Iowa Congressman Tom Latham voted in the early hours of Friday morning to provide victims of natural disasters, including Iowans along the Missouri River, with $1 billion in emergency funding that is slated to run dry over the weekend.
The disaster funds were included in legislation that funds the government beyond the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. In addition to providing the much needed boost in funding to disaster victims, the legislation also cuts federal spending levels across the board as House Republicans continue their efforts to end irresponsible spending in Washington.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the legislation by a vote of 219-203, sending the bill to the Senate for consideration.
“The House came together to do the right thing for the American people and for Iowans who have been struggling with floods along the Missouri River for months,” Congressman Latham said after the vote. “The disaster funding included in the legislation is absolutely necessary to provide assistance to the families, farmers, small businesses and communities who have been affected by the unprecedented flooding in states along the Missouri River. I’m proud to have twice supported this bill in the past two days because getting people back up on their feet should be Washington’s priority right now. I urge the Senate to approve the legislation as quickly as possible to avoid the depletion of this important funding over the weekend.”
In another sign of changing the way Washington works, the legislation offsets the cost of the emergency funding by cutting a taxpayer-funded federal electric car loan program – a stagnant “stimulus” program that currently has more than $4 billion in unspent funds. In addition, the legislation includes a rescission of $100 million to the Department of Energy’s Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, which is another “stimulus” program that was responsible for funding the now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra. The offsets mean the emergency funds do not add to the nation’s deficit outlook and will not force future generations to pay for additional spending incurred today. Democrats who opposed the bill objected to the cuts to the failed stimulus program that funded the high-profile Solyndra case and the electric car program, which has benefited the states of California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, and Tennessee.
“When there is so much on the line for Iowans dealing with natural disasters, we can’t allow politics to come before people and partisanship to come before progress,” Congressman Latham said. “It’s my hope that we can come together and set politics aside and get this important legislation signed into law to help long suffering flood victims.”
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