Senators from Florida and Texas raised concerns about delays in disaster recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and called for action from the administration, Congress, and FEMA.
Florida Senators Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D) sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long expressing their concern about the lack of housing options for hurricane survivors. Delays in providing temporary housing, like manufactured homes and direct leasing options, are causing people to live in dangerous, unsustainable housing conditions. The letter also notes that the current estimate for a housing inspection, a required step for FEMA Individual Assistance claims, is 45 days, compared to 10 days during Hurricane Katrina. The Senators ask the agency to increase housing options and the number of inspections and to cut down the wait time for the FEMA helpline.
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) raised concerns that, after being given assurances from Congressional leadership and the White House that a third supplemental spending bill addressing hurricane recovery would move quickly in November, the timeline is slipping. Senator Cornyn said he has been given indications that the next supplemental spending bill will require spending offsets elsewhere in the budget, and that leadership may now look to tie supplemental funding to a year-end spending bill for the full federal government or to a Continuing Resolution. Each of these eventualities could significantly complicate the passage of additional disaster recovery and rebuilding spending for impacted communities in a timely manner.