U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) today joined Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in calling on the Trump administration to put forward a comprehensive package to provide relief from the onslaught of natural disasters in recent months. The administration has committed to releasing such a package in the coming weeks.
In a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Senate Democrats outlined what must be included in a comprehensive package that would allow adequate investment in technology, conservation, and infrastructure that will mitigate further damage in future disasters and make our communities more resilient. "As with past disasters, the request must come in the form of emergency spending-the federal government owes it to the people of Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and our Western states to step up, now, when it is most needed," the senators wrote.
In October, the Senate passed a $36.5 billion emergency supplemental that contained $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund, $16 billion for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) debt forgiveness, $1.27 billion for nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico, and $576.5 million to combat wildfires.
In September, the Senate passed a $15.25 billion emergency supplemental package that contained $7.4 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund and $450 million for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Program. In addition, the legislation provided $7.4 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The letter was also signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), Kirsten Gilibrand (N.Y.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).