WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) praised the Senate for completing its work on a disaster relief package that was months overdue. The central component of the bipartisan compromise includes $19.1 billion to help Americans citizens recover from natural disasters from 2017-2019. The most controversial aspect of the process – a late-breaking Administration request to include an unrelated $4.5 billion more in border enforcement funding – has been avoided. The House must now follow suit without any further delay.
“Americans from coast to coast will at long last see federal funding in their communities to help rebuild and begin anew in some of the areas hardest hit by natural disasters over the past three years,” said Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “But it is more than just disaster aid and overdue funding for hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico. Millions of Puerto Ricans struggling to feed their families will now have their nutrition assistance reestablished after being cut or eliminated in March. Millions for nutrition assistance, health care funding, and Medicaid payment forgiveness have all been approved. Today was a very good day for our fellow citizens who have been struggling for far too long.”
As lawmakers neared a deal, the Administration threatened to veto any disaster relief bill that did not include extra billions for border enforcement funding. This money would have been spent on more detention centers, more deportation, more detainment, and further border militarization. Completely unrelated to disaster relief, these demands again risked derailing months overdue disaster relief. With pressure to provide relief aid coming to a boiling point, the Administration relented.
“The last thing the humanitarian crisis on the southern border needs is more money for more of the same cruel policies. The truth is the status quo is not working for anyone. Why intensify the problem? It is not as if better more cost-effective policies don’t exist,” explained Hannah Graf Evans, FCNL’s Immigration and Refugee Policy Legislative Representative.
“We hope today will prove to be the first step Congress will take in reasserting its authority to appropriate money and set rational immigration policy. There are plenty of orderly, compassionate solutions to our immigration crisis. We welcome that debate.”
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.