tv FEMA Briefing on Hurricane Florence CSPAN September 13, 2018 10:46am-11:38am EDT
governing powers established therein. it is an honor for me and a sacred duty to protect and uphold the constitution in representing the people of the fifth district here in this congress. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess unt
>> other agencies held a briefing for the latest on hurricane florence. the outer most bands of the storm are beginning to hit the carolina coast. $1st7 million people are under evacuation orders and a million flights have been canceled through fry. just over 20 minutes. >> good morning. appreciate everybody being here. appreciate the job the media has been doing to get this message out to our citizens today. before we get started on floyd, i'm very aware of a recent article in regards to an ongoing investigation by the o.i.g. in regards to fema vehicle usage. every day we work very closely with the o.i.g. and g.a.o. to make meaningful improvements to make sure we're running proms and policies according to regulation and bottom line is we'll begin to fully cooperate
with any investigation that goes n. we'll push forward and keep going. keep moving on. here's the thing. regardless of an article. right now i'm 100% focused on floyd and that's where our attention needs to be in the standpoint of the lifesaving missions w that we'll invite in our federal partners. florence, excuse me. >> were you following the statutes and the laws as it relates to these -- >> we're going to get to floyd -- florence. we're going to get to florence and push forward and concentrate on the life safety issues, thank you.
>> all right. le until regards to florence just because the wind speeds came down, the intensity of this storm came down to cat 2, do not let your guard down. the storm surge forecast associated with this storm has not changed. it has remained the same. here's why. as of system's encroaching on the coast, the winfield has expanded. what you are going to start seeing in a matter of hours, the next coming hours, is these wind bands that far precede the center of circulation will start pushing water up against the coast. but more importantly up the back bay and inland areas. storm surge is not a problem alonth coastline. it's going to be major problem way up into the streams and tributaries that come out of sound areas that push up into the sounds. sound.e ppamlico storm surge is why you have been placed -- many of you have been placed under evacuation. we're asking citizens to please heed the warning.
your time is running out. the ocean is going to start rising along the coast and back bay and inland areas and sound areas within a matter of hours. your time to get out of those areas and storm surge inundation is coming to a close. can i not emphasize that enough. with that -- i cannot emphasize that enough. with that, the other thing that will happen s. not only will we see high winds, 110 mile sustained wind, the wind field is large. there are r there are hurricane force winds that extend far out from the center of circulation, you'll see high inland winds as the storm starts to come in and push into the coast. coupleled with that is ---coupled with that is copious amounts of rainfall. you are already seeing rain bands come along the carolina shoreline. unfortunately, these rain bands will be with us for several days. we're going to -- forecasters are basically indicating feet of
rain, not inches, in portions of the carolinas and into virginia. this is a very dangerous storm. inland flooding kills a lot of people, unfortunately. that's what we're about to see. please keep that in mind. the other thing is is that i want everybody -- is is that i want everybody to know fema and our federal partners have fully prepositioned in support of our state and local partners. we're here to help our governors achieve their response and recovery goals. emergency management is a team sport. it's a commute effort. as this system pushes through, right now we're focused largely on life safety, supporting evacuation movements. supporting mass care. as this system pushes through. starts to exit, the carolinas, virginia, and the threat ceases, we're going to be focused on stabilizing what we call community life lines. for example, we've got to quickly understand the damage that's been done to the transportation systems, the communications systems, the
power systems. we're positioning and have been positioned for multiple days to be ready to get those critical lifelines back up and stable as quickly as we can. let me set the expectations. this is a very dangerous storm. we call them disasters because they break things. the infrastructure's going to break. the power's going to go out t could go out for a number of days. it could go out for many weeks. it's hard to say at this point. not only that, but many of you who have evacuated from the carolina coastlines are going to be displaced for a while, particularly where the areas receive the highest amounts of storm surge. we need people to get their mindsets right that disasters are frustrating. it takes time to get the infrastructure back up and running. we're going to do everything that we can to push forward as quickly as we can to get things back up and working along with our state partners in the private sector who knowns a large portion of the critical infrastructure that's going to
be impacted. with that i want to quickly turn take it o our partner, awafmente >> good morning. florence is a category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles an hour. it is moving northwest and presently centered 170 miles east-southeast of wilmington, north carolina, and 220 miles east of myrtle beach, south carolina. florence is a very large hurricane. hurricane force winds extend outward 80 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend nearly 200 miles out fro the center. florence is forecast to slow down as it approaches the coast. so even today as we see outer rain bands from florence move into the outer banks of north carolina, landfall is not expected for another 36 hours. sometime friday afternoon, friday evening, or even early saturday morning.
