tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 5, 2013 6:00am-7:00am EST
on this small portion. but as we did in katrina, we should have acted almost immediately to meet the pain and suffering and loss of the citizens, our fellow americans, who were the victims of sandy but shouldn't have been the victims of our delay. a support this legislation and i urge the speaker and all of us on both sides of the aisle to ensure that on the 15th of this month we act for the balance of the initial dollars that will be available to assist those who have had this loss. i will be very supportive on the 15th and i know that people of connecticut, of new jersey, of new york, and of pennsylvania and of america will hold the speaker and all of us to the
promise that no later than the 15th of this month, some 11 days from today, that we will make a full contribution to those people. i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from new jersey. >> i yield to the gentleman from new jersey who also recognizes that there have been absolutely no victims of delay when it comes to the flood insurance program because their payments have been made continuously because that program has been funded and we continue to fund it. >> the gentleman from new jersey. >> i thank my colleague for yielding. it has been 70 days and the residents of the northeast many have been living in misery and heartache. i'm pleased that we are taking this step to support the national flood insurance program, which has met the
needs of americans across our nation when there's been flooding crises. we in the northeast have been facing this craves now for 70 days. i'm glad this essential program is going to be supported. there are about 125,000, from what i understand, sandy-related claims that could be met by raising this cap. and i think it is good that we are about to do that. this, as others have said, is the first step of what we need to do to rebuild lives to put aside the misery that so many families and businesses have been suffering for this length of time. it is the right step on january 15 and we will be considering a much larger supplemental. a total of $60 billion, which will meet the needs, not all the needs of,connecticut, new jersey and new york and the region, there are considerable needs. but the national flood
insurance program is a good program and this is a good support. let's get about it and do it in a bipartisan manner. >> the gentleman from new york. >> i yield one minute to the ranking member and fighter for small businesses throughout america the lady from. >> i ask for unanimous consent to put in my remarks. sandy has devastated new york and thousands of my constituents lost their homes and businesses. and it is a shame, an embarrassment for this institution that the house republican leadership continues playing games with this essential assistance more than two months after the storm struck. it is indefensible that as
americans continue to suffer from sandy's impact that the house majority could not get their act together to bring the aid package to a vote. this is also the case with today's legislation. while i fully support providing fema with additional funding, it is just another sign of the majority's dysfunction. with fema just days away from being unable to pay flood claims the republicans argue among themselves about what to do. that is sad. it is a sad situation. so today we are taking -- 10 morning seconds. by flood insurance. what about small businesses? they are getting nothing. we as an institution come together when there is national disaster across this nation. my sits deserve nothing less.
thank you and i yield back. >> the gentleman from new jersey. >> please i yield two minutes from the gentleman from new york who led the efforts on the ground putting his shoulder to the grindstone to help restore some people's homes. >> the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. >> thank you. first, madam chair, i would like to take 15 seconds to tell chairman garrett that as much as i appreciate him bringing this bill to the floor today, he came to my district with his wife, came to midland beach, was in one of the homes, several of the homes that were completely devastated, pulling out moldy sheetrock and bringing a little hope to people in complete despair and for that i will be eternally grateful and i do thank my chairman for that compassion and letting the people even outside of his own
district know that he is there and cares about them. i would also like to share with you, i called someone this morning from staten island that lives in new york beach and they have a teenage son named dillon and they have not been back in their home since the storm. i asked how are your two sons doing. he said they are great but dillon hasn't gone back to the house to help with the construction because he gets choked up. it is that that i want to emphasize here. these are human beings. children that have been completely displaced. it is up to us to get them back on their feet. today is one of those steps that i'm proud to be part of and tell dillon that he is going to be ok, we will get him become in his house. i would ask as we go forward with the other parts of sandy relief that my colleagues will stand with me and tell dillon
that he will be ok. with that again i want to thank all of my colleagues across the aisle. it has been a pleasure to work with you. i want to thank chairman garrett one last time. i yield back. >> the gentleman from new york. >> i yield two minutes to the distinguished ranking member from the appropriations committee and hard fighter. >> the gentlemen woman from new york is recognized. >> i thank the distinguished ranking member for your eloquence. madam speaker, i rise in strong support of this legislation and i would like to thank chairman garrett for introducing it and efforts to bring it to the floor. the national flood insurance program has hit its limit. without increased borrowing authority it couldn't pay for himself as early as next week. that means 120,000 payments will be delayed all of which nearly due to hurricane sandy.
