Rep. Axne Introduces Legislation to Ensure Iowa is Included in Disaster Relief Funding

April 8, 2019
Press Release
Axne legislation would ensure Iowa is included as part of any 2019 disaster supplemental funding

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) introduced legislation that would ensure Iowa is included in any new emergency disaster supplemental funding legislation following the Senate’s failure to move forward a $13 billion appropriations bill last week. Specifically, the bill would ensure that the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP) is amended to include Iowa flooding. This legislative change would authorize Iowa to access funding for programs to help rebuild communities suffering due to flooding that occurred in Iowa in the calendar year 2019. The legislation is similar to an amendment Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) offered to the Senate bill which stalled last week.  

On Friday, April 5th, Rep. Axne urged House and Senate leadership to immediately pass a disaster supplemental appropriations bill that would fund specific federal relief programs that are critical to Iowa’s recovery efforts. Following this request, Rep. Axne introduced legislation that would authorize Iowa to access funding for critical recovery programs.  

“Recent flooding has devastated communities in Southwest Iowa who desperately need help from the federal government” said Rep. Axne. “Today, I’ve introduced legislation to ensure Iowa has access to funding for programs to help rebuild and recover from this natural disaster.”

In January, the House passed an appropriations bill that funded relief programs for natural disasters including wildfires and hurricanes. Last week, the Senate failed to move forward the Senate version of the $13 billion emergency supplemental appropriations bill. As Congress potentially considers a new emergency funding bill, Rep. Axne’s legislation would ensure Iowa is included in that legislation.

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.