The chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee said Wednesday the bill providing disaster relief to the midwest would wait until after the Senate’s August recess. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin said today he doesn’t know if that timetable will change.
Harkin says he doesn’t know yet if they might be able to take it up before the recess, as he says there’s been some changes on the House bill and the House make take it up next week. "I’m working hard on it and hopefully we can get it done, I don’t know yet," Harkin says.
Iowa Governor Chet Culver issued a statement of disappointment Wednesday in the Senate’s delay as did Harkin and other members of the Iowa Congressional delegation. But Harkin, a Democrat, today said it’s a procedural issue.
Harkin says the Senate doesn’t have all the final figures yet on the extent of the damage and what it is going to cost. He says they do have some idea, and want to get a bill going so people know what to plan for. Harkin doesn’t think the delay indicates Congress doesn’t understand the scope of the disaster in Iowa.
"I think there’s an inclination to help here, Iowa and the other states affected by the disaster. I think it’s more just wrapped up with a bunch of other things going on right now trying to bring the session of Congress to a close," Harkin says. The bill includes BILLIONs of dollars in aid for Iowa and other Midwestern states.