Today, almost 80 days after Hurricane Sandy ripped apart much of the Northeast, Congress has finally approved the full relief package. I am please to report that both Congresswoman Shea-Porter and Congresswoman Kuster voted for the relief bill.
The bill passed today, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, provides relief to families and businesses damaged by the storm and assists with the rebuilding of homes, hospitals, roads, and essential infrastructure. The legislation also helps communities reinforce structures and shorelines in order to mitigate damages from similar disasters in the future.
In a written statement from Congresswoman Kuster she stated:
“Nearly eighty days after Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, the House has finally passed bipartisan legislation that will deliver critical relief to the victims of the storm,” said Kuster. “This is welcome news for the families, communities, and businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and I’m pleased that members of both parties were able to put politics aside to get this done.”
After the vote Congresswoman Shea-Porter had this to say:
“This funding is critical to help rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “There is a long tradition in Congress of passing disaster aid and I am glad that we were able to continue that today. There is no place for politics when helping our communities recover from a disaster.”
Congresswoman Shea-Porter was also pushing for the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 to include a language to help the NH commercial fishing industry.
The Northeast groundfish fishery received a disaster declaration from the Department of Commerce in September because, despite fishermen’s efforts, certain fish stocks have not rebuilt. Now, drastically reduced catch limits are being considered for the coming year. This would means millions of dollars in lost income for New Hampshire’s commercial fishing industry, and New Hampshire would suffer the most severe economic impact of any Northeast state.
“Commercial fishing is a heritage industry in New Hampshire, and it is vital that we preserve it for future generations. The disaster funding passed by the Senate will help the industry survive during these difficult times,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “I have urged Speaker Boehner to pass the disaster aid as approved by the Senate. Since the current bill before the House contains no relief for commercial fisheries though, I have also cosponsored Representative Tierney’s amendment to reinstate the funding.”
Unfortunately the bill did not have funding for the fisheries resource disaster for New Hampshire commercial fishermen. Congresswoman Shea-Porter had written to Speaker Boehner, urging him to include the funding as passed by the Senate, and also co-sponsored a bipartisan amendment in an attempt to restore it.