[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 162 (Monday, December 17, 2012)]
[Pages S8051-S8063]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the 
Senate will proceed to the consideration of H.R. 1, which the clerk 
will now report by title.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (H.R. 1) making appropriations for the Department of 
     Defense and the other departments and agencies of the 

[[Page S8052]]

     for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other 

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Vermont.

                           Amendment No. 3338

                (Purpose: In the nature of a substitute)

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, on behalf of Senator Inouye, the chairman 
of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have a substitute amendment 
at the desk.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will report the 
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Vermont [Mr. Leahy], for Mr. Inouye, 
     proposes an amendment numbered 3338.

  (The amendment is printed in today's Record under ``Text of 

                Amendment No. 3339 to Amendment No. 3338

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, on behalf of the Senator from Hawaii, Mr. 
Inouye, I have an amendment to the substitute, which is at the desk. I 
ask for its consideration.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, the clerk will 
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Vermont [Mr. Leahy], for Mr. Inouye, 
     proposes an amendment numbered 3339 to amendment No. 3338.

  The amendment is as follows:

               (Purpose: To make a technical correction)

       On Page 16, line 8, strike ``was'', and insert ``were'' in 
     lieu thereof.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I am going to speak briefly in just a 
moment, but in the meantime I will suggest the absence of a quorum. I 
will call it off very quickly.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, on behalf of the distinguished chairman of 
the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Inouye, I have introduced 
an emergency supplemental and disaster aid bill. This is to respond to 
the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.
  The eyes, ears, and hopes of tens of millions of our fellow Americans 
who were in this storm's path are now trained upon the U.S. Senate. And 
with us in this effort, as well, is the good will of the entire Nation.
  I say that because in my almost 38 years here, I have been on this 
floor time and time again--different Presidents, sometimes in the 
majority, sometimes in the minority--where there has been devastation 
in different parts of this country, and in every single instance--every 
single instance--the Senate has come together to provide relief to 
those hit by hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, or anything 
  Superstorm Sandy was remarkable, and I use that in the broadest sense 
of the word. It hit the east coast 7 weeks ago. What it did is it 
swelled to become the largest Atlantic hurricane in history. It was 
hundreds of miles wide, much wider than my own State of Vermont. Its 
reach was greater than even that of Hurricane Katrina along the gulf 
  Sandy claimed the lives of more than 120 of our fellow Americans. It 
destroyed more than 340,000 homes and 200,000 businesses. More than 8.5 
million families were without power in 15 States and the District of 
  The scale of the damage is almost hard to fathom. I remember seeing 
the damage caused by Irene last year, including the devastation from 
which my home State of Vermont is still recovering. Because of my 
involvement in that, I am acutely aware of the need for a rapid and 
unified response from Federal, State, and local authorities to meet the 
needs of so many of our fellow American citizens.
  As of last week, the Homeland Security Subcommittee reports that the 
Federal Government has already provided over $2.7 billion in relief 
through FEMA, the Small Business Administration, the Department of 
Agriculture, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health 
and Human Services, and other agencies. As of today, 12 States have 
active major disaster or emergency declarations as a result of Sandy, 
and there is no question it is going to cost billions to rebuild these 
devastated communities.
  Anybody who has seen them knows they are devastated. It is a word 
that we sometimes use too easily but appropriate when you have a whole 
downtown, block after block, homes that people have lived in sometimes 
for generations--it was their parents' home or their grandparents' 
home--and now it is kindling wood.
  The Obama administration has requested money for recovery and 
repairs--just as every administration in the past has, Republican and 
Democratic alike--they have requested $60.4 billion for recovery and 
repairs, and the amendment we consider today meets that request. But we 
have not simply rubberstamped the request. The Appropriations 
Committee, working with the Senators from all the States that have been 
hit so hard, has made numerous changes to ensure that the dollars put 
into this response are used as effectively and efficiently as can be.
  As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I know the budget 
constraints we are facing, and the Appropriations Committee has done 
its best to allocate the funds in such a way that States will have the 
flexibility required to respond to the individual needs of their 
citizens, while at the same time reducing the possibility for waste, 
fraud, or abuse.
  Senator Landrieu, who is on the floor, is the chair of the Homeland 
Security Subcommittee. Well, this is a Senator who is no stranger to 
tackling the incredible challenges of responding to and recovering from 
natural disasters of this scale. I know she is going to speak in a 
short while. We all know Louisiana is still rebuilding from the 
catastrophes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and Senator Landrieu--both 
as an individual Senator and from her position as chair--has worked 
tirelessly ever since to help her State and others recovering from 
storms and other calamities. I know how hard she works because she 
stepped in to help Vermont when we were in a similar situation last 
year. It ia an example, I might say, of how even States that are not 
hurt help those that are. It has always been our tradition in the 
Senate. In this supplemental, she has worked to incorporate that 
experience into vital emergency funding for FEMA and other disaster 
relief programs.
  Since the supplemental we reconsider today contains funding that will 
help millions of Americans recover from this terrible storm, I want to 
highlight a few specifics.
  We include $10.8 billion in emergency relief for public 
transportation systems. This is not a rural area. It is not like rural 
Vermont. We understand that public transportation, especially in this 
area, is necessary for millions of Americans--millions--to function day 
by day. It is especially vital around New York City. The subway and bus 
systems in New York and New Jersey allow people to get to work and 
students to go to school. The resources in this supplemental will help 
pay for the repair and restoration of some of the most heavily used 
public transportation systems in the country. Just as importantly, it 
is going to help fund projects to help public transportation prepare 
for and resist future storms. Because as much as we like to think there 
will be no future storms, every one of us knows there will be future 
  The supplemental recommends $812 million for the Small Business 
Administration. Every one of us knows small businesses are essential to 
the American economy. They are responsible for employing about half of 
all workers in America. So this amount will help fund the SBA's 
disaster loan program, helping small local businesses in recovering 
from physical damage to their storefront operations, as well as in 
recovering from economic losses suffered when they had to close their 
doors during Hurricane Sandy.
  We have seen the devastation to iconic neighborhoods and places such 
as the Jersey shore or Staten Island or Long Island--neighborhoods that 
were destroyed by the storm or by the fires that followed. So many of 
the businesses destroyed in these communities are mom-and-pop 
operations--small businesses like the one my mother and father ran--and 
they simply cannot afford to reopen without Federal disaster 
assistance. They need the loans, but, more importantly, they need the 

