WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today encouraged Obama administration officials to support changing federal disaster laws that draw out recovery work following major disasters like the recent Hurricane Sandy or like Hurricane Katrina that walloped the Gulf Coast in 2005.
Cochran serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that today conducted a hearing on Hurricane Sandy response and recovery issues. The hearing occurred as congressional appropriations panels await the administration’s request for supplemental funding to support Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in the Northeast.
“The consequences of storms like Katrina and Sandy are overwhelming for the survivors,” Cochran said. “They complicate people’s lives, destroy homes and businesses, and change the landscape. A lot of the destruction is not just to private property, but also to government facilities and public infrastructure,” Cochran said.
“These things sometimes are not ended very quickly. Hurricane Katrina still hangs over us. I think that with Hurricane Sandy, there are opportunities to reexamine how the federal government addresses disaster recovery and to address adequate supplemental funding,” he said.
Cochran pointed to the Disaster Recovery Act (S.1630), which he cosponsored with Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), to use lessons from Hurricane Katrina recovery work to improve federal disaster response and recovery activities. He credited the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for working to assist disaster areas, but questioned some of the legal limitations that result in inefficiency.
Cochran noted that the FEMA today continues to try to resolve more than 2,700 FEMA Public Assistance cases related to Katrina recovery efforts in Mississippi and thousands more in Louisiana.
In preparation for receiving the administration’s request for supplemental disaster funding, Cochran and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye have had meetings with delegations from New Jersey and New York to discuss federal disaster recovery assistance related to damages caused by Sandy.
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran
Posted December 6, 2012 - 9:25 am