Letter to Hon. Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Richard Shelby, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Rosa DeLauro, Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, and Hon. Kay Granger, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Appropriations - Higgins Again Pushes House, Senate Appropriators for Additional Hurricane Relief


Date: March 7, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

Chairman Leahy, Vice-Chairman Shelby, Chair DeLauro, and Ranking Member Granger:

As you finalize negotiations ahead of the upcoming budget deadline, I again urge you to
include additional disaster funding for South Louisiana's unmet hurricane recovery needs.

Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta, and Ida dealt devastating blows to South Louisiana, all
within an 18-month period. Layered on top of those disasters were a severe winter storm and
historic flood event that further damaged homes and public infrastructure. These are
unprecedented circumstances, which warrant long-term recovery resources beyond what has
already been appropriated through Congress.

While I appreciate the opportunity to work with appropriators to secure $5 billion for the
Community Development Block Grant -- Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program in the
September Continuing Resolution, Louisiana's share is insufficient to meet long-term recovery
needs. Of the $2 billion presently allocated through the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD), Louisiana received $600,131,000 for areas impacted by Hurricanes Laura
and Delta to use for housing, infrastructure, and disaster mitigation needs. However, the State of
Louisiana estimates a $300 million shortfall for housing needs alone. The total unmet need,
including public infrastructure and disaster mitigation, is even greater. This is without
consideration of Hurricane Ida, which has yet to receive a CDBG-DR allocation.

The Louisiana congressional delegation addressed these concerns and outlined unmet
needs in a similar letter dated February 18, 2022. As we approach the upcoming deadline, I again
urge you to include additional CDBG-DR funding for 2020 and 2021 natural disasters in any
spending measure that moves forward. For many months, we have advocated for increased
funding in support of South Louisiana's long-term recovery mission. I humbly ask for your
assistance in fulfilling these urgent needs.

Further, I understand Congress intends to advance $10 billion in emergency funding and
armaments for Ukraine. Though I support this endeavor in principle, we cannot send taxpayer
dollars to a foreign war effort while neglecting the needs of citizens here in the United States.
Any spending measure, whether it be an omnibus or a short-term continuing resolution, is
incomplete without additional disaster funding for South Louisiana.

I look forward to your response and working with you to provide additional disaster
funding for South Louisiana.