Alabamians still need disaster recovery assistance – Congress must deliver

April 9, 2019
Representative Roby's Weekly Column

The past few weeks in Washington have been even busier than usual. From votes and hearings to policy meetings and spending time with constituents in my office, the days seem to fly by.

During recent weeks, I have had the opportunity to participate in several incredibly important hearings, including speaking directly to Veterans Affairs Secretary Wilkie about making badly needed improvements at the Central Alabama VA and helping to lead my first hearing as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.

In committee hearings, I have an important opportunity to make the case for the priorities important to those of us who live and work in Alabama’s Second District, such as proper treatment for veterans, strong funding for our military, support for our farmers, protection for the unborn and more. This is a large part of my job as your representative in Congress, and I take it very seriously.

An equally important part of my job is spending time with constituents when they travel to Washington to meet with me and tell me about their ideas and concerns. Over the last several weeks, I have had the privilege of meeting with dozens of constituents who visited my office in Washington to advocate for a wide variety of issues.

During a recent constituent meeting, I sat down with members of the Alabama Cattlemen Association. We discussed a number of issues impacting the cattle industry in Alabama, and they asked for an update on disaster relief for farmers in the Wiregrass who experienced extreme devastation last October when Hurricane Michael ripped through areas of Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

Unfortunately, I did not have good news to share. In the House, a disaster relief package passed back in January, but the Senate hasn’t made much progress on their own version. In fact, Senate Democrats recently blocked a disaster aid bill that would have provided relief to victims of hurricanes, wildfires, and floods because they claimed it did not contain enough additional funding aid for Puerto Rico. Alabama Senator Richard Shelby authored an amendment to this bill that would have allocated funds toward aiding recovery from last month’s tornadoes in Lee County. That amendment also failed.

I am deeply disappointed by this. I firmly believe it is Congress’ responsibility to make disaster recovery funds available for the people who have suffered tremendous loss. In Southeast Alabama, from the Wiregrass over to Lee County, so many people have experienced devastating loss of life, property and livelihood in the last year. I remain hopeful that a solution will be reached – many Alabamians are depending on it.

In the meantime, I encourage anyone who needs disaster-related assistance to contact my offices. We want to serve as a resource for you during this challenging period of recovery. Rest assured that I will continue to support efforts to bring recovery assistance to the Second District.