Axne Successfully Includes Iowa Funding in New House Emergency Disaster Bill

April 10, 2019
Press Release
New House emergency supplemental bill includes an additional $3 billion to address Midwest flooding and funds programs Axne requested last Friday

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne’s request for Iowa relief funding was successfully included in the new House appropriations emergency disaster supplemental bill which was introduced by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY). The new emergency appropriations bill includes an additional $3 billion to address urgent needs following flooding in the Midwest and tornadoes in the South. In addition to the $3 billion, the new bill also includes funding for specific recovery programs Rep. Axne requested in a letter to House appropriators last Friday.

“Amid Washington dysfunction, I’m proud to have stood up and fought hard to make sure Iowa wasn’t left out of disaster relief funding. I was back down in Southwest Iowa this past weekend and saw firsthand the devastation that these floods have caused and the long road to recovery. Iowans desperately need help from the federal government to rebuild and recover from this disaster,” said Rep. Axne. “Thank you to Chairwoman Lowey for hearing the concerns of our communities. I strongly urge my colleagues in the House and the Senate to immediately pass this bill for my district and for communities across the country.”   

Last week, Rep. Axne urged Congressional leadership to immediately pass a disaster supplemental appropriations bill that includes funding for Iowa following the Senates failure to move forward the bill. Additionally, Rep. Axne identified and requested House appropriators fund specific recovery programs needed to help Iowa rebuild and recover from the disaster. On Monday, Rep. Axne introduced legislation to ensure Iowa was included in any new additional supplemental funding bill.

“I am proud to stand with Congresswoman Axne to bring immediate assistance to people in Iowa and across the country who have been affected by recent disasters. Thanks to her strong voice on this issue, we have included $3 billion to meet needs in the Midwest – including $500 million in emergency assistance for farmers. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join us in quickly advancing this commonsense legislation,” said Rep. Nita Lowey, Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The $17.2 billion emergency supplemental builds on legislation the House passed in January to provide relief and recovery assistance for Americans affected by recent natural disasters, while including new language to provide funding for the Midwest.

In addition to the $3 billion, the following federal programs – which Rep. Axne requested funding for last Friday – were included in the legislation:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):

  • $125 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program
  • $500 million for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)
  • $ 3 billion for crop losses

U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC):

  • $600 million for the Economic Development Administration Program
  • $15 million for the Legal Services Corporation

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

  • $30 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • $30 million for the Health Surveillance and Program Support
  • $250 million for the Children and Families Social Services Block Grant

Army Corps of Engineers:

  • $575 million specifically for Mississippi River repairs to levees, dams, and other projects
  • $908 million for maintenance of Army Corp Levees and Dams damaged by disasters.  
  • Additionally, the text included requested language requiring the Army Corp of Engineers to provide a monthly report to Congress.

The legislation is similar to an emergency disaster appropriations bill – H.R. 268 – that passed the House on January 16, prior to the Midwest floods and Southern tornadoes, and then stalled in the Senate. The full text of the bill – H.R. 2157 – is here. A division-by-division summary of the bill is here.

Rep. Axne has worked tirelessly over the last few weeks to ensure Iowans receive the support they need. In addition to requesting funding for specific recovery programs:

  • On March 22, Rep. Axne urged President Trump to support Governor Kim Reynolds’ request for a major disaster declaration. On March 23, President Trump issued a disaster declaration, ensuring the full availability of federal resources to support Iowa’s efforts to guarantee public safety and rapid recovery. 
  • On March 26, Rep. Axne requested House and Senate appropriators increase funding for federal disaster aid to ensure that programs, which are vital to rebuilding Iowa communities, do not lapse or expire. Given the ongoing effects of climate change and severe weather that is affecting communities in Iowa and across the country, Rep. Axne urged House and Senate appropriators to provide sufficient funding to ensure Iowa’s rural communities receive the aid they need.
  • On March 28, Rep. Axne invited the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to join her on April 6th to tour the flood damage in Southwest Iowa. As the Secretaries of two vital agencies that handle disaster recovery, Rep. Axne believes it is critical for them to survey the damage in order to fully understand the scope of federal assistance needed to rebuild these rural communities.
  • On March 29, Rep. Axne sent a letter requesting USDA immediately authorize emergency relief programs to assist Iowa farmers impacted by the severe flood. President Trump’s disaster declaration allowed for the USDA to authorize specific recovery programs, including Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program and the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), which are vital to helping Iowa farmers recover and rebuild. On March 25th, USDA announced the authorization of these programs for Nebraska farmers. Rep. Axne is committed to holding USDA accountable to providing Iowa farmers with the assistance they need to rebuild and recover from this flood.
  • On April 5, Rep. Axne urged House and Senate leadership to immediately pass a disaster relief bill that fully funds recovery programs for all affected areas, including Iowa. Rep. Axne expressed disappointment in the Senate for failing to pass a disaster supplemental funding bill and called on both chambers to immediately pass a bill to ensure Iowa communities receive the federal assistance they need to rebuild and recover.
  • On April 5, Rep. Axne requested funding for specific programs to be included in any new supplemental emergency disaster bill.