Senator Perdue’s office alerted us to the news that is developing this afternoon, as the Senate has agreed to move a “clean” disaster relief bill to benefit victims of Hurricane Michael. In Georgia, that relief will be concentrated in Southwest Georgia. President Trump is said to be supporting and will sign the bill.
Updated: The following is an official press release from Senators Isakson and Perdue:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and David Perdue, R-Ga., today praised Senate approval of critical disaster relief funding for Georgia and other states impacted by hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. Isakson and Perdue have fought for months to secure disaster funding for Georgia, which was devastated by Hurricane Michael in October 2018.
“Georgia farmers and millions of Americans have been hurting for far too long as they waited for this desperately needed relief, and I’m glad that the Senate has now voted to get it done,” said Isakson. “I’ve spent most of this year pressing the need for action with everyone who would listen, working together with colleagues from more than 12 states, and I thank everyone who is putting partisan politics aside to see this through. I hope that it will be quickly signed into law.”
“President Trump has broken through the gridlock to get disaster relief across the finish line. Finally, farmers in Georgia are closer than ever to getting the assistance they desperately need after Hurricane Michael,” said Perdue. “I want to thank Senators Shelby and Leahy for their diligent and bipartisan work in shepherding this process. This bipartisan package is a major win for our agriculture communities in the Southeast. It’s a win for families and businesses who were devastated by floods, wildfires, and historic hurricanes across 12 states, Puerto Rico, and the Mariana Islands. This is also a win for the people of Puerto Rico who the president has consistently helped. However, the fact that it took eight months to find common ground on a disaster relief package is an absolute embarrassment. I hope the U.S. House will move swiftly and deliver this bill to the president’s desk. The American people need to know we have their backs.”
The $19.1 billion disaster relief package includes $3 billion to provide critical agriculture disaster relief for farmers recovering in the wake of Hurricane Michael, along with additional funds for communities in Georgia and other states.
The measure passed the Senate 85-8. Next, the House must act on the measure before it can be signed into law.
· In October 2018, Isakson and Perdue personally visited parts of Georgia devastated by Hurricane Michael with Vice President Mike Pence and pushed for immediate federal funding. After funding was not obtained by the end of 2018, Isakson and Perdue twice introduced disaster relief amendments to legislative vehicles under consideration by the Senate.
· On Nov. 29 and 30, 2018, Isakson and Perdue sent two letters requesting additional funding for disaster assistance for Georgians recovering after Hurricane Michael: the first letter to Senate appropriators and the second to Senate leadership. ·
On Jan. 31, Isakson and Perdue introduced a supplemental agriculture disaster relief amendment to provide critical funding for Georgia and other states recovering from recent hurricane and wildfire damage. · On Feb. 13, Isakson and Perdue joined 11 other bipartisan senators in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership urging immediate action on a supplemental disaster relief package.
· On Feb. 26, Isakson and Perdue joined Sens. Doug Jones, D-Ala., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., to introduce a $13.6 billion disaster relief package with the backing of President Trump after prior funding attempts were removed from other supplemental spending packages.
· On April 1, the Senate took votes on two amendments that would have provided funding for Georgia and other disasters, and both pieces of legislation failed to receive the necessary 60 votes to move forward. · On April 30, Isakson and Perdue led a press conference with Sens. Doug Jones, D-Ala., Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., to continue their push for disaster aid funding and call on action by Congress.
· On May 8, Isakson and Perdue sent a letter along with Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, requesting the swift release of HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program funds to aid Georgia and other states.
· On May 14, $34.88 million in funding was announced for Georgia infrastructure recovery by the HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, which was previously appropriated by Congress to respond to the 2018 natural disasters.