Federal lawmakers representing Louisiana are once again urging President Joe Biden’s administration and Congress to approve supplemental disaster relief so that Southwest Louisiana can rebuild and recover over the long term from Hurricanes Laura and Delta.
Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Port Barre, sent a letter to Biden on Friday that said Southwest Louisiana is “beyond the time for consideration” on a supplemental disaster relief package. He added the region is “still deep in the rebuilding process” and in the middle of another unpredictable hurricane season. While more than $1.3 billion has been secured to help the region with immediate recovery needs, federal elected leaders have yet to appropriate supplemental disaster relief, nearly one year after Hurricane Laura’s devastating landfall last August.
“We must work together to alleviate those concerns and take swift action on additional recovery assistance,” Higgins said.
Higgins said his office has stressed the region's funding needs to Biden’s office and on the House floor.
“However, we have seen no effort from Democratic leadership to move forward with a supplemental disaster bill,” he said.
Higgins also called for a clean supplemental disaster recovery bill.
“Disaster relief should not be used as a bargaining chip to coerce Republican votes on larger, controversial proposals,” he said.
U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., called for unanimous Senate consent of the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act of 2021, but it was ultimately blocked by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. The measure would have provided $1.1 billion in hurricane relief.
“My people need help,” Kennedy said.
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said he is working with Kennedy on getting a supplemental disaster package approved by Congress and is a co-sponsor of Kennedy’s measure.
“There are a lot of folks still hurting,” he said. “There are still blue tarps on roofs. We can’t ignore the devastation.”