but this is not enough. in december the senate passed an emergency assistance package to aid in the sandy recovery which included this legislation. earlier this week i expected as did my colleagues that the house would vote on a complete emergency assistance package to aid those in connecticut, new jersey, new york, who have lost homes, businesses, their livelihood. sadly the 112th congress ended without action and now we are starting over on an important legislation which is critical to help storm-affected areas that should have and could have -- we know that -- there is no reason it was not signed in 2012. however, we have now been promised a vote on the sandy emergency assistance package by january 15.
families in my district and throughout the region are looking to congress and asking, why are you making it so difficult for us it rebuild? why are you making us wait to rebuild? today's legislation is a start, only a first step toward providing relief to those who suffered as a result of hurricane sandy. we don't know a piecemeal approach. that is not the way the congress acts. we need a comprehensive sandy recovery bill passed today. we hold you to your commitment january 15, not a day later. we need this complete bill. thank you. >> the gentleman from new jersey. >> at this time i'm pleased to yield one minute to the gentleman from new jersey who has seen the devastation. >> thank you, madam speaker. it has been 68 days since hurricane sandy devastated the
northeast and over two months of suffering for my constituents. while it is unfortunately long overdue i'm pleased we are finally here acting to help the people of new jersey recover. this hurricane has caused billions of dollars of damage uprooting individuals and families from their homes, forcing businesses it close, and resulting in job loss and revenue loss. my constituents need help now to recover. i have witnessed firsthand the devastation in places lake seaside heights, and i can say that these places look like war zones after the storm. whole communities have been wiped out. governor christie estimated the damage in new jersey to be over $36 billion. i applaud his swift action on sandy recovery and join him with all local and state federal leaders in new jersey to
ensure all relief funds get to new jersey and families and busy as quickly as possible. this includes adequate funding for a program we are voting on today and i urge passage of this essential legislation. >> the gentleman from new york. >> at this time i yield one minute to the gentleman from jersey the member of the ways and means committee. >> it is like we are having a sadie hawkins dance. the real sponsor of this legislation are the people that are hurt. it took only 10 days after trepb until president bush signed $60 billion in katrina aid passed by the congress. how dare you come to this floor and make people think everything is ok? in fact one of the gentlemen from new jersey said we have not waited at all. the insurance runs out in one week. what are we going to do? wait one week and act? we would not be here.
who the heck are you kidding. so we all come together very nicely this morning for breakfast and eggs and we know what has happened over the last 10 days. this is a total, total disaster in helping those people that we are saying today we are helping them. isn't that wonderful? that is our job. we are not doing anybody any favors. that is why we were sent here. try it once in a while, democracy. you may like it. >> the gentleman from new jersey mr. garrett. >> at this point i yield two minutes to the gentleman it realize it is not just what we do on the floor but the volunteering and dedication to help these people. >> i want to thank the chairman
for recognizing me and i just want to say that i support this bill not because i support the increased borrowing that we're doing for our flood insurance program of $9.7 billion, but it is a contractual agreement that we owe to these policyholders to pay these claims. it is not their fault that we in the government do not, are not good managers of our money. in 1968 when this policy and this program feels put into place -- was put into place it had a borrowing authority of $1.5 billion. it was not until katrina that we raised that borrowing authority to $20 billion. we still owe $20 billion. we are now raising the borrowing authority to $30 billion. in 2017, which is 4 1/2 years away, the borrowing authority goes back to $1.5 billion. i'm sure we will address that
at 11:59 on september 30 of 2017. i would like to ask on both sides of the aisle let's start working on that now. this cost to the government is the $1,763 for every policyholder that has flood insurance. the average premium is about $600. we have paid people 10 and 20 and 30 times for claims that lived in the same house in the same flood plain. i had an amendment to the flood insurance bill that said if you had that claims due to floods and you did not take the payout then you would have to pay a rate based premium. it didn't pass. we've got to get into reality what this flood insurance program is for. it is mandatory.
