Thompson Offers Critical Amendments to Provide Fire Relief to CA-05


For what purpose does the gentleman from California
seek recognition? Thank you, Madam Chair. I yield myself such time as I may consume. Does the gentleman have an amendment? I do. I have an amendment at the desk. The clerk will designate the amendment. Amendment number seven, printed in part b
of House report number 166-2, offered by Mr. Thompson of California. Pursuant to House Resolution 43, the gentleman
from California is recognized, Mr. Thompson, and a member opposed each will control five
minutes. The chair recognizes the gentleman from California. Thank you Madam Chair. I yield myself such time as I may consume. I appreciate the opportunity to speak in support
of my proposed amendment. Over the past two years, communities across
my district and throughout the state of California have been devastated by some of the biggest,
deadliest and most damaging wildfires in history. These disasters have catastrophic consequences
for our agricultural communities. Wildfires can and do incinerate entire fields
of crops. But they also pose a threat of smoke contamination. Exposure to high levels of smoke which damages
crops beyond save. While smoke damage can effect a range of crops,
wine grapes are particularly vulnerable. I’ve heard from dozens of my constituents
who are facing the loss of their crop as their grapes are rejected due to this smoke damage. I want to thank the appropriations committee
and their staff for working with me to ensure that grapegrowers like those in my district
are supported. However, many wine grapegrowers do not discover
smoke damage until after removing their fruit from the vine. These growers sustain heavy losses and deserve
support. They should not be penalized simply because
the damage to their grapes was discovered after the harvest. My amendment would clarify that assistance
offered under H.R. 268 is available to growers who discover smoke damage after removing their
grapes from the vine. This situation is tragic and far too common. And this clarification is needed to ensure
those in my district receive the support that they deserve. As chairman, Madame Speaker, I want to reiterate
my thanks to the appropriations committee and their staff, and I urge my colleagues
to support this amendment. You’ll back the balance of my time. The gentleman yields. Does a member claim in opposition to the amendment? Hearing none, the chair recognizes changes
on the amendment offered by the gentleman from California. Those in favor, say aye. Aye (crowd)
Those oppose say no. In the opinion of the chair, the ayes have
it, the amendment is agreed to. Thank you. It is now in order to consider amendment number
eight printed in part B of House report 116-2. For what purpose is the gentleman from California
seeking recognition. Madame Speaker, I have an amendment at the
desk. The clerk will designate the amendment. Amendment number 8 printed in part B of House
report 116-2, offered by Mr. Thompson of California. Pursuant to House Resolution 43 the gentleman
from California Mr. Thompson, and the member oppose, each will control five minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California. Thank you Madame Chair, I yield myself as
much time as I may consume and I rise in support of amendment number 8 which provides an additional
50 Million dollars in community development funds for the 2017 federally declared disasters. In October 2017, my district experienced at
that time the most devastating fires in the history of California. The October 2017 wildfires devastated nearly
300,000 acres in California, destroyed some 7,000 homes, caused billions of dollars in
damage, burned to the ground many businesses and most sadly, took the lives of 44 people. In response to these fires, Congress enacted
legislation that delivered California community development block grant disaster relief funding
to address unmet needs and mitigation against future disasters. As communities in my district continue the
long and hard process of rebuilding, we are finding that the unmet needs are greater than
the federal relief provided. Local inspections of residents, damaged or
destroyed in the October 17 fires indicates that FEMAs individual assistance inspection
process significantly underestimated the number of homes damaged or destroyed in Santa Rosa,
one of the cities in my district, by a difference of nearly 2,900 homes. Because the FEMAid data may have informed
its initial allocation to the state of California. This leaves some communities in California,
including Santa Rosa, with considerable unmet need for homeowners who are rebuilding. In terms of public infrastructure, California’s
CBDG-DR action plan allocates 3% of a total of 3.5 Billion federal dollars to the entire
state to aid unmet need for public infrastructure. However, Santa Rosa alone has significant
greater need for recovery of public infrastructure with this projected local cost share for the
repair of the damaged infrastructure over 11 Million dollars. In addition to the local matched requirement
for FEMA public assistance projects, there are several large infrastructure projects
needed due the 17 wildfires, including street repairs, street tree removal, repair to the
sidewalks, and in one particular area, restoration to neighborhood parks. The estimated cost for these projects is more
than 20 Million dollars. My amendment aims to help close this gap by
providing the additional money and community development funds for the 2017 federally declared
disaster. Continued support from the federal government
is essential, as residents seek to rebuild and my district continues its long term recovery. I thank you, and I yield a minute to my colleague
Mrs. Torres from California. The generalwoman is recognized for one minute. Thank you Madam Chair and thank you to the
gentleman from California for yielding and for being such a great leader in helping those
impact by the devastating California wildfires. The numbers are devastating. Nearly 2 Million acres were burned, upwards
of 3.5 Billion in damage, 8,500 individual fires, 98 civilians killed, 6 firefighters
killed, and over 11,000 homes destroyed. With climate change only making things worse,
we must help California rebuild because this is just the beginning. Rain storms will now further ravage communities,
causing mudslides and flooding. The amendment I have offered with Representative
Thompson begins that rebuilding process by increasing funding for the community development
fund, by 50 Million. Specifically for those communities that were
hardest hit in the previous year and I thank gentleman for his work on this and I yield
back the balance of my time. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding back. I would like to thank the Chair of Subcommittee,
Chairman Price for all of his help, and I yield him the remainder of my time. The gentleman yields. The floor recognizes the gentleman from North
Carolina. Madame Chair, we have no objection to this
amendment. In fact, we urge its adoption. The amendment ensures that states in territories
that have suffered from natural disasters in 2017 are made whole, with respect to increased
costs, to repair public infrastructure, and I yield back the remainder of the time. The gentleman from California. I yield back. The gentleman yields. Is there any member that claims time in opposition
to the amendment? The question is on the amendment offered by
the gentleman from California. Those in favor say aye.
(crowd) Aye Those opposed, say no. In the opinion of the Chair, the ayes have
it and the amendment is agreed to.

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