The U.S. House is expected to vote today on a $24-billion spending package for midwest flood relief. Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, says there are several elements in the package that will help Iowa.
He says the biggest component is the community development block grants, because they are the most flexible in how they can be used. Loebsack says those grants can be used for temporary housing, repairing and replacing damaged homes and public infrastructure, and economic development activities.
He says there’s nearly eight billion dollars for FEMA and 400 million for the Economic Development Administration. Loebsack says the money Iowa gets when this bill passes will go along with the $2.65 billion approved earlier just for Iowa.
Loebsack says it’s another installment in the recovery, as he says there have been seven different appropriations of money for Katrina, and he says he will work with the Iowa delegation to get more money if it’s needed. While Loebsack expects the package to pass the U.S. House today, he says the big bailout package for the financial system is still up in the air.
Loebsack says everyone understands we are facing a crisis, but he says both Democrats and Republicans think the request for unilateral powers on the part of the treasury secretary is not acceptable. He says they have to get it right to help the economy, but Loebsack says he’s concerned about accountability. Loebsack says they have to be sure the plan will use the money to turn things around.
Loebasack says they have to make sure that there’s "accountability and responsibility" in whatever plan they approve, or we could just repeat the problem again. The disaster funding, once it has been approved will be allocated proportionally based on the amount of damage that each state incurred.