Welch calls for disaster supplemental funding for Vermont

Vermont Business Magazine Wednesday evening, Senator Peter Welch (D-Vermont) delivered remarks on the Senate Floor calling for Congress to pass long-term disaster relief funding for Vermont following the catastrophic floods of 2023. Senator Welch highlighted the importance of delivering flexible funds through the Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) program, which gives communities impacted by natural disasters the flexibility needed to rebuild and recover, and help them to prepare for future disasters. 

“What is more important, more essential for the Senate than to acknowledge that all of us as Americans, there but for the grace of God goes our communities when a natural disaster occurs...The pain is still very present for those folks—your farm, your business, your home—and the challenges of getting through the bureaucracy are very complicated. And that’s what I learned with the folks in Barre,” said Senator Welch. 

“But the thing that is absolutely vital, absolutely vital, is the flexible funding that comes from the disaster relief fund...If we’re going to have an effective disaster relief program, yes, it starts with the federal declaration,” continued Senator Welch. “But what happens after the waters recede, after the FEMA emergency folks are gone, is that the hard work of actually rebuilding that house, repairing that business, that is left in the community. And if they don’t have that disaster relief funding and the flexibility that’s required to the very particular challenges in that community, then we haven’t completed the job.” 

Senator Welch has visited and met with municipal, state, and federal leaders across Vermont in the aftermath of the damaging floods in Vermont last summer to survey the impacts firsthand. Recently, Senator Welch joined Barre City leadership on a walking tour of Barre to discuss strategies for flood mitigation, recovery, and resiliency. 

In December, Sen. Welch delivered testimony at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing urging Congress to advance an appropriations package that includes CDBG-DR funds, which are critical to helping communities recover from natural disasters like this summer’s catastrophic flooding. 

On Thursday, the Vermont Congressional Delegation called on FEMA to work with Congress and the Delegation to improve disaster response ahead of future emergencies and address the serious challenges Vermonters have faced in accessing FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) after the floods. They highlighted areas where FEMA assistance has fallen short for Vermonters, including inadequate direct housing assistance, an unclear application process, and insufficient technical assistance for impacted Vermonters seeking aid. Read more here

Source: 5.9.2024. WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Peter Welch (D-Vermont)

To support great journalism, access our archives and get unique features like our award-winning profiles, subscribe HERE!