Transcript: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on the $9.7 billion National Flood Insurance Program Funding for Hurricane Sandy victims

Transcript of remarks by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on the House passage of H.R. 41 to provide $9.7 billion to Hurricane Sandy victims through the National Flood Insurance Program. The press briefing was held on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.

Thank you, Sen. Schumer for your steadfast leadership fighting for the families in New York, New Jersey who so desperately need this money.

It’s been a very, very tough holiday season in New York, I can tell you. And families are just wondering how can we rebuild. So much of what’s available just doesn’t cover everything. FEMA covers $30,000 – a little more.

This flood insurance money is absolutely vital for those who have flood insurance but very relatively fewer families have that money.

So we need the rest of the money – CDBG money – to begin to rebuild homes. We need the money for our roads, our bridges, our sewer systems, our infrastructure. We need that money to flow so our cities can rebuild.

We need to make sure that businesses have just a small amount of money to begin to rebuild what’s been lost. And so that’s really what the families are waiting for. They look to us in Washington and say, “Can they come together? Can they get this work done? Can they find those core common values to be able to offer some amount of help at a time when it is so desperately needed.”

So I was very grateful that the House passed the first $9 billion. That makes a difference. It makes a difference that we were able to do it unanimously here. But as Sen. Schumer said, this is just a small first step in the direction of actually meeting the real needs of [what] these states are undergoing.

New York has always stood by every other region in the country when they have undergone natural disasters, and this is a moment in time when we desperately need other states, other Senators, other members of the House to stand by New Yorkers at a time of grave and precious need. Families are still not in their homes, children are not necessarily in their school. So we want to make sure they can rebuild their homes, be back in their communities, and that is why we need this money for.

So I’m eager to work very hard on this next package. We need to have a package out of the House that nears what we in the Senate. Sen. Schumer and I and Senators Lautenberg and Menendez will work night and day to make sure that the needs are being met.

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