[[Page S8053]]

now--not 6 months from now. I point out especially, a number of these 
are shops that make their living during the summer beach season. They 
want to be able to open by Memorial Day. I can tell you, as one who has 
seen how long it takes to reopen after a disaster like this, Memorial 
Day is tomorrow for these people. They need the loans today.
  We have recommended $500 million for the Administration for Children 
and Families Social Services Block Grant to be used primarily for 
childcare services, for reopening damaged childcare facilities, but 
also--and we have to understand how important this is--for mental 
health services for both children and adults who have gone through this 
disaster and probably have seen members of their family lose their 
  Another $100 million will pay for repairs to Head Start facilities 
affected by Hurricane Sandy. These provide essential education and 
health services to low-income, prekindergarten children. And we all 
know that interruptions in programs such as these are detrimental to 
the development of the children but also the families they serve. So we 
cannot wait to rebuild these centers, and we cannot wait to provide 
essential health care services to those who have lost so much. If you 
have a health need, we cannot say: Well, we will get back to you in a 
few months. Your health need is today.
  I have heard two arguments against moving to the emergency 
supplemental as quickly as possible. I have found them surprising. The 
first is that the cost of this bill should be offset with cuts to other 
programs. This is the same argument we heard last year when we needed 
emergency funding to respond to Hurricane Irene. Well, it made no sense 
a year ago. It makes no sense today. It will make no sense tomorrow. 
The suggestion that we should cut funding from base budgets of 
departments and agencies that are carrying out the essential functions 
of our government in order to pay for an unanticipated natural 
disaster--that is absurd. Mandating offsets means cutting funding from 
law enforcement to pay for replacing a vital roadway destroyed by 
Sandy. It means cutting funding for education through Head Start in 
order to provide clean drinking water to those who have been left with 
nothing in the wake of Sandy. The point is obvious: These are 
emergencies. That is why they are called emergencies. We do not do 
offsets to pay for emergencies.
  I think of what Chairman Inouye has said. He has said it so many 
times, whether with Republican or Democratic administrations: ``It has 
long been the tradition of the Congress to approve disaster assistance 
without need for offset.''
  And then he continued:

