The U.S. Senate has delayed action on a bill that includes disaster relief funding for the midwest. The chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Robert Byrd, a Democrat from West Virginia, says he is delaying the work on the bill, saying there isn’t enough time to get it done before the Senate’s August recess.
Iowa’s congressional delegation and Governor Chet Culver have been pushing to get the billion-dollar bill approved quickly, just as lawmakers had done in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Governor Culver was even in Washington, D.C. at the start of this week to tell federal officials that Iowa already has a shortfall of 1.2 billion dollars in disaster relief funding that isn’t covered by FEMA.
Culver issued a statement saying he is disappointed with the Senate’s decision, and asked them to reconsider. Iowa’s Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley also expressed displeasure with the decision. The delay means the bill providing additional disaster relief funding to Iowa and other states won’t be completed until September.