WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and John Kennedy (R-LA), and U.S. Representatives Steve Scalise (R-LA-1), Garret Graves (R-LA-6), Mike Johnson (R-LA-4), Clay Higgins (R-LA-3), Julia Letlow (R-LA-5) and Troy Carter (D-LA-2) today emphasized the need for disaster relief funding to President Joe Biden after Hurricane Ida devastated southeast Louisiana.
“Hurricane Ida moved slowly through Louisiana causing catastrophic wind damage and flooding in numerous parishes and leaving nearly 1,000,000 people statewide without electricity, which experts say it will take weeks to restore. At this time, many communities remain without access to drinking water, food, gasoline, and basic needs, while temperatures remain in excess of 100 degrees,” wrote the delegation.
“The full extent of Louisiana’s damages have not yet been determined and will likely not be fully known until after immediate matters of public safety are addressed,” continued the delegation.
Read the full letter here or below:
Dear President Biden,
On Sunday, August 29th, Hurricane Ida made landfall in southeast Louisiana as a Category 4 storm following a period of rapid intensification. The storm made landfall near the same area that Hurricane Katrina struck exactly 16 years before. Hurricane Katrina was a Category 3 storm with 125 miles per hour (“mph”) winds when it struck Louisiana’s coast 16 years ago. Conversely, Hurricane Ida had sustained winds of 150 mph when it made landfall, and it was just 7 mph shy of ranking as a Category 5 storm.
Hurricane Ida moved slowly through Louisiana causing catastrophic damage in numerous parishes and leaving nearly 1,000,000 people statewide without electricity. At this time, many communities remain without access to drinking water, food, gasoline, and basic needs. Consequently, you have already approved Louisiana’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration and for that we are grateful.
The full extent of Louisiana’s damages have not yet been determined and will likely not be fully known until after immediate matters of public safety are addressed. Further, Hurricane Ida is not the only disaster to strike Louisiana in the past year. In fact, a record breaking five named storms –Cristóbal, Marco, Laura, Delta, and Zeta— hammered Louisiana within the past year resulting in dozens of lives lost and billions of dollars in damages. To date, communities across Southwest and Central Louisiana such as Lake Charles, Lafayette, Leesville, and Alexandria, among others, still await desperately needed disaster funding from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to address unmet financial needs.
As such, we are writing you now to alert you to the need for Congress to provide emergency supplemental appropriations to address Hurricane Ida and the storms from last year, as was done following Hurricane Katrina. We ask that you request substantial and robust emergency appropriations from Congress to provide relief to Louisiana families that continue to languish as a result of these devastating storms. We are also attaching a copy of P.L 109-61 which was the initial emergency appropriation addressing Hurricane Katrina that became law within 4 days of Hurricane Katrina hitting Louisiana. This law provided $10 billion for the Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Disaster Relief and $500 million for the Department of Defense’s Operations and Maintenance for emergency hurricane expenses to support costs of evacuation, emergency repairs, deployment of personnel, and other costs resulting from immediate relief efforts.
We remain ready to work together on legislation needed to provide emergency supplemental assistance.