WASHINGTON — A freshman Republican senator from Louisiana says he’ll press for immediate emergency disaster funding to help his state recover from this summer’s disastrous flooding.
Sen. Bill Cassidy said that he’ll seek emergency community development block grants and other help for his state and had already raised the issue with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
The Obama administration has not signaled that it will ask Congress for such aid and there is plenty of money in Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster accounts.
But Cassidy wants more flexible grants that can be used to rebuild neighborhoods and communities, mirroring the response that was delivered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2004 and Superstorm Sandy four years ago.
Cassidy said he hopes to have the aid as part of a government-wide stopgap funding bill that’s needed to keep government running past the Sept. 30 end of the budget year. Cassidy’ move may be a long shot, but he said McConnell “seemed to feel like we were on the right track.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards has written Obama to say the state will need aid, but his administration is still compiling its estimate.
“The community development block grant … other things such as that will need further assistance,” Cassidy said. “I hope we can accomplish that in September.”
Cassidy and most members of the Louisiana delegation to Congress voted against the full aid package for Sandy victims that passed in early 2013. He says not all of that aid was necessary and points to another vote for a $17 billion package.
Cassidy made his comments during a taping of C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” that will air on Sunday.