if you have a government backed honor and you live in a flood plain that is likely to flood in 100 years you have to have the insurance. but we need to make sure -- >> i yield to the gentleman an additional 15 seconds. >> we need to make sure what we are doing is something that can manage itself and us not continually having to raise the borrowing authority. with that i do support the bill and it is an obligation we have to the policyholders and i ask everyone support it. >> the gentleman from new york. >> at this time i would like to bring up the ranking member of the foreign affairs committee. >> for how much time? >> for one minute. >> the gentleman from new york is recognized one minute. >> i thank my friend from new york and rise in strong support of this legislation but i must say tuesday night when i found out we were not taking this legislation up in the previous congress was the angriest i have been since i have been a member of congress.
in the last 20 years this is the longest people affected by natural disasters have waited for congress to provide relief. it is not acceptable. i voted for aid for all areas of the country wherever there's been a natural disaster and the northeast deserves the same. new york has been a donor state and we give more to the federal government than we take back. now we need help and politics shouldn't be played with the help we need. we should be supporting the entire package. i'm sorry we are not voting for the entire panel today. we now have to wait for the senate to pass whatever we pass. this could have been gone and done on tuesday night and the aid would have been speeding to the people. this is not acceptable and i hope that there's no further delay. my sits are suffering. the people of new york, new jersey and new york are suffering.
congress needs to get out of the way and send not only this $9.7 billion insurance but the entire package. i yield become. >> the gentleman from new jersey. >> just to set the record straight with regard to the legislation before us a flood insurance program the aid under this program is going and has been going to the recipients in the effected area because there was funding in this program before. what we are doing now is make sure that aid will continue to go to those people who have contracts for insurance. with that i yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york who also is very familiar with the devastation. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. i rise in strong support of the legislation. as intimated in the summer of 2011 my district was struck by hurricanes. we came together to support my constituents. with that assistance we are in the process of rebuilding.
now we come together in the wake of this devastating natural disaster and my state with our neighboring states were struck again. making certain that our communities have the resources has brought me here to advocate for new york families, businesses and farms. today's vote is a step forward. the national flood insurance program exists for circumstances like this. but more remains. we must come together at the outset of this session to address both the immediate recovery needs and longer-term rebuilding efforts. i'm committed to this effort. i'm produce of the bipartisan work we have achieved. we need to continue that. i want to thank the gentleman from pneumonia -- new jersey and i urge my colleagues to support it. >> can the clerk identify the time remaining? >> the gentleman from new jersey has 4:45 and the gentleman from new york has 6:45.
>> i yield one minute to the gentleman from new jersey. >> without objection. >> >> the delay is on excusable and unjust. it is equally obvious the time has come to do what we can to help solve the problem. that is why i am for the passage of this bill today. it will help flood insurance claims be honored and paid so people can go about the work of rebuilding their homes. we heard about the january 15 vote coming. i think we should not be holding out false hope because here is the reality. i am certain we will vote on a
january 15. the constitution says the other body has to vote, too. then the president has to sign the bill. it is my strong hope the leadership between now and june were 15 will reach out to the leadership of the other body and try to pre negotiate a bill that the senate will take up so we can solve this problem. the house taking a vote january 15 is lovely and also meaningless if the other body does not act. i yield back the balance of my time. >> gentleman, time has expired. gentleman from new jersey. >> at this time i would like to yield two minutes from a gentleman from a state which is not immune from national and natural disasters, gentleman from california is recognized. >> gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. >> thank you, madam speaker. today we're doing the important thing, the critical thing. i wish today this has been what
we'd voted on in the previous session, to recharge the flood insurance that needs to be there so that men and women in connecticut, new jersey, new york and the like will not question whether or not their country can provide them with the resources that are expected to be there in the time of a national disaster like that. but madam speaker, i rise to say that january 15 is critical and as the previous speaker said, we do need to prenegotiate with the senate. we need to get the pork out. now, none of that pork we're talking about is in new york, new jersey or connecticut. in fact, it's as far away as alaska. the bill that we will not vote on today, i'm speaking -- the pork that we will not vote on today is, in fact, the pork that was in this bill from the senate and my hope is that we will see january 15 a negotiated, clean bill that only deals with the men and women and families on the eastern seaboard that need to be taken care of.