this slow moving, very large hurricane will bring a long-term, extreme rainstorm surge and hurricane force wind threat to eastern north carolina and south carolina into the weekend. in north carolina, we're particularly concerned about the pamlico sound and neuse rivers where nine and 12 feet of storm surge are forecast. the beaches from the out you are banks to the wilmington area, six to nine feet of storm surge are forecast over several astronomical high tide cycles. as far as rainfall, we're still forecasting 20 to 30 inches, possibly 40 inches or more, especially in eastern north carolina and northeastern south carolina. in addition to all of that, there is also a extraordinary watch in effect for eastern north carolina today and tomorrow. the next advisory from the national hurricane center will be issued at 11:00 eastern time.
liked to take an opportunity to exif a size the expanse spans of this storm. the tropical storm force winds extend out 200 miles and the hurricane force winds extend out 80. this is a tremendously large storm. when it slows down, when you'll see is this expansive wind field will pile up water along the coast in the form of storm surge. but there will be a tremendous amount of rain. as the storm slows down there will be lots of coastal flooding. with that combined with the on-shore flow it will be hard for this water to evacuate. you'll see a tremendous amount of inland flood,. i would like to thank the noaa corps officers for flying several times to get data. and i'd like to thank the air force for providing reconnaissance as well. mr. long: we have our partners with the american red cross, charlie english, to give us an update on the efforts under way. mr. english: thank you,
administrator long. we appreciate your leadership and inclusiveness of our faith-based and private nonprofit partners on the team. thank you very much for that. red cross and other private nonprofits continue to prestage resources in the theater of operations in the atlantic area. just like to set expectations that the public has not experienced staying in a shelter in the past, you'll be safe, but conditions are spartan. so we ask you to bring your toothbrush, your pillow, other comfort items with you. and we'll keep you safe until the storm passes. then post landfall and post impact it will be a more comfortable situation for you. we'd also like to take the opportunity to say that this storm is a significant event. our resources will be stretched. if you're fortunate enough not to be impacted, we would like to
have you consider being a volunteer. you can do that at redcross.org or any of the other fine agencies that you choose to volunteer with. thank you. mr. long: folks, one of the most powerful arms of the whole community is the nongovernmental organizations like the red cross. here again when this storm passes, this is about neighbor helping neighbor all the way up to the federal government. if you are looking to get involved and not in the carolinas but looking to get involved to help out the situation once this thing's ssed, go to nvoad.org or redcross.or 2k3w6789. next up our partners with the army corps of engineers, mr. ray alexander. mr. alexander: thank you, administrator long, good morning. the army corps of engineers is prepared and ready to respond to hurricane florence, working with our federal family members and state and local partners.
