WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) issued the following statement in response to the White House budget office’s formal request to Congress for supplemental disaster relief in response to Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta, and other natural disasters in 2020.
“Today’s formal request is long overdue for southwest Louisiana. We must make sure that everyone is cared for after Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta from 2020 and Ida from last week. But recovery is a two pronged approach. We need to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to better prepare for future storms,” said Dr. Cassidy.
The White House’s request includes $2.3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program, $275 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, $9 billion for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program, $100 million for Reclamation Projects to Address Western Drought, and $2.6 billion for Federal Highway Emergency Relief. This request includes initial, though informal, estimates of what may also be needed from damage inflicted by Hurricane Ida. Specifically, they expect the costs and needs stemming from Hurricane Ida to likely exceeding an additional $10 billion in the form of CDBG-DR, Federal Highway Emergency Relief, Federal Transit Emergency Relief, Small Business Administration Disaster Loans, and the Disaster Relief Fund among other programs.
Cassidy has repeatedly demanded CDBG-DR assistance for those affected by Hurricane Laura and Delta, and added Hurricane Ida to that list in a letter to the President yesterday, joined by Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) and U.S. Representatives Steve Scalise (R-LA-01), Garret Graves (R-LA-06), Mike Johnson (R-LA-04), Clay Higgins (R-LA-03), Julia Letlow (R-LA-05), and Troy Carter (D-LA-02). In the letter, they requested “substantial and robust emergency appropriations from Congress to provide relief to Louisiana families that continue to languish as a result of these devastating storms.”
In addition to the Louisiana Congressional Delegation’s letter to the President on September 2, Cassidy and his colleagues urged President Joe Biden to grant a major disaster declaration for Louisiana following Hurricane Ida. Following the letter on August 29, the major disaster declaration was issued, which releases disaster relief for Louisiana to begin its recovery.
In January of 2021, Louisiana requested $3 billion to address unmet recovery needs after Hurricane Laura. Cassidy and Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation have previously called on Congress and the White House to support disaster relief for southwest Louisiana. They continue to press their colleagues to approve the measure. Cassidy will work to prevent similar delays for relief from Hurricane Ida.