i think it is our responsibility to make the supplementals only about the emergency. for people on the eastern seaboard that are suffering, time is running out and all of our leader need to make sure the next vote, the vote on january 15, as the previous speaker said, will be a vote that in fact will be prenegotiated that will run through the senate and that in fact will deal only with the people suffering on the eastern seaboard. i yield to the gentleman. >> thank you to the gentleman for yielding. it's important to point out that the house bill never contained any of those extraneous provisions. when the bill came over here, our leadership, we agreed to all that was taken out so there was nothing about any other state other than those directly affected by sandy. >> reclaiming my time. the gentleman is absolutely right. had we been able to pass what we intended to be the house bill
and pass it back to the senate and the senate then would have taken that up though they had left town we could have done this in the previous congress and the gentleman from new york has been a champion to make sure that's clearly understood. i want to be an equal champion that in fact whether it's louisiana or california when the next earthquake occurs or our friends and colleagues from the eastern seaboard, as far south as where we stand, we need to make sure, we owe them that, and i want to thank the gentleman from new york for working so hard to make sure that we do get to a clean bill and with that i thank the gentleman and yield back. >> time has expired. gentleman from new york? >> i yield to ms. canner for unanimous consent request. >> i ask to place remarks in the record in support of hurricane sandy relief wherever it is needed in our nation. >> i yield one minute to the gentleman from new york on the
judiciary committee. >> gentleman from new york is recognized one minute. >> thank you. i obviously support this bill today to replenish the hurricane insurance fund which would otherwise run dry for the entire country next week but it does not excuse the callous action of the house leadership the other night in taking the $60 billion of relief off the table. now we're told we'll get a vote on the 15th and i hope they're as good as their word although they haven't been in the past but even so it will take god knows how long for the senate because the bill they passed is dead, this being a new congress. that action the other night delayed relief for the long suffering people, the business owners whose businesses are going under, the homeowners who are suffering from mold, all of this was delayed by at least three weeks, maybe longer on top of the fact that we had gone already nine weeks after katrina was 10 days, nine weeks of lack of aid, now another three or four or five, this is the most callous action i have
ever seen. the leadership should be condemned for it. i hope they have the determination to make sure this comes to a vote on the 15, that it passes, and that the senate is induced to match it quickly. that would be the least that decency would demand. >> gentleman's time has expired. gentleman from new jersey. >> recognizing some on other side of the aisle can't take yes for an answer, i reserve the balance of my time. >> gentleman reserved. gentleman from new york? >> i yield one minute to the gentleman from new jersey. >> the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for one minute. >> as i sit here, i was thinking maybe there is a bias against the northern, eastern states of this country. this devastation can happen to any state and no one state has the money to make sure those people that were injured in this storm can move forward and i will remind all those members
that are not here supporting this bill that that could happen to your state. you know, as i sat here and supported alabama, i supported mississippi, i supported texas, i was hoping that by now the northeast part of this country would have -- congress would have acted. it's been 77 days. those people are hurting. people in my district still can't get back to their homes and here we are in the last congress we just didn't do anything about it. now we're moving forward and hopefully january 15 we can get the rest of the money so those people that are suffering from all these states hit by this storm can get their lives back together again and i thank you, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. does the gentleman from new jersey continue to reserve? >> i yield one minute for his
floor debate, the gentleman from new york, sean patrick maloney. >> the gentleman from new york is recognized for one minute. >> madam speaker, my name is sean patrick maloney. i'm new here. i don't know all the rules of washington but it seems like the rule here is to put off till tomorrow what should be done today even when our fellow americans are suffering. a long time ago i honored from my mom and dad, jim and joan maloney, and father bill nolan, a much better rule, the golden rule, americans by all parties live by it, the people of new york, new jersey and hudson valley live by it. bart and diana tyler of kellogg's hardware store in catona live by it. they lent critical supplies in the hour of maximum need and consoled them. they didn't make their neighbors wait 68 days for help.