to date we have over 200 over six engaged with million in mission assignment dollars for fema, 19 mission assignments and over 13 million in federal coastal emergency dollars. pacific ocean division continues to assess and respond to the effects of the typhoon and hurricane out in the pacific. while here in the atlantic under our stafford act authorities, we're postured to provide temporary power support, debris management, temporary roofing, housing, and conduct infrastructure assessments in the carolinas, virginia, enelsewhere -- and elsewhere where needed. as far as dams, there are five corps of engineer dams in virginia and north carolina. all have sufficient flood control capability to accept the effects of precipitation from florence. we're working with the army's installation management command to ensure that dams on fort
bragg, north carolina, fort jackson, north carolina, any effects of florence to those dams are mitigated. in temples navigation, we're closely working with our partners from noaa anti-u.s. coast guard and prepared to rapidly open federal chance and other -- channels and other navigation. finally, flood response we're integrated with state and local county governments to provide technical assistance and flood fighting, both before the storm and after. thank you. mr. long: thank you. next up our partners with the coast guard, rear admiral austin. rear admiral austin: thank you. the safety of the people in hurricane florence' past and our own coast guard women and families are our top priority. we're working in close concert with fema and other federal, state, and local partners in preparing for the storm. in preparation for the storm, the coast guard has taken the following actions. the sports of wilmington and moorehead city, north carolina,
and the entrance to the chesapeake bay have been closed. and in preparation also for the storm we have prestaged shallow water response boats as well as bringing in additional search and rescue aircraft which will be staged in air station savannah, georgia, and moved air graft out of elizabeth city to come in behind the storm as soon as it is safe to fly the missions. coast guard is also prestaging other deployable specialized force was additional law enforcement security and oil and hazardous materials response resources to be ready. and all coast guard small boat and cutter crews are going to be outside the storm and ready to move in as soon as safe to do so. . for thess in the path of the storm, please do the following -- stay off the water. coast guard search and rescue resources will be unavailable both before and immediately after the storm. remember, social media is a great way to stay informed. please don't use social media to call for help. call 911 or reach out to channel 16.
once the storm has passed, the areas will still be hazardous so please stay in a safe location while coast guard and other partners assess the damage and we'll let you know when it's safe to do so. thank you. >> thank you. next up we have the office of disability integration and coordination at fema. it's incredibly important for fema to help our partners do everything that we can to render the highest level of functional and access needs, not only during the response phase but also after the recovery phase. linda, would you please say a few words? linda: thank you. excuse me. good morning. so as the disability coordinator and the director of the office of disability integration and coordination, our responsibility is to ensure fema's program and services are available to and accessible to people with disabilities before, during and after disasters. in terms of florence in particular, we are working very closely with our partners at the state and local level, at
the territorial and tribal level, with our federal partners and agencies like the red cross and h.h.s. to ensure people with disabilities have what they need during evacuation, during sheltering, pre and postlandfall. part of our coordination efforts are to ensure we are in close communication with our state and local partners to ensure that any unmet needs people with disabilities have during evacuation or sheltering and in terms of response and recovery are met and we'll continue to closely coordinate with our state and local and federal partners to ensure that people with disabilities who are impacted by the storms have what they need to safely evacuate, that they have what they need in the shelters and that they can effectively respond to and recover from the effects of the disaster. mr. byard: thank you. next up -- mr. long: emergency protection agency. >> thank you, administrator long. i'm the director of office of
emergency management. e.p.a. is the lead federal agency for inland releases of oil and hazardous substances through emergency support function 10 under the national response framework. in addition to request for assistance from our states, tribes, and local government, partners, some of the things that peafment is currently doing prior to hurricane florence is to determine the status of preparation at chemical, oil, and production facilities that may be in the path of the storm. and to identify any releases and discharges of hazardous substance for oil caused by the storm. the agency has identified sites under superfund risk management program and the facility response plan program for oil that may be in concurrent projected path of the hurricane and we're trying to assess any prelawful concerns. we're -- prelandfall concerns. we're working with state,
tribal, to work with drinking water. in north carolina, south carolina, georgia, virginia have waivers which is to help ensure there's adequate fuel supply and gasoline in the affected areas until the normal supply to the region can be restored. currently, e.p.a.'s emergency operation centers at headquarters here in washington, d.c., in e.p.a. region 3, philadelphia, and in e.p.a. region 4, atlanta, georgia, are all activated. we have teams of onscene coordinators and equipment ready to deploy. we will continue to coordinate with and support our federal, state, tribal and local government partners as needs arise. thank you. administrator long: last up, our fema spanish language update. daniel. ake it away. daniel: [speaking spanish]
thank you. administrator long: questions in regards to florence? >> do you have a cost estimate yet? rene martin, cnn. do you have a cost estimate yet of what sort of damage this hurricane will do? administrator long: no. we don't have that. this storm is almost a combination of hurricane hugo and hurricane floyd. you know, it brings elements of both. hugo brought high winds and inland impacts and floyd caused a lot of inland rainfall that caused a lot of problems. if you look at the disaster dollars connected to either one of those events, this one has the potential, by all means, to line up with that. yes, ma'am. >> hi. this is a question for mr. cheatham.
