Cornyn, Brady Lead Bipartisan Effort to Press Administration to Release Houston-Specific Harvey Funding
by John Cornyn on April 17, 2018 at 3:08 PM
U.S. Representative Kevin Brady (TX-08) and I led a bipartisan letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney to urge him to eliminate bureaucratic delays and allocate Community Development Block – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grants directly to Houston and Harris County.
The letter was also signed by Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul (TX-10), Ted Poe (TX-02), John Culberson (TX-07), Pete Olson (TX-22), Al Green (TX-09), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Gene Green (TX-29), Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.
You can view the signed letter here, and full text is below:
Director Mick Mulvaney
The Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503
Dear Director Mulvaney,
Thank you for your continued efforts on Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery in Texas. Your support for our state and communities impacted by this historic storm are very much appreciated. We write today urging you to approve the direct allocation of the appropriate share of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief funds (CDBG-DR) passed by Congress in H.R. 601, the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2018, to both Houston and Harris County.
As you know, Hurricane Harvey is one the most expensive storms in our nation’s history, costing well over $100 billion. A large portion of this damage occurred in the City of Houston and Harris County area, where nearly 60 inches of rain was recorded across the region. With over 100,000 homes sustaining flood damage in Houston alone, we need to move as quickly as we can so our families can start to be made whole. A direct allocation of funds to Houston and Harris County will help not only ensure local control, but also speed the recovery process as well.
A fundamental concern with any disaster recovery is the length of time it takes to get federal funds to states and local communities where they are most needed. Central to this is the many layers of bureaucracy that too often come into play. Houston is the fourth largest city in the country and Harris County is the nation’s third largest county, both possessing local governments that are fully capable of managing the federal dollars in question. Requiring funds to first go through the Texas General Land Office would simply add another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy, delaying relief for our constituents.
Furthermore, there is recent precedent for taking this action. Following the spring floods in 2015, HUD directly allocated more than $87 million in CDBG-DR funds to the City of Houston. Our experience in working with Houston, and by extension Harris County, following both the 2015 and 2016 flood events leads us to believe that a direct allocation will expedite a full recovery.
We believe these arguments are firmly grounded in the kind of common sense approach many of our constituents are desperate to see Washington execute. We thank you for your timely consideration of these matters. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our offices for further assistance.