they didn't say they could do more later. they acted with speed and with caring. this new congress can start a new today. we can act with speed and caring. we don't need to wait. i urge my colleagues to bring this additional relief to the floor as soon as possible and support the bill today. i yield back my time. >> gentleman's time's expired. >> continue to reserve. how much time do i have remaining? >> 2.25 minutes remaining. >> i yield 30 seconds to the gentleman lady from texas. >> i thank the gentleman very much and i thank the proponent of this legislation. it is obviously needed. i come from the gulf region. we lost thousands and thousands and thousands through hurricanes -- hurricane ike saw this congress give us their 3 billion. i stand here today to remind you that a police officer died, a
13-year-old died with debris falling on her and a mother saw two children drawn from her hand and drown in hurricane sandy. it is long overdue. i stand here as someone who has been a beneficiary, who size cried with those who have lost, demand this money be passed today but more importantly i demand we pass the total amount of money today. let's help the american people. let's help those impacted by sandy and my fellow americans. >> time has expired. does the gentleman from new jersey wish to continue reserving? >> yes. >> gentleman from new york? >> reserve. >> gentleman reserves. does the gentleman from new york have additional speakers? >> i have one additional speaker. >> gentleman from new jersey? >> i have no additional speakers. >> gentleman from new jersey has the right to close. >> i give one minute to the honorable maxine waters.
>> thank you very much. i am so proud of the members of this congress from both sides of the aisle who have been real advocates, who have been on television, who have been fighting, members on the opposite side of the aisle criticize their own leadership for the delay. ladies and gentlemen, i am from california. i have witnessed earthquake disaster. i have been involved with trying to help with katrina and making sure that the people who were the victims of katrina were compensated, were taken care of. this is unconscionable that this has had to take so long. i watch congressman meek up in rockaway, i watched the people who cried, i watched the people who begged for help, who begged for assistance. this is so late in coming so i support this bill today. i am one of the co-authors of the flood insurance reauthorization bill along with ms. biggert who reauthorized flood insurance for another five years. let'sput the money in it, do what's right, let's take care of the disaster.
>> gentleman woman's time is expired. mr. meeks has 1.75 minutes remaining and the gentleman from new jersey has 2.25 minutes remaining. >> i yield myself the remaining time. >> gentleman's recognized. >> it's 70 days, unprecedented that this region has not been treated like the other regions when they were in need of help. it's 70 days. we're going this bill today and what we're receiving is a promissory note, a promissory note that on january 15 we'll be able to say to the people from new jersey, new york and connecticut that were victimized by this storm that their house of representatives are going to be by their side so we have a promissory note. i'm concerned until the
promissory note has been put into the bank and stamped that it has sufficient funds and in this case it's got to be put in the bank and stamped that we have the votes that are necessary for the people of this region. they've been suffering. they have suffered long enough. they need to hear from their government that their government is with them just as it has been with everybody else in this country. i, for one, wherever the disaster may be, want to say that we've got to support them. i say to this congress, let's make sure as we put forward this promissory note because we cannot go back home. i don't think a democrat or a republican can go back home after january 15 and say that the promissory check has bounced of insufficient funds. we have to come back collectively and say to the people that are suffering that
they in fact have been helped by their government by their people and i yield back the balance of my time. >> gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for 2.25 minutes. >> thank you, madam chair and thank all those who have come to the floor to address this situation. for those of us who live in the affected area, our heart goes out to the families, the moms, the dads, the little children, the senior citizen who is have lost everything -- homes that have been inundated with water so it's non-recognizable anymore, homes that have to be totally knocked down or homes that have to be totally refurbished, stripped down to their studs again and started from the foundation back up again to build them, homes that have been washed ashore or washed out to sea and never seen again, homes destroyed, trees that have crashed through homes, electricity out for
weeks. our heart goes out to the people who have suffered so much and for so long and who continue to suffer and i commend members on both sides of the aisle coming to the floor today to support this legislation. i thank also those people, the volunteers, who took it upon themselves without any government mandate or edict or pay or what have you to rescue these people and work for these people day in and day out, from the very beginning, the o.e.m. people, the management people, the fire department, the rescue squad and rank and file folks who came out and tried to help and continue to do so to run the food banks, groups like
smart an purse to be on the front lines and support these people in their hour of need and i extend an invitation to every single member of congress who has come to the floor and said they, too, support these people, to put on their work shoes and work boots and jackets and get out of this congress and get out of this city and to go into the affected area and not just give speeches and not just pass legislation of other people's money but to actually come to our state and to join us and to in the field and do the work necessary to get done so i extend that invitation to each and every one and look forward to hearing from each and every one of you and ask for your support of this legislation and extend an invitation to ms. waters to work furthermore on the legislation of flood insurance. >> the senate also approved a house version of the bill by unanimous consent. after that, chuck schumer spoke to reporters about the release.
