THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 21, 1996
STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT
I have asked the Congress today for $291 million in supplemental funding for fiscal 1996 to help the victims of Hurricanes Fran and Hortense, bringing total Federal assistance in response to those hurricanes to over $1.5 billion
About half of the $1.5 billion will go to North Carolina -- with the rest spread among South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and perhaps other States. The Federal Government will pay $1.2 billion from existing funds, and I have requested that the Congress allocate the additional $291 million within congressional spending limits.
Total Federal aid almost surely will exceed $1.5 billion, however. These figures do not include all of the expected claims that will come in against the Federal crop and flood insurance programs, both of which have written substantial numbers of policies in the affected States.
I recently visited North Carolina, and I saw for myself the devastation brought by the two hurricanes as well as the related flooding. In addition, senior member of my Administration have visited the region to learn more about the problems that the hurricanes have brought in such areas as agriculture, housing, and public power.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other Federal agencies are doing what they can to help the victims. FEMA, for instance, has provided a full week of 100 percent-financed, direct assistance in the form of equipment, supplies, and personnel to save lives and property, and it will continue to provide 100 percent financing for debris removal. It also has provided extensive individual and public assistance, helping tens of thousands of Americans. In addition, I have directed FEMA officials to continue to assess whether and when North Carolina will be eligible for 90/10 financing -- that is, Federal financing of 90 perecent of the costs -- for eligible public assistance repair.
Other Federal agencies that are providing assistance include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development; Small Business Administration; Army Corps of Engineers; Federal Highway Administration; General Services Administration, and Corporation for National and Community Service.
But we can and must do more. The $291 million that I am requesting today includes funding for the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation as well as the Small Business Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Specifically, the request includes:
Department of Agriculture, $40 million -- $20 million for the Emergency Conservation Program to help farmers and ranchers whose farmland was damaged, and $20 million for the Watershed and Flood Prevention to help communities reduce hazards to life and property; Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, $18 million -- to enhance and improve infrastructure, such as water and sewer systems; Department of Housing and Urban Development, $110 million -- $100 million for Community Planning and Development and $10 million for the Flexible Subsidy Funds program, which provides capital funds for FHA -- insured multifamily housing; Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration, $82 million -- to repair damages and to help meet other anticipated emergency relief needs in fiscal 1997; Small Business Administration's Disaster Loan Program, $22 million -- to quickly service disaster loans in the affected States; and Army Corps of Engineers, $18.8 million -- for high-priority emergency dredging and debris removal in critical waterways. I strongly urge the Congress to quickly approve this
request for supplemental funding. Together, we can provide the assistance that our fellow Americans -- the victims of these natural disasters -- so desperately need.
# # #