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Texas Border Business

Editor’s Note: Today President Trump signed the latest disaster supplemental into law which contained Senator Cornyn’s provision requiring the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to release already appropriated funds for Hurricane Harvey recovery. The provision starts a “shot clock,” and OMB now has 90 days to release the more than $4 billion to Texas, expiring September 4, 2019. Background about Senator Cornyn’s provision is below, as well as excerpts and video from his recent floor remarks on the issue.

Background:

In February 2018, Sen. Cornyn supported the appropriation of $28 billion in CDBG-DR funds explicitly to rebuild housing and infrastructure and to mitigate against future storms.  Of that funding, HUD allocated $4.383 billion to Texas specifically for mitigation purposes, but it has not yet released those funds to help Texas communities.


The disaster supplemental that passed yesterday included a bill introduced by Senator Cornyn that directs the Office of Management and Budget to release $16 billion in long-awaited disaster relief funding within 90 days to nine states and two U.S. territories including West Virginia, Texas and Puerto Rico.

Image for illustration purposes only
Image for illustration purposes only

Earlier this year, Sen. Cornyn sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Vought urging him to expedite the release of these funds so Texas could receive the more than $4.3 billion in pending grants.

“Fifteen months ago, Congress appropriated more than $28 billion in community development block grants for disaster recovery, with roughly $12 billion intended specifically for mitigation purposes.”

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“About $4 billion of that was designated for Texas and can still be used to do things like repair waste water treatment facilities that haven’t been fully restored, or to carry out important economic revitalization in decimated areas, or to relocate or elevate damaged facilities to prepare for the next storm.”

“But we haven’t seen a cent of that $4 billion because it’s been tied up at the Office of Management and Budget.”

“My colleague from West Virginia, Senator Manchin, and I have recently introduced a bill that would require the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that these appropriated funds are promptly disbursed. The bipartisan Disaster Recovery Funding Act would start a timer – a shot clock, if you will – on when OMB must release the money, giving them 60 days to get these dollars untangled from the red tape and get them to the communities that desperately need them.”

“With the 2019 hurricane season only a week and a half away, it’s critical we get this money out of Washington and into the hands of those who need it.”

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