>> good afternoon, everybody. let me say a few things first. we're glad the house and senate acted and provided another $9.7 billion to the national flood insurance program. without this program, we would have run out of money leaving over 100,000 sandy victims in the lurch. i would like to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the house and senate for making this an easy passage. we hope and pray the next bill will be similar. we do not expect it to be the same. we are worried. it is good news the house passed the bill.
we have visited people depending on flood insurance to help rebuild. flood insurance pays about $250,000 in limits. for most of the homes hurt industry, it pays either the bulk or completely for the damage. some of the destroyed homes will be worth more. that is good. the bad news is we have to go through this dog and pony show in the first place. last month, the senate passed a good bill to help all of the victims of hurricane sandy. the house could have taken it up and passed it. that is what it should have done. they promised to vote on a similar version before the last congress ended. unfortunately, this changed at the last moment. we do not need to get into why,
but we do not want it to happen again. to be a bride left at the altar once is bad enough. to be left at the altar twice would be unconscionable. we need the house to move forward and pass the full $60 billion. we also need them not to put language in the bill that would make it more difficult for homeowners, small businesses, and localities to get the aid. we will have to examine their language carefully to make sure is not one step forward, two steps back. let me say this. the $9 billion is a good thing. there is no question about it. it is a good but small first step. the flood insurance relief is a small down payment on the much larger amount of aid we need to get through congress.
the job has hardly begun. we must make sure passing this bill is not the end or even the middle. it is only a start. here is who has not helped in the bill. hundreds of thousands of homeowners who do not have flood insurance who lost their homes or suffered major damage. they cannot sign contracts for repairs until the contractor or the bank making a construction loan knows that there is money to reimburse them. right now, they know nothing of the sort. the money is not there. the cdbg account is dry. there is no money even with the passage of this measure for small businesses ready to go under, small businesses hanging on their fingernails because they have been out of business for three or four months. not only do they not have the
wherewithal to repair their businesses, they have not had any income because their businesses are not functioning. we need help there. this does not help to rebuild the shoreline so we are not naked to the next storm. there is no money in this program for that. there is no help for all of the localities that have laid out billions of dollars. if they are not reimbursed as they always have been, taxes will skyrocket in the new york and new jersey area. this bill is a small first step, but it hardly gets at what we need. our governor has requested $80 billion. the administration approved $60. the senate passed the $60 billion.
that was good news. that was a good, large step forward. we are waiting for the house. then we will have to get to work in the senate. the ideal situation would be for the house to pass the same bill we passed in the senate. we almost unanimous consent on the floor. if they make changes, harry reid has promised it will be the first thing we take up when we get back. we will not rest until the full $60 billion is sent to new york and new jersey to provide the relief our homeowners and businesses need. >> thank you for your steadfast leadership fighting for the families in new york and new jersey are desperately need this money. it has been a tough holiday
season in new york. families are wondering how we can begin to rebuild. so much of what is available does not cover everything. fema covers $30,000, a little more. this flood insurance is vital for those who have the flood insurance. relatively few families have that. we need the rest of the money to begin to rebuild homes. we need the money for our roads and bridges and sewer systems and infrastructure. we need that money to flow for the cities to rebuild. we need to make sure businesses have the money to begin to rebuild what has been lost. that is what the families are waiting for. they look to us in washington to come together and get the work done. can we find the common values to offer some amount of help at a time it is so desperately needed?
