WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and John Kennedy (R-LA), are urging U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to “take immediate action” on issuing specific guidance regarding the duplication of benefits fix passed by Congress and signed into law in October.
“It is unacceptable that bureaucracy is further slowing the recovery efforts of many homeowners impacted by flooding in 2016,” write Dr. Cassidy and Kennedy. “Nearly 6,000 Louisianians are waiting for HUD to issue legal guidance to unlock access to CDBG recovery assistance. … Your department must quickly issue a policy to allow individuals to use CDBG funds for the specific purpose of paying back SBA disaster loans.”
Until HUD issues guidelines on legislation passed by Congress, Louisiana flood victims are blocked from receiving assistance because they obtained U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.
Senators Cassidy and Kennedy are withholding their approval of two HUD nominees until the guidelines are issued.
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Secretary Carson,
We write today requesting your immediate attention regarding major ongoing disaster recovery issues in Louisiana. It is unacceptable that bureaucracy is now slowing the recovery efforts of many homeowners impacted by flooding in 2016. As you are aware, Louisiana homeowners are waiting on your department to issue specific guidance to obtain Community Disaster Block Grants (CDBG) for disaster recovery. We urge you to take immediate action to deliver relief to our state.
Nearly 6,000 Louisianians are waiting for HUD to issue legal guidance to allow access to CDBG recovery assistance. These individuals obtained loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration and were previously denied access to CDBG and the Restore Louisiana recovery grant program because of it. Your department must quickly issue a policy to allow individuals to use CDBG funds for the specific purpose of paying back SBA disaster loans. Congress passed legislation to fix this issue, which was signed into law by President Trump. It is the intent of Congress to permit these flood victims to access Restore Louisiana recovery grants. We strongly urge you to observe Congressional intent and issue the required guidance as quickly as possible.
We are aware that you have two HUD nominees awaiting confirmation before the Senate: Mr. Robert Kurtz and Mr. Seth Appleton. When HUD officially publishes guidance to allow Louisiana homeowners to access disaster recovery grants and observes Congressional intent related to duplication of benefits, we will end our efforts to block your nominees.
Thank you for your prompt attention. We respectfully ask that you provide request as soon as possible.