staffing-wise, how has this impacted the ability to do your job and keep people safe? are there positions that aren't filled that should be there? mr. cheatham: we're staffed at the levels we were during last year's response season in 2017 with harvey, irma, maria and the california wildfires confronted us and we're prepared to move. administrator long: yes, sir. >> spectrum news. you guys talked a lot about how well relationships with state and local officials are, especially in the carolinas. are any noticeable vulnerabilities that you noticed in that relationship that are void or in terms of services ahead of this that you say this is a problem that we're actively working to address before the storm makes landfall? administrator long: no, the communications -- the capabilities of north carolina, south carolina, virginia, are strong and they have some very strong and experienced local
emergency management agencies as well. as i've been saying, you know, the successful emergency response and recovery, you can equate it to the chair you're sitting in with four legs. the four legs represent one things. one leg is the federal government. that's us, and the response we put forward. the second leg is the state and local governments. the third leg is our n.g.o. partners, our nongovernmental organization partners and the private sector. private sector owns a lot of the infrastructure. fourth leg is the citizen. so anytime you have all four of those legs present going into disaster, things are going to go fairly well. look, people will get frustrated because it's a disaster and stuff is broken. let's set that expectation. i feel confident all four of those legs are going into this event. unlike other events we've seen in the past. so when that occurs, look, we're going to have some problems. we're going to have to troubleshoot some gaps that pop up, but we have solid communication with all the governors, solid relationships with the state deprectors, our regional partners, everybody
involved. so we are truly prepositioned as best we can be based on what we know and that the forecast provides us. all right, folks. thank you. >> so administrator, can i ask you a follow-up? you brought this up at the very beginning and i do want to get you on record since you brought it up. do you feel confident that all of the laws and statutes were followed as a government? administrator long: good question. i would never intentionally run a program incorrectly. if we made mistakes on the way the program was run, we'll work with the o.i.g. to get those corrected. doing something unethical is not part of my d.n.a. and my track record my whole entire career. we'll work with the o.i.g. >> thank you, everybody. that's all we have time for today. as always, please, any additional questions, you can .dhs.gov. t fema
please be safe and download the fema app. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> well, later today, pentagon officials will brief reporters on their preparations for hurricane florence. that is set for 4:00 p.m. eastern and you can see it live on our companion network c-span2. washington post reporter bob woodward is our "washington journal" guest monday at 7:00 a.m. eastern talking about his new book "fear: trump in the white house." and then on tuesday at 8:30 a.m. eastern, former r ependent counsel, ken star joins us to talk about his book "contempt." house republican leaders held a briefing this morning in the capitol answering questions
about hurricane florence and the president's claim that 3,000 people did not die in puerto rico last year in the aftermath of hurricane maria nd a number of other topics. mrs. mcmorris rodgers: good morning, everyone. we are continuing to monitor hurricane florence and urge everyone to take the necessary precautions and listen to the mother-in-law responders to keep safe. -- listen to the emergency responders to keep safe. good news in the house is the senate has done some work on the appropriations bills and that we will be passing three appropriations and get them enacted online -- or on time, and more to come. we also will be voting this week on the bipartisan infrastructure bill to strengthen nation's ports, waterways and dams. and today, the ways and means committee will mark up the tax cuts legislation to make permanent the tax cuts for families and businesses. for jobs and a booming economy,
this majority is getting things done. you know, for almost a decade, we have been asking -- where are the jobs? in 2013, o.m.b. had said to expect slower g.d.p. over the long term. slow growth was called the new normal. now, the american people didn't accept this new normal. neither did we. we promised a better way two years ago. at better.gop you can see all of the details of our work in the last two years and it's we need to keep this momentum because people and communities are better off today. people who are hit hardest during the recession are rejoining the work force. middle-class income hit an all-time high last year. wages are growing at the fastest rate in nine years. small business optimism is off the charts. in my home state of washington, the average wain increase has hit a 10-year high. and a new study just showed that washington state is
