THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
The President has sent to the Congress a request for additional Fiscal Year 1994 funds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to meet the needs of the State of California and homeowners and businesses in the wake of the southern California earthquake earlier this year.
The funds would permit SBA to provide up to an additional $1.7 billion in low-interest disaster loans for homes and businesses, primarily to assist the victims of the Northridge earthquake. Disaster loan applications are being received at an unprecedented rate, and SBA needs additional resources to meet the demand.
To help pay the $400 million cost of providing these additional loans and SBA's associated administrative costs, the President asked the Congress to reduce by $400 million the contingency fund provided to the Federal Highway Administration in the disaster assistance legislation enacted in February. The Department of Transportation's efficient management of the highway repair effort has resulted in costs being lower than originally anticipated.
In addition, the President asked for an increase of $150 million in FEMA's loan authority to allow for a loan to the State of California to help it meet its responsibilities under the cost-sharing provisions of the overall assistance package.
"Californians have been working extraordinarily hard to get their homes, their businesses, and their lives back to normal," the President said. "This is creating unexpected and unprecedented need for assistance from the Federal Government. This recommendation should assure the people of southern California that our commitment to help them get back on their feet remains strong and unwavering."
The new assistance would bring to $12.2 billion the total of budget resources that have been made available to California in response to the earthquake, including $4.1 billion in SBA loan authority for homes and businesses.
To meet needs arising from the recent high level of refinancing of existing mortgages and new home purchases, the message from the President to the Congress also requests that the Congress provide increased Fiscal Year 1994 loan guarantee authority to key Federal housing programs that would otherwise run out of authority before the end of the fiscal year.
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