WASHINGTON D.C. - A new $19.1 Billion dollar supplemental disaster bill approved Friday morning in the U.S. House is almost a billion dollars higher than the original bill, with extra money to repair flood damaged levees and highways after catastrophic flooding in Iowa. The original bill already included $3-Billion earmarked for Midwest disasters.
"The closing of I-29 cut off the major north-south artery in Iowa that connects the Council Bluffs, Omaha area to Kansas City." Said Iowa U.S. Representative Cindy Axne. "And we still have roads that are not open yet. Axne urged Congress to take action on the Disaster Bill with more than 50 failed levees in the Iowa / Nebraska region.
"The National Weather Service shows the Midwest will remain vulnerable to flooding all Spring and Summer." Axne said. "We can't afford to wait."
Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska is Axne's co-sponsor on the amendment to add money for levees and highways.
"This is tough stuff." Fortenberry said. "This was one of the most destructive weather events of our lifetimes."
"In Nebraska and in Iowa lands that were soaked by Autumn rains froze solid. Then they were covered in snow. Then this Bomb Cyclone hit us." Fortenberry said.
He says the local and state governments need help.
"We can't solve the problems alone." Fortenberry said. "We need a partner with the Federal Government to repair badly damaged watersheds. Approximately 60-percent of the funds will go damage caused in the Midwest floods as well to help communities with damage caused Hurricanes Harvey, Florence, and Michael." He said.
First the Axne/Fortenberry amendment was unanimously approved, then the full Disaster Bill passed on a 257-150 vote.
The bill will provide recovery in areas impacted by natural disasters, including 2017 hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, tornadoes in the Southern United States, and recent flooding in the Midwest.
President Donald Trump Tweeted Thursday night encouraging Republicans to vote against the bill, calling it the Bad Democrat Disaster Bill.