leading this year's uptick in personal income growth. while democrats right now are running on raising taxes and taking this all away, our economy is breaking records with results that the republicans promised, and we aren't slowing down. this morning, very pleased to have ron estes from the fourth district of kansas with us today. the average family of four in his district will see a $2,000 in increased money in their pocket thanks to the tax cuts and jobs act. he crisscrossed his district during the month of august, holding a whole host of forums and he's with us to share a little bit more about that. welcome, ron. mr. estes: well, thank you, and good morning. i want to echo the concerns, our thoughts and prayers are going out for the folks in the path of hurricane florence. you know, i want to talk this morning about how folks in my district in south central kansas are better off now because of some of the great
things we've done. as went through the district during the month of august and focused on how individuals' lives, how businesses, how farmers, how our veterans are better off, we focused on seeing the difference between having an economy that only grew at 1.9% during the obama administration versus now we're growing at 4.2%. and what that's translated into more communities, more jobs, more benefits for folks in my district. you know, we've had in kansas over 24 businesses that have publicly announced they're doing bonuses and/or pay raises for their employees. one of the businesses in my state, leekal bank, community-based bank, legacy bank is one of the recent ones that announced they're giving $1,000 bonuses per each employee. just this summer they announced that. in august i met with them and we kind of talked with some of the employees on the leadership team there and their message
there without the tax cuts and jobs act they wouldn't have been able to do that. they wouldn't have been able to give that benefit to their employees. what we're seeing is employees are getting can then be turned around in the community, buying an automobile, taking their family out to dinner, saving for retirement, saving for the college education for their kids. you know, wichita railway systems, which is a local railroad car supplier, announced what we think is the largest bonuses, $3,000 to $6,000 for their employees, it's a small distribution company that actually helps make sure our economy keeps moving forward. there's just so much now with the economic growth that rail lines are actually increasing the amount of traffic they have and they've seen an uptick in business from that standpoint. i don't want to talk only about the economy, only about the positive things from the tax cuts, because we've seen a lot of veterans in our military that are also better off now because of the priorities that
we've put into this session. you know, by passing the v.a. mission act and by passing things like, you know, the affordable housing credit improvement, what we've seen is veterans, particularly veterans in my district, see benefits out of that. we have -- my district extends, you know, 2 1/2 miles outside of wichita where the bob dole v.a. hospital is located. our veterans are having to drive in for routine checkups and they won't have to do that now with some of the options that they'll have with the mission act. instead of driving that much time, they're going to be able to actually see a local physician, which then helps their quality of life, but it also helps the rural doctor, the rural hospital in terms of having additional patients to take care of. we also -- i had the opportunity to attend one of the housing developments, a couple of them, actually, that were being built using some tax credits that are specifically targeted towards veterans and
targeted for the elderly. and at the ribbon cutting for one of the veterans there told the local media this is a miracle right here. god's done a lot of miracles in my life but this is one of the top ones. and it's phenomenal to see the things they have that are beneficial for them now because of some of the things that we've done in helping them. you know, altogether, a lot of these actions have encouraged just rapid growth in our economy, both in the state as well as throughout the country. i want to close talking a little bit of story about one of the other businesses in my district. b.g. products is located in wichita, kansas, headquartered in wichita, kansas. it's an automotive manufacturers group that was started by a bunch of world war ii veterans and auto industry folks. however, two years ago, b.g. products was at a crossroads trying to figure out where they would go. following the tax cuts and jobs act, brment g. products was able -- b.g. products was able to push forward with new plans,
putting those new tax savings directly towards a new building and new jobs. on august 24, b.g. products broke ground on a 45,000 square foot new addition that will invest $24 million in the community and add 21 new jobs. that's 21 new families that will be better off because of the jobs that are improved. this kind of expansion would not be possible without the tax cuts and jobs act and some of the things we have done over the last year and a half. and so b.g. products is better off now, our economy is better off now, my district, south central kansas is better off now and the country is better off now because of the things we've done over the last year and a half. i want to say thank you for be able to talk about the things going on in my district. sleastsleast thank you, ron. good morning, everybody. my prayers go out -- mr. scalise: thank you, ron. good morning, everybody. my prayers go out to those
