresher, 2020 set a record for the most named storms—30 in a season with five making landfall in Louisiana. That’s also a record. Hurricane Laura was the strongest to hit Louisiana. This category 4 hurricane devastated Lake Charles. It was quickly followed by Hurricane Delta, a category 2 hurricane, six weeks later. 

NOAA calculates the damage from Hurricane Laura at 19 billion dollars and Hurricane Delta at 2.9 billion dollars.

Hurricane Laura wreaked havoc through devastating winds, which reached 150 miles per hour at landfall. It was the strongest hurricane to hit Louisiana since 1856.

Hurricane Delta’s poison was a heavy deluge of rain. In LeBleu Settlement, just northeast of Lake Charles, they received nearly 18 inches of rainfall. 

I may sound like a broken record but this needs to be repeated: We cannot afford to allow the impact of an entire years’ worth of natural disasters to go unaddressed.

Just two weeks ago I was in Lake Charles. I heard about the incredible frustration surrounding rebuilding in the aftermath of all these storms. You see the ruin these storms left in their path. You see a church with its roof ripped off. You see houses covered with tarps. You hear stories from members of the community who are still not back in their houses.

These weather events were tragic, but the lack of action on recovery is a travesty.

In March, my colleague from Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and I urged the Biden administration to support a supplemental disaster appropriations effort to direct urgently needed federal resources to communities throughout America that are struggling to recover from hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters from 2020. 

pled our case to President Biden when he visited Louisiana in early May. I will continue to do so. 

We need programs like Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery, mitigation funding and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funding for Southwest Coastal Louisiana hurricane and storm damage risk reduction, Emergency Solutions Grants, and Social Services Block Grants to provide assistance to thousands of families who lost their homes due to hurricanes like those in Cameron and Calcasieu Parish. 

We’re past due on moving quickly. It’s likely going to be another difficult year for many. The people of Southwest Louisiana deserve better.

This region has been pounded. My job is to do what I can to help this region get fully back on its feet.  

Once again, I call on my colleagues in the House and Senate with a simple message: let’s get a supplemental disaster done.

With that, I yield back. 

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