Cmr. George P. Bush: It shouldn’t take a second act of Congress to get mitigation funds moving
$4+ billion in vital mitigation funds could move forward today, if approved
AUSTIN — As the 2019 Hurricane Season begins, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is once again calling on acting White House chief of staff and current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director, Mick Mulvaney, to lift the logjam obstructing $4.3 billion in mitigation funds owed to Texas. In a second letter to Mulvaney, Bush expresses frustration at the slow pace of rule approval and the need for the funds to be released immediately.
"The 2019 hurricane season is upon us, and Texans are still no more protected than they were before Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017," said Commissioner Bush. "We are spending billions to rebuild communities, and yet have not received the rules to protect that investment. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz worked with President Trump on legislation to require the release of the rules within 90 days, but simply put… it shouldn’t take a second act of Congress. Congress acted in February 2018 to appropriate these funds, and now we need to publish reasonable rules that facilitate effective mitigation.”
The 2019 Hurricane Season runs June 1 through November 30. The GLO is currently waiting on OMB approval for the release of mandatory mitigation rules from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The GLO cannot even begin drafting the federally mandated state action plan process until the mitigation rules are released. The state action plan must then be approved by HUD before the GLO can access the funds for mitigation projects.
The longer it takes for funds to be released, the more Texas families, properties, communities and economy stay at risk. As noted by FEMA, the nation saves through mitigation programs, $6 for every $1 spent through federal agency mitigation grants. Mitigation efforts reduce the risk of injuries and death, household sheltering needs, building repair costs, loss of revenue and other business-interruption costs. It makes conservative fiscal sense to protect Texas families and communities by utilizing mitigation funds.
February 9, 2019, marked one year since disaster recovery funds were appropriated by Congress specifically for mitigation. During that time, the call for release of disaster funds has grown stronger with the introduction of the Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Funding Act. The bill directs the OMB to release $16 billion in disaster relief funding, including $4.383 billion in mitigation funds for major declared disaster events in Texas, within 90 days.
Mitigation Funding Timeline
February 9, 2018: Mitigation funding appropriated by Congress and signed by President Donald J. Trump.
On January 2, 2019, Cmr. Bush sent a letter to Director Mick Mulvaney calling for rule approval for mitigation funding.
On January 30, 2019, Cmr. Bush sent President Donald J. Trump a letter requesting help getting mitigation rules approved by HUD and OMB.
Feb 5, 2019: Commissioner Bush applauded a letter authored by Governor Greg Abbott, Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and the Houston Congressional Delegation, led by Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) and Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22), urging acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought to approve rules from Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for more than $4 billion in Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding for Texas. On May 10, 2019, Commissioner Bush applauded the filing the Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Funding Act by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).
Feb. 9, 2019: One-year anniversary of the funds being appropriated by Congress specifically for mitigation.
May 10, 2019: Commissioner Bush applauded the filing the Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Funding Act by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).
May 16, 2019: Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Randy Weber (TX-14), Brian Babin (TX-36), Kevin Brady (TX-08), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), John Carter (TX-31), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Joe Cunningham (SC-01), Bill Flores (TX-17), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (PR-AL), Garret Graves (LA-06), Al Green, (TX-09), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Michael McCaul (TX-10), Pete Olson (TX-22), Tom Rice (SC-07), David Rouzer (NC-07), and Ted Yoho (FL-03) for introducing the Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Funding Act. The bill directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to release $16 billion in disaster relief funding, including $4.383 billion in mitigation funds for major declared disaster events in Texas, within 60 days.
May 21, 2019: Andrea is named the first storm of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, before the official start date.
June 1, 2019: The official beginning of 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
For an overview and complete timeline of funding for Texas' Hurricane Harvey long-term recovery effort, please visit http://recovery.texas.gov/local-government/programs/harvey-mitigation-funding/index.html.
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