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Garamendi Secures Wins for California in Disaster Recovery Bill

June 4, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) applauded the House passage of a $19.1 billion disaster-relief bill (H.R.2157) that supports Californians and other Americans impacted by recent disasters. Garamendi voted “yea” on the bill, which passed the House by a vote of 354-58 and now heads to the President’s desk for signature. Republican Members of the House Freedom Caucus blocked passage of this bill last week, which passed the Senate on May 23 by a vote of 85 – 8. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

“Natural disasters fueled by climate change have wreaked havoc on nearly every corner of the United States in recent years,” Garamendi said. “This legislation provides critical services to help communities recover from recent disasters and to prepare for any similar events in the future. The legislation includes a robust $1 billion funding level for the Army Corps of Engineers to address 2018 and 2019 floods—which could provide critical support in Lake, Glenn, Butte, and Colusa counties. The bill also includes $720 million for the U.S. Forest Service to strengthen forest management efforts, $3 billion to help local farmers recover from losses sustained by disasters, and $349.4 million to repair local drinking water systems—including the water system in Paradise, CA destroyed by the 2018 Camp Fire.”

“I was proud to work with my colleagues in the California delegation to secure Presidential approval of Governor Newsom’s major disaster declaration, which will unlock crucial funding to support Lake, Glenn, and Colusa counties in my district,” Garamendi continued. “I was also proud to work with Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) to extend USDA’s Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP) to cover crop losses stemming from 2018 and 2019 natural disasters, including California wine-grape growers with ‘smoke-tainted’ grapes from fires.”

“Many Americans are still toiling with the effects of natural disasters, and thousands more could be impacted as we enter fire and hurricane season. I urge the President’s immediate signature on this legislation, so we can provide this vital relief to our communities as soon as possible,” Garamendi concluded.

Garamendi also worked with Congressman LaMalfa (R-CA) to ensure that Paradise, CA and communities in Butte County affected by wildfires qualify for grants, loans, and other assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program. The City of Paradise would otherwise exceed the population threshold for USDA Rural Development Program and not qualify, despite many residents leaving following the 2018 Camp Fire.

The legislation also reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30, 2019.