House passes Axne-amended disaster supplemental bill
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, successfully amended the disaster supplemental bill to increase funding for crucial programs vital to Iowa recovery efforts.
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved two Axne amendments that increase funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program by $300 million and the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program by $500 million. Congresswoman Axne debated her amendments on the House floor today as Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, presided. Following the adoption of the Axne amendments, the House passed the robust emergency disaster supplemental bill to help disaster-stricken communities across the country. It builds on legislation that passed the House in January — with an additional $3 billion for Midwest flooding. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.
“I’ve been down to flood zones multiple times to speak with farmers, homeowners, and businessowners who have lost everything. Their resilience is inspiring but the damage is heartbreaking,” Axne said. “From my firsthand experience in these flooded areas, I can attest to the serious damage and hazards that these communities face. This federal aid is vital to rebuilding Iowa communities. My amendments will increase funding for programs that will help with debris removal, fix our damaged roads and repair breached levees. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to immediately pass this bill.”
Congresswoman Axne has worked tirelessly to ensure that Iowans receive the federal assistance they need following this devastating flood. In addition to fighting for Iowans in Washington, Rep. Axne even rolled up her sleeves and helped a family in Pacific Junction muck out their home. This amendment increases funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program by $300 million. The EWP program helps communities to quickly address serious and long-lasting damages to infrastructure and land caused by natural disasters. The EWP program funding will help Iowans remove debris from streams, roads, and bridges and help repair the more than 40 levees that were damaged during the flooding.
Amendment No. 1 allows EWP program funding to be used to:
Remove debris from stream channels, road culverts and bridges; reshape and protect eroded streambanks; correct damaged or destroyed drainage facilities; establish vegetative cover on critically eroding lands; repair levees and structures; restore conservation practices.
Axne Amendment No. 2 increases funding for the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program by $500 million. The FHA — Emergency Relief Program will help Iowa address our immediate highway repair needs, restore traffic and help restore our facilities. Following the devastating flood, key federal aid routes in southwest Iowa were damaged, including I-29, I-680 and US-34. An initial estimate of damage from this storm tops $90 million, with the damage on I-29 alone estimated at $40 million.
Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief funds are used to:
Address immediate needs; restore traffic; limit damage to remaining facilities; restore damaged facilities to pre-disaster conditions. ❖