House Passes Cornyn Bill To Extend Disaster Recovery Program For Ike, Dolly Victims

Today I issued the following statement regarding House passage of bipartisan legislation to extend the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program, which supports the recovery efforts of residents impacted by hurricanes and other natural disasters. While I was able to secure Senate passage of this legislation prior to the SSBG’s expiration deadline of September 30, 2010, the House did not act in time and the program expired. Today’s action by the House, however, will ensure the program is reinstated and the deadline for applicants is extended to September 30, 2011. As a result, approximately $44 million in disaster recovery funding will still be available to impacted communities in Texas. This legislation was cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Kit Bond, R-MO; Richard Durbin, D-IL; Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX; Mary Landrieu, D-LA; Claire McCaskill, D-MO; and Bill Nelson, D-FL.

While overdue, I’m pleased the House acted today to extend the SSBG program. This will be welcome news for thousands of Texans who are still working to make a full recovery from the devastation left by Hurricanes Ike and Dolly. My bill ensures that impacted communities in Texas can access the more than $40 million in unused SSBG funds for another year. I hope the President will sign this extension into law as quickly as possible.

Background:

  • Entities that received SSBG funding were required to spend the funds by September 30th of this year or the dollars would be de-obligated and returned to the U.S. Treasury.  
  • The Senate passed this legislation to extend the deadline on September 29, 2010. The House failed to pass the extension in time, allowing the program to expire. 
  • Today’s action by the House of Representatives, however, will ensure that states, communities, and organizations are able to utilize this funding to aid in disaster recovery efforts. 
  • A similar extension was granted for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita SSGB disaster recovery funds in 2007. 
  • According to the Congressional Budget Office, the legislation would not add to the deficit.

According to Gulf Coast Interfaith, failure to extend the program will prevent several Southeast Texas nonprofits, including Neighborhood Centers Inc., Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities, from continuing to offer services to hurricane victims such as providing medical care and counseling services, making repairs to damaged homes and replacing ID’s and other essentials lost during the storms.

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