affected by hurricane florence. when you see the size of this hurricane, the first thing i would say is listen to your local leaders. when you hear governors talking about evacuations, please take heed because it's important, most important thing is to keep your family safe. you can shore up your house, take your pets with you, but if you're in the path of that storm and your local leaders are telling you to evacuate, please take heed and ultimately make sure you're safe and my office stands ready to help anybody that ultimately has to deal with the consequences. but hopefully everybody is safe through this tragic storm. i do want to talk about this great economy. you know, when you look at these numbers, seeing middle-class wages at an all-time high, seeing unemployment at an 18-year low, family wages going up, these are great results for the families across this country that we fought for, that president trump fought for and it's working. in fact, the economy's doing so well that now you see barack
obama trying to take credit for this great economic growth. i'm glad he recognizes that after eight years of a dismal economy, of high unemployment, of people having no opportunity we have finally been able to reverse so many of the radical regulations that barack obama put in place that killed the economy by cutting taxes and reversing all of the obama tax increases. we're seeing this great economic growth. people out there that are experiencing the positive effects of this growing economy know how it happened. they know it happened because we finally got regulations under control. they know it happened because we worked with president trump here in congress to cut taxes, to put more money back in their paychecks through both higher wages and lower taxes. that's why we're rebuilding our middle class. we want to keep that going. we don't want to reverse this success. and in fact, when you look at the contrast in this election, nancy pelosi is making to clear what she would do. she said she would reverse the tax cuts. she wants to lead a charge to
abolish i.c.e. the people that keep our communities safe. when i go around the country, especially when i go to swing districts, those families don't want nancy pelosi to take away their tax cuts. they surely don't want to abolish i.c.e. which would make our communities more dangerous. they want to keep those tariffs and those drug dealers and those human traffickers out of our country. we want to make the contrast. while we're making this contrast, i think it's important we maintain civility in our debate. you saw, again, this week an attack on a candidate for congress based on his political views. there is no place in our society for violence or inciting violence against people based on their political views or who they work for. and we all need to be calling that out. not just republican leaders but democrat leaders need to be calling it out as well. this is the greatest country in the history of the world. one of the things that makes it
great is that we respect other people's views. and even if you disagree with somebody's politics, you resolve those differences at the ballot box. you don't resort to violence like we see in third world countries. and when that happens we all need to stand against it. there is no place for it in our society. mr. mccarthy: judy and i want to send our prayers to the family that lost their loved ones last night. many of you know my hometown of bakersfield, there was a tragic act of violence. six individuals lost their lives. bakersfield is unique. in the aspect on these type of situations we will come together as one to work to get through this. and we continue to find more information of why it took place. i also want to keep in mind those who are facing the hurricane florence today. as you know, we have a busy week and we had a lot scheduled but i informed the members that
we'll be departing today after the vote on the appropriation bills so members can catch their flights back to their districts. some are still in their districts but i want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity. there's a lot of important work being done, as you heard, from the other members. there's a real difference between the results that have happened in this congress. the results overcoming the resistance from the other side. every day we learn more and more of new statistics and new facts of an economy getting stronger. yesterday, about the middle income being higher or the poverty level going down. that is the difference with this congress -- what this congress and this administration has been able to achieve. we have more work to do. another new fact that you're going to have, you're going to find we are going to get our appropriation process finished. something congress has not done for a few decades. the senate voted last night and we'll have it coming through
today, there's important facts in here. one that ron estes talked about, the v.a. mission act. it builds on what we've been able to do and improve the v.a., making sure the very best employees can rise up and those who are not reaching the quality of level that they should could depart. mission act looks for the veterans themselves at the best form of care at the local location at the same time. we also look at the american water infrastructure act. very important. more than $3 billion of goods move every single day. it affects every single state, building for the future when it comes to infrastructure as well. we know we'll have more work to do when we come back, but we want to make sure these got to the president's desk, that timing was appropriate. as we sit and work with this administration and those who've been before that we are prepared for the hurricanes when they come, to protect them in the beginning and help build after the aftermath.
