Louisiana delegation supports supplemental disaster relief for southwest Louisiana

Staff Report

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy last week joined Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging the Office of Management and Budget to prioritize Louisiana’s request for supplemental disaster relief in response to Hurricanes Laura and Delta.

Sen. John Kennedy

“Today marks 328 days since the disaster, and as we approach the one-year anniversary of these devastating storms, we are hopeful that OMB will acknowledge the extreme need for supplemental disaster relief and issue a formal request. We respectfully urge you to expedite Louisiana’s request for supplemental disaster relief. The federal government must provide the thousands of severely impacted Americans in Southwest Louisiana with a real recovery. Our offices look forward to working with you to accomplish this mission,” the lawmakers wrote. 

Last week, Kennedy introduced the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act of 2021. The bill would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianans recovering from last year’s hurricanes. To pay for the aid, Kennedy proposed using revenue from the Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum auction last year, allowing the government to provide the aid without needing to borrow money or add to the deficit. The Senate blocked the bill’s passage.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Mandeville) and Reps. Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette), Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson) Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge), Mike Johnson (R-Shreveport) Julia Letlow (R-Start) and Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) also signed the letter. 

“For the past year and a half, weather disasters in Louisiana have painted a fantastic impression of hell. Since the Senate blocked my $1.1 billion disaster relief bill last week, it’s clearer than ever that the Biden administration must prioritize getting relief to southwest Louisiana by sending a formal request to Congress. Louisianans are tough, but they’re tired, and they need help,” said Kennedy.

“It’s been over a year and our constituents, especially those in Lake Charles, are still suffering from the storms of 2020. Relief has taken too long. We’re working together as our congressional delegation to push the administration to support disaster relief for Southwest Louisiana,” said Cassidy.

“It’s been nearly one year since Hurricanes Laura and Delta devastated Southwest Louisiana, and our region continues to face extreme recovery needs. We are beyond the time for consideration. Southwest Louisiana needs help now. The entire Louisiana congressional delegation is united on this effort, but we need executive branch support to advance long-term recovery resources,” Higgins said. 

“Hurricanes Laura and Delta brought widespread devastation to Southwest Louisiana last fall, and thousands of residents are still picking up the pieces nearly one year later. As we head into the more active months of hurricane season, it’s imperative that additional supplemental disaster relief be delivered to Southwest Louisiana quickly so our communities can get back on their feet and make real progress toward a full recovery,” said Scalise.

Congressman Garret Graves

“It’s been almost a year since Hurricanes Laura and Delta made landfall in Southwest Louisiana. To watch hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds go toward paying people to not work, bailing out private pensions, funding a bridge in New York, building a tunnel in California, or targeting EPA grants for environmental justice—and nothing for the 2020 hurricanes and natural disasters—is disgusting. To make matters worse, Congress rejected multiple amendments by our delegation to target disaster recovery funds for Louisiana and others impacted by the 2020 hurricanes. I appreciate the delegation coming together to push this long-overdue need for those impacted by multiple hurricanes last year. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration, and our state and local leaders to offer a hand up to those truly in need,” said Graves.

“As Louisiana braces for another hurricane season, many of our citizens who were devastated by last year’s historic storms are still recovering. With the first anniversary of Hurricanes Laura and Delta fast approaching, it is imperative that the Biden Administration issue a formal request for disaster relief to Congress, and I join my Louisiana colleagues in urging this action immediately,” said Johnson.

“After a devastating year that has brought hurricanes, floods and freezes, it is infuriating that the people of southwest Louisiana are still waiting on answers from the federal government. This assistance is crucial for people to be able to recover and rebuild and our delegation is united to ensure that the administration makes this a top priority,” said Letlow. 

State Sen. Troy Carter

“We are in the middle of the 2021 hurricane season, yet our communities have not recovered from disasters that occurred less than a year ago. The people of South Louisiana need assistance to both mediate the uncertainty of another deadly hurricane, and to support the long-term recovery process. I am confident the Biden Administration will work with us to get resources to those in need. I stand ready with my colleagues in the Louisiana delegation to work together to garner much-needed disaster relief. While I don’t represent this area, when disaster strikes we are one Louisiana,” said Carter.