Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) released the following statement on his decision to support relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy and his cosponsorship of an amendment by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) to reduce other spending to make money available to help victims of Hurricane Sandy:
“The House of Representatives cleaned up the bill, so that almost all of it relates to Hurricane Sandy. Such emergency funding is permitted by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which reduced federal spending by $2.1 trillion.
“It would be unfair to apply one standard when voting for disaster relief for Tennesseans, and another standard for those who live in other places. It also would be unfair to change disaster rules in the middle of a hurricane cleanup.
“I’m a cosponsor of and voted for Senator Lee’s amendment to reduce other federal spending to make money available to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, but when that was defeated I voted for this disaster relief. Looking ahead, given the federal debt, I will work to budget a more realistic amount for disaster relief and to limit the federal government’s role as the insurer of last resort for natural disasters.”
In 2010, a thousand-year flood caused an estimated $2 billion in damage to Nashville and flooded 52 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. In response, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Economic Development Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development provided more than $600 million to help Tennesseans recover.
In 2011, a series of tornados and straight-line winds hit communities across Tennessee resulting in multiple federal disaster declarations. In response, the Federal Emergency Management Agency alone provided more than $113 million directly to Tennesseans to help them recover.