speaker ryan: kevin, you left this. first off, i want to say we're thinking about the people in hurricane florence's wake, people in the carolinas. i know coastal folks don't need mainlanders telling them how to handle a storm like this but i would be remiss if i did not tell folks, please listen to your local officials. please encourage people to follow all local emergency orders. our thoughts and our prayers are with the people who are in the path of this hurricane. we're going to keep monitoring this storm and congress stands to assist the people who will be in these affected areas in any way that we can. now we're here because we're doing some really important to things on the floor today. this mini bus conference report is a national security bill. it's a veterans' bill it provides critical funding to rebuild our military infrastructure. it strengthens our electrical
grid and it supports our nuclear weapons programs. it puts historic resources behind the reforms that we made to improve health care at the v.a. that is a critical part of our better way agenda that is getting executed and implemented today and i cannot stress this enough. this represents a return to our most basic responsibility around here -- passing appropriation bills. since we are doing this, this is the first time since 2007 that the house and the nat will send multiple appropriation measures to the president's desk on time. so we are actually seeing a restoration of regular order which is something that is extremely important to make the house and the senate work well. this is how it always should be done. but it hasn't been this way for a long time. so it really is a big step in the right direction and we are going to build on this. lastly, this has been another good week, a great week for economic news. yesterday, we got news that median household income has increased to a record high.
this comes on the heels of friday's report showing wages had their biggest increases since 2009. the bottom line is this -- americans are earning more. their finances are improving. people are better off. this is what matters. we can do a lot of work here in washington, but what really counts is how these policies improve people's lives and here we see yet another sign that we are on the right track. that the policies we have put in place in this congress are indeed improving people's lives. you can learn more about this by going to better.gop. any questions? reporter: i hope you could -- celebrate the packers' victory? speaker ryan: thank you for bringing it up. yeah. reporter: i wanted to touch on something what you talked about last night and that is erosion in trust in public trust in civil institutions. first, wanted to ask you about
you will convene a meeting in february to discuss prevention of sexual abuse. you're a prominent catholic. i wonder what your reaction would be on that. also wanted to ask you about the president, he had a tweet this morning that really challenged a report that said 3,000 people died in hurricane maria, puerto rico, and he said that's the democrats out to make him look bad by revising that people. he said only 60 people died. you've been to puerto rico and the aftermath of that storm. what do you think? speaker ryan: casualties don't make a person look bad. i have no reason to dispute these numbers. i was in puerto rico after the hurricane. this was a horrible storm. i toured the entire island. and it was -- it's an isolated island that lost its infrastructure and power for a long time. you couldn't get to people for a long time on the island because roads were washed out, power was gone. the casualties mounted for a
long time. so i have no reason to dispute those numbers. those are just the facts of what happens when a horrible hurricane hits an isolated place like an island. the earlier point you made, this is very disturbing. first, we need to think about the victims. we need to make sure that the victims get the help they need. second, as a practicing catholic, the last thing that this needs to be is become relegated to a fight between the catholic left and the catholic right. this needs to be elevated to truth and justice. that means cleanse the problem with total transparency and total accountability so that the healing can begin and so that the church can renew itself. so it's a very disturbing development. i pray and hope that the church gets this right. i think cardinal denardo who is
e head of the -- galveston-houston cardinal can see is on the right track. i pray for him as he goes to the vatican, i think, today. reporter: do you believe they are trustworthy, though? speaker ryan: i don't know the facts. but the facts need to come out. that's the point i'm trying to ake. [speaking foreign language] did i pronounce it good? reporter: the nasty tone of the nasty ads about the super p.a.c. that you have single handedly raised millions of dollars for. -- democrat law firm hip-hop album, i'm curious your view on -- speaker ryan: first, i legally cannot contact a super p.a.c.,
