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Rubio, Cornyn, Cruz, Kennedy, Scott Reintroduce Bill to Simplify Disaster Assistance for Hurricane Victims

Sep 26, 2019 | Press Releases

Washington D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the Disaster Assistance Simplification Act, legislation that would prohibit the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from penalizing victims of qualified natural disasters who apply for, but decline, Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans.
Survivors of natural disasters who apply for, but do not accept, SBA disaster loans are currently penalized when Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) disaster relief funds are awarded. Every dollar of SBA loan money for which they are approved is a dollar less that can be awarded in CDBG disaster relief grants. This bill would prevent HUD from penalizing those applicants.
“Hurricanes Irma, Michael, and Matthew have caused catastrophic destruction throughout Florida in the past three years and disrupted the lives of millions of Americans,” Rubio said. “The current disaster assistance process is unsynchronized and burdensome for victims of natural disasters. As Floridians, and thousands of Americans across our nation, continue to rebuild and recover from recent natural disasters, removing bureaucratic hurdles is imperative to ensuring that no victim is penalized for weighing their hurricane recovery options.”
“After Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast, federal assistance and grants helped communities rebuild and prepare for future natural disasters,” Cornyn said.  “This legislation would remove unnecessary penalties for Texans seeking assistance to get back to a sense of normalcy after catastrophe.”
“I am proud to sponsor this important legislation to better equip Texans for future storms and flooding,” Cruz said. “Texans know firsthand that rebuilding after a hurricane or tropical storm is a long and complicated task. It is imperative that Texans and all Americans who have been impacted by a natural disaster are not unknowingly jeopardizing aid they may need for the future just because they applied for aid they need now. They deserve to have clarity in the recovery and rebuilding process, and that’s exactly what this bill does.”
“Families who apply for but never draw a cent from a Small Business Administration disaster loan are unfairly punished by automatically getting disqualified for grant money,” Kennedy said. “The Disaster Assistance Simplification Act fixes this nonsensical duplication of benefits issue.  Families don’t need roadblocks to recovery from natural disasters.”
“Florida faced multiple hurricanes throughout my time as Governor, and I saw firsthand the devastation faced by families, communities and businesses across the state,” Scott said. “Following every storm, I would look back at what we can do better on the local, state and federal levels to help our communities recover. I’m proud to support the Disaster Assistance Simplification Act, which gets government out of the way by making it easier for business owners to begin recovering and rebuilding.”
Rubio, Kennedy, Cornyn, and Cruz originally introduced this legislation last Congress.