tv U.S. Senate Senator Leahy on Disaster relief funds CSPAN March 28, 2019 12:32am-12:55am EDT
view to divide and pick winners and losers. the president is doing is unacceptable and un-american. i urge my republican colleagues to come to the table, accept the changes we propose to help the territory'sme recover, saying tt passed the house and help pass a disaster package that addresses the needs of all americans who are affected not just those that come from a state or area that he happens to like that is not what any president before has done and that is not what america does. >> january 16 more than two months ago, the house passed a supplemental appropriations bill that addressed the needs of all communities impacted by
disaster. the house passed disaster bill provided assistance and the california wildfires. it provided aid to people of the commonwealth struck by typhoons and the people who are devastated by the cyclone and continued assistance for the u.s. virgin islands continue their recovery from hurricanes irma and maria. instead of moving quickly to help those in need of a senate republicans but the president insisted held up the house bill
because it included assistance from americans andlu puerto rico instead of the states but neither did the president apparently has chosen to delay over political concerns. the president's refusal to help americans in puerto rico but disaster bill many other states are relying on and to speed the recovery efforts it discriminates against over 3 million americans as a country
we have to come together to help each other when we had the sisters. certainly republican senators and democratic senators hope this data vermont when we were hit with a disaster a few years ago. today puerto rico needs our help. a year and a half ago hit by back-to-back hurricanes it's no wonder anybody ever gets hit by two back-to-back category five hurricanes.
given the extraordinary nature of the storms and given the extent of the devastation but as it becomes clear we must continually reassess and provide what is needed to fully recover. i remember when this first happened that the white house would say maybe two or three or four or a dozen fatalities in puerto rico. well, they were off by a thousand%. we don't simply appropriate the same amount each state or territory hits with a disaster
no matter the level of damage. we look at each to rebuild their homes and communities and lives. i give you an example why one size doesn't fit all. they passed six packages to help rebuild louisiana and mississippi because the stormn. was unlike any and they need the assistance coming in overtime. after the first funding provided we see more and more problems and have more funding and this
is no different. the president reportedly came to yesterday and made the case why we shouldn't continue to puerto rico. something i've never seen in my 45 years here republican or he argued we should refrain from helping american citizens in need. so many things were not reality and received over $90 billion in federal assistance while it has not. why does he keep saying this when he has to know what he is saying isn't true he claims it is using federal money to pay
off its debt. he knows it isn't true, why does he keep saying it. some also fear in this body have appropriateto the money and i think they failed to spend to provide no more. double-click the money to which republicans and democrats alike voted to appropriate over a year ago is being held up by the administration it's like it's being purposely held back.
there's no excuse for that. they can't have it both ways. the administration can't simultaneously hold ucansimultae dollars for puerto rico and then print as not an excuse for the assistance in other words it's away from puerto rico to say you can't have it but why aren't you spending it. you can't do that. and then you are just holding back from them and that's why you don't need additional
assistance. we demand answers and i have asked unanimous consent a copy of the letter "in the record. the department of housing and urban development said if we don't review wit what the white house is deliberately interfered with timely distribution of the hurricane funds to puerto rico, this is pretty amazing. i've never seen this case the inspector general have to find out in and whether they were interfering in funds to go over the disaster area.
now i know firsthand what it's like to see the state could tip ese disaster people lost their homes, bridges destroyed, i saw bridges twisted like a child's toy, farmhouses farmer's fields wiped out, business i businesse, schools destroyed, medical supplies and villages gone. i know at these moments o the federal government as a partner in the effort to recoveror and rebuild that is the same in
other states hawaii, puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands they are all counting on us to get this bill across the finish line. that's why three weeks ago i put a compromise on the table to create a path forward to focus on the most critical proposals and immediate needs senate republicans accepted this proposal likely taking a quick passage of the disaster bill in a bipartisan fashion both in the senate and in the house and eliminated the need for the conference for the people that need it sooner rather than lat
everybody. remember just a few months ago the president threatened to cut off aid to california as they are going through the worst fires in recent history. it was costing millions of american i think we are an independent branch of governme government. we've got to have a responsible party. i think when vermont was hit by
the disaster and hurricane flooding as i was tripping around the state disaster after that, receiving e-mails from a number of senators, republicans and democrats saying vermont stood with us when we had a disaster. he wilwe will stand with you to. that's what i want to do. just as they voted in louisiana six times. it wasn't for a political benefit of vermont.
>> you might consider a disaster package when they've all suffered equally from disasters they say okay, you america, we ypay for you. au, i don't like so you are not going to get money. one that allows us to move quickly to get assistance people that need it now and i hope all members will support it.
the governor of federico made a strong statement i ask consent that statement be made a part of the record. americans in pretty rico do not have representation in this body. vermont is probably as far away as just aboutst any state with e exception of alaska and hawaii. americans in puerto rico were
>> accused of mishandling negotiations with the european union and later the prime minister told numbers of her party that she had resigned forr leadership post if the deal is approved it's a pleasure to have you here. >> number one, mr. speaker. >> i joined with you in join wig the united states ambassador