any super p.a.c. about what they do or don't do on ads. we are legally prohibited from discussing ads with super p.a.c.'s. even the nrcc. so having said all that, i think you know me pretty well. i abhor identity politics. i don't think identity politics is good for the country. i don't think it's good for society. i think campaigns are most successfully run by talking about ideas. for instance, we had a really good record to run on. look at the phenomenal ideas that we have put into place and they're making a big difference in people's lives. also, look at how far left the democrats are going. they want to abolish i.c.e. they want to socialize medicine. they want to repeal all the economic policies that have made this economy great. i think we got a fantastic contrast to run on. i would just leave it at that, that i don't think identity politics should be played by anybody at any time. i'll just leave it at that. reporter: just to follow-up on
that -- if that super p.a.c. is exploiting identity politics in some cases, will you stop raising money for it? speaker ryan: you can't legally coordinate with a super p.a.c. i want to save our majority. am going to do the things to save our majority and do it all by following exactly the same finance laws. reporter: on the 3,000, does it disturb you that the a president made that claim and do you think he owes the families of those -- an apology? speaker ryan: i will say what i said. there is no reason to dispute those numbers. this is a function of a devastating storm that hit an isolated island that's and that's really no one's fault. that is what happened. reporter: mr. speaker, you were talking about the minibus and the appropriations process. the one that's on the floor today, mark walker, the chairman of the r.n.c. put out a statement that ideas are shut out the board. and another round of appropriations republicans would like to see policy
priorities -- [inaudible] would like to see their priorities reflected like the riders are in the house bill. unless this is done, many of their members will find it difficult to support this finding. are you concerned about getting conservative riders in these bills, especially the one that -- speaker ryan: i think we have a great amount of victories for our members. first of all, we're funding the v.a. mission act is a perfect example. done the way the house wanted to get it done. so we -- when you're negotiating with two parties in four corners, you're not going to get everything you want. that is how negotiations and compromise and legislation works. having said that, this passed 94-5? so i think the senate vote sort of speaks for itself. >> last question. speaker ryan: chad. reporter: thank you, mr. speaker. we talked about the storm here. i know last year you guys moved supplemental bills for irma and harvey.
based on lindsey's questions, concerns raised by conservatives and deficit and spending, as they assess the needs after the hurricane, do you think the -- it's targeted a little bit towards these disaster relief bills? you'll probably have to do some supplemental if this storm is as bad as it is and they move past kind of what sideline the sandy bill a few years ago -- speaker ryan: yeah. reporter: why? speaker ryan: if memory serves, there were things in the sandy bills that a lot of members didn't think deserved to be in a disaster supplemental bill. those bills have been cleaned up since then. the harvey and maria bills are what i call much cleaner bills. and also, we have plused up the fema account. right now fema has money in the pipeline. i think we're better prepared on the front line of this. you would never know what's going to be needed until you've gone through the disaster. so is it in the realm of possibility we will have a supplemental? of course it is because
disasters that we don't predict. we have the disaster relief fund that operates on rolling averages but sometimes big storms exceed those averages and then we appropriately respond. last two splulls which these members are very involved in, i think we had much cleaner bills that were focused getting the aid where it needed to be. more importantly, i think we're doing a better job on mitigation, trying to get infrastructure built. the wrda bill, water infrastructure, which is one of our better way for infrastructure, it helps provide mitigation so that levees don't break, so bayous are built, so reservoirs are constructed so we don't have devastation as we had before. thank you.
>> thank you, guys. >> and the house comes back into session at noon eastern today. just under half an hour. they'll be working on a spending bill covering veterans' affairs, miller construction, energy and water programs and the legislative branch. also today, a water programs bill authorizing 12 new army corps of engineers' water projects and grants to states for clean water drinking water programs. when the house finishes its work today they will be done with legislative business until september 25. house leaders have postponed tomorrow's session due to hurricane florence. when they return, we'll have live coverage at noon eastern here on c-span. also today, a briefing for reporters at the pentagon about the military's preparations r
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