WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman from Louisiana says the massive budget deal struck by U.S. Senate leaders on Wednesday cuts Louisiana out of certain disaster-relief changes sought by the state delegation.
The provisions would’ve cleared the way for 2016 Louisiana flood victims approved for SBA loans to get Restore Louisiana recovery grants and removed numerous other bureaucratic and regulatory roadblocks that’ve slowed rebuilding or blocked Louisiana officials from securing additional funds.
In a video posted by his office to YouTube, U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, only hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and American territories in the Caribbean would be freed of the SBA “duplication of benefits” issue, where federal officials count the full amount of SBA loans disaster victims were approved for against any federal grant money — even if those homeowners never actually took out the loans.
Louisiana flood victims are left out of the deal, Graves said in this video on Wednesday afternoon, in an arrangement the Baton Rouge Republican said amounted to “adding insult to injury.”
A draft of the proposed spending bill hasn’t been released to the public and members of the Senate received only briefing materials summarizing the outlines of the agreement early Wednesday afternoon.
WASHINGTON — A massive disaster-relief package awaiting U.S. senators when they return to work in January would offer states far more flexibil…
Other provisions would streamline the way the Federal Emergency Management Agency compensates local governments for damage and would’ve made it easier for religious groups, such as local churches and Christian relief organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, from receiving federal recovery dollars.
All those provisions passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December as part of an $ 81 billion package of disaster relief largely aimed at victims of 2017’s Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and at a spate of deadly wildfires in California.
But the bill then sat in the U.S. Senate while the delegations from hurricane-hit Florida and Texas argued over relative funding levels. It was apparently reworked as part of the much broader budget deal struck on Wednesday, with its price tag, according to several Senate sources, rising to roughly $ 90 billion — and many of the reform provisions Graves helped co-author getting scrapped.
“The Senate just screwed Louisiana,” Graves said.
The Senate budget deal does keep two Louisiana-specific provisions that Graves and other members of the Louisiana delegation had pushed for, Graves said. The current draft of the deal would send an extra $ 600 million in federal flood-recovery funding to Louisiana, Graves said.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives passed an $ 81 billion disaster recovery bill aimed largely at hurricane and wildfire victims in…
The bill also retains language designed to speed construction of a handful of coastal restoration projects in the state, including the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, a multi-billion-dollar project aimed at building new land in the Barataria Basin, according to Graves.
Spokespeople for Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, both Louisiana Republicans, didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment on the deal. Kennedy said early Wednesday afternoon, before Graves posted the video, that he hadn’t yet received details on the disaster-relief component of the deal at a lunch organized by Senate GOP leadership.
Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @BrynStole.