i was very grateful to house passed the first $9 billion. it makes a difference. we were able to do it unanimously. but this is just a small first step in the direction of meeting the real needs. new york has always stood by every other region of the country when they have undergone natural disasters. this is a moment when we desperately need other states, senators, and members of the house to stand by new yorkers. it is a time of great need. families are still not in their homes. children are not in their schools. we want to make sure they can rebuild their homes and be back in their communities. that is what we need this money for. i am eager to work hard on the next package. we need to have a package out of the house that mirrors what we passed in the senate. we will work night and day to make sure the needs are being
met. >> we are ready for your questions. >> on your concerns about what is in the house bill, can you talk about that specifically? >> we want to work with them. there are some provisions that are different from the senate bill and make it harder for funding. there are others as well. those are the two that stand out. >> there are relatively small amounts of money in the senate bill that caused controversy. why is it important to keep those in? >> we have had a tradition of dealing with disasters that have not been paid for. there are parts of irene that have not been paid for. there are parts of the tornadoes in missouri that have not been paid for. we have done what the senate has traditionally done. the house has moved to take out some of those. we will see what happens. the bottom line is none of this is extraneous to disasters. if the house wants to take it out, we will have to deal with that in the senate.
it will make some people not happy. it may make it harder to pass. we've gotten the support from our senate members on both sides of the aisle to help the people of hurricane sandy that i think we could overcome it. >> some of the language was opening up vehicles for other states to apply for money. allowing other states to apply for that fema money. that is what makes a difference. we have not had an opportunity to give relief to other states. to broaden what we ask for allows others to make applications to the federal government.
that was a sense of fairness. >> there are some that use things as excuses. some people have said there is pork in this bill. there are no non-disaster related things in the bill. omb scrubbed it to make sure that does not happen. there are some that say we should not do mitigation. that is why they do not want to vote for the bill. we have always done litigation when it comes to disaster. it makes no sense to rebuild a building in a flood plain the same way. we cannot tell people to move a mile up the hill. we are too densely populated. if you tell a lot of our localities they have to pay 35% of the damage, they will never rebuild. the same thing with homeowners and small businesses that have lost everything. i think there has generally been good will on both sides of the aisle and in both houses to help us. there are some that will use
things as excuses. we have started doing it in the hopes to get the best bill the house and senate can pass as quickly as possible. >> do you have any thoughts about why paul ryan voting against this? >> flood insurance is an obligation of the federal government. they pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in premiums, and the government says if you are flooded we will reimburse you. i do not understand why anyone would not want to vote for that. i have not heard congressman ryan's reasoning.
>> we should not give money to a programthat needs reform first? >>that is terribly harsh to a homeowner who has lost their home. should they sit around and wait for two years until we reform the program? there is nothing wrong with reforming the program. we have made efforts to do that. the homeowners who needs this money and had paid in for this money, held as hostage to reform? that is unconscionable, wrong. i would hope congressman ryan would reconsider. >> why are you still working to get the other billions out? what was your understanding? >> there was a huge problem with speaker boehner pulling the bill. now there is a much better attitude on both sides. it was always good on the democratic side.
we will have to work things out in the next few days to see if that can create the kind of bill we need. >> and there seems to be a renewed commitment. this is something we will come together to do. >> we are -- i am -- we are more optimistic today because i think that people realize that playing games with this money was broadly unpopular in every part of the country and with every political stripe. >> i want to switch gears for a minute -- >> let's stay with sandy. >> do you agree with republicans that said the program needs to be privatized? >> i am not for privatization of
flood insurance. there are not enough insurers who would ensure homes at rates that any person could afford. it did not come from a big push from the northeast. the flood insurance came from a big push from florida and the carolinas and the gulf states. the reason there is flood insurance is the private sector would not handle it. >> do you have any idea in terms of claims and time? >> fema will be pretty quick. over $3 billion has been distributed already to individuals and governments. not in terms of the amount of damage, but fema has been quick in its distribution.
