Louisiana Republicans Urge Congress to Pass Ida Assistance Bill

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The Louisiana congressional delegation, including fiscally conservative Republicans, on Thursday called on Congress to pass emergency-funding legislation to help the state recover from Hurricane Ida and other recent storms. 

An Ida bill would add one more item to an already hectic September for Congress, which must avert a looming government shutdown and a debt default as well as contend with a push to enact $4 trillion of legislation incorporating President Joe Biden’s long-term economic vision.

Senior congressional Democrats indicated they were open to the idea of an emergency spending bill -- something that in the past has served as a vehicle for getting other matters done -- such as the stopgap spending bill to avoid the risk of an Oct. 1 shutdown of the federal government.

Republican Senators John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Representatives Garret Graves, Clay Higgins, Mike Johnson, Julia Letlow joined with Democrat Troy Carter in a letter to Biden making the emergency-funding request and pointing out dire needs in their state stemming from Hurricane Ida. 

“We are writing you now to alert you to the need for Congress to provide emergency supplemental appropriations to address Hurricane Ida and the storms from last year, as was done following Hurricane Katrina,” the lawmakers said. “Louisiana families will continue to languish as a result of these devastating storms” without substantial and robust spending, they said.

Leahy, Pelosi

The letter didn’t specify an amount of funding, but cited programs outside the scope of the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster-relief fund.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, indicated Thursday he’s open to an Ida aid bill.

“Chairman Leahy is monitoring the situation and will be working with the administration in the coming days to determine what is needed,” Leahy spokesman Jay Tilton said. “It is the chairman’s intention to support efforts to provide relief to those impacted by this storm.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, said House Democrats are also working to assess the level of need from Ida, along with western wildfires.

“The speaker is coordinating closely with the administration to understand the scope of disaster and the fiscal needs,” Hammill said. “House Democrats will stand with the communities hit by these cruel disasters now, and throughout the long road to recovery.”

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