the law limits what it can do. i was in long beach, a community of 35,000 people, and the average home experienced more than $100,000 of damage. if you lost your bottom floor, electric system, boiler, it is hard to rebuild that home and make a better with mitigation for $31,900. the money that would go to homeowners and business, they do not have any money. their cupboard is bare. >> does that affect your plans for pursuing a tax relief bill? >> no, we have always had tax relief bills after major storms. irene, a similar one we put in as sandy, that still has not passed. that still is part of the next
tax measure. we can now go to the subject. >> can you talk about your plans for gun-control background checks? >> several of us are working with vice president biden on some reasonable measures. we want to preserve the constitution, the second amendment, but we want to protect our families. there are reasonable reforms, and limiting the military-style weapons, limiting the rounds. common-sense reforms, we do not have a set of laws that prevent people from bringing weapons from one state to another state. it is a huge problem in our state, and those are the kinds of things we can work together, also on mental-health issues. i'm hopeful with senator schumer's leadership we can come together and create a
reasonable agenda. >> there are a lot of senators with proposals to pursue. many are related to guns, mental illness, violence, the general violence in video games, television, and our society. we're working with the white house. we have been talking among members, and you will see a package of proposals emerging when we come back into session. >> are you talking about gun shows? >> we all have our own views. senator gillibrand and i have introduced specifics bills on these issues, but it is
important to figure out the right package. it will be something that i think deals with the problem, but is respectful of second- amendment rights. that is the only way to go. >> there were concerns raised on the house floor when the senate could get to this bill, because you have a filibuster reform. >> leader reid said it will be the first order of business, and it is my hope we get the whole thing down on the president's desk by the end of this month. >> you are on the finance committee. what proposal do you favor to raise revenue to tax reform for deficit reduction? >> we just passed a major bill. we will discuss the various things available.
>> which of the proposed filibuster reforms would you support? >> we have to do something. the senate is broken. if we cannot come to a bipartisan agreement, we have to get 51 votes for some kind of change. that is easier said than done. i think there is a consensus on the democratic side we have to do something. i would like to go as far as we can with something that passes, and that is what we are trying to work on. i believe we need real change. this is the last one. >> your response to senator cornyn's op-ed? >> i have not read my copy of "the houston chronicle" yet.
i think risking government shutdown, risking not raising the debt ceiling, is playing with fire, and it is my strong recommendation to my caucus, to the house democratic caucus, and to the president that we make it clear, not in the middle of february, but from next week on that we are not going to do that. if anyone wants to come in and negotiate and says we will do this only -- we will raise the debt ceiling only if you do a, b, c, they will not have a good negotiating partner. i would bet that they not go forward with that. if they are convinced -- those who want to use the debt ceiling as a tool to bring change that they want, if they realize for sure that they are not going to have a negotiating partner, they will have to find
another route to bring their change. the only way they get leverage is when they think we might negotiate on this issue. it was very sad that in 2011 when that happened, and i think there's a strong consensus not to repeat what i would call -- what most of us would regard as a mistake. ok, thank you, everybody. >> next, live your calls and comments on the washington journal. a forum on efforts to combat human trafficking around the
world. >> the big discussion that i remember was, what is richard nixon going to do? >> and remember saying, this was like a time bomb. it is a disaster for all of us. >> he said, john dean has just wrote me a list of 50 names of people and wants a full field investigation. that is a very unpleasant thing to have happen to you. >> the chief of staff called me. i cannot remember exactly what he said. he said he forgot one thing. we forgot a resignation letter. i said i would be interested in reading it. he said, you need to write it. >> the most interesting thing to
me, key people from that era telling the story themselves. the best way would be to start a video oral history program that would show players from the left and the right, to have them tell the story and to use portions of the story in in the museum to let visitors understand the complexity of the drama. >> timothy nattali details the oral history project sunday night at 8:00 on to win a. >> -- "q &a." >>justin hyde