       Others will likely come to the Senate floor to challenge 
     that remark . . . However, in the case of disaster 
     assistance, I challenge my colleagues to review all 
     Appropriations bills for the past decade and find a single 
     instance where the Committee paid for disasters by rescinding 
     funds from other programs.

  Then Chairman Inouye concluded with the obvious:

       No one would find an example, because quite simply there 
     aren't any.

  Well, he is right. The President requested and the committee is 
recommending $60.4 billion to respond to this storm. The total budget 
authority for nondefense spending is about $500 billion a year. Using 
the logic that all emergency spending should be offset would cut the 
discretionary spending needs--if we see seven more disasters, well then 
I guess we eliminate every single agency, department, and program 
except the Pentagon. Come on. Is that what this country is about? Some 
may think that is a good idea--eliminate all government. We would not 
have any road to drive on to go state our beliefs. The rest of America 
  I have also heard discussion of taking a downpayment approach to the 
supplemental--do a little and come back next year. Well, that sounds 
familiar. I remember hearing a lot of it last year. Talk to the person 
whose house has been destroyed. It is a week before the Christmas 
season. It is getting cold. Tell them that we Senators--it is true, we 
all live in comfortable homes. We work in a place that has not been 
touched--think you should wait and come back later next year.
  I would defy any Member of this body to say that directly to one of 
the firefighters who saw their home destroyed or the senior citizen who 
saw their home destroyed or the person who has worked all their life to 
build up their business and saw it destroyed. No. They want to recover 
now, not when a Congress that has not been known to move very rapidly 
of late gets around to doing something for them.
  After all, we are asking homeowners to rebuild, saying go back and 
provide their own place to live. We are asking businesses to reinvest 
so they can hire people who are out of work. They need the assurance 
that we are going to do our part. You cannot just say: Put your money 
up now, and maybe, just maybe when we start talking about all of these 
things that have no bearing on what you are facing, we might come 
through 6 months from now and we might not.
  Come on. That is not how we want to encourage rebuilding. Homeowners 
and businesses in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and 
elsewhere need to know that the funding will be there to complete the 
rebuilding of public infrastructure. Only the Federal Government has 
the resources to make this happen.
  The President's request is comprehensive. And we know the needs to 
recover from Superstorm Sandy. Now, we stood up, Democrats and 
Republicans together, to respond to disasters in the past. We have to 
do the same now.
  When Irene--then a tropical storm--hit Vermont last year, no one 
could have anticipated the devastation we saw: roads washed away, 
bridges collapsed, communities cut off because all entrances and exits 
for the community were destroyed, bridges that had been there from the 
time I was born--I remember them as a child, had always been there, 
were there when my parents were living there, were there when my 
grandparents were living there--gone in a matter of minutes. Vermonters 
know that when one of us is hurting, all of us are hurting. Vermont 
appreciated the assistance from other States near and far and from the 
Federal Government.
  New Jersey, New York, and other States hit by this superstorm are now 
depending on us. So let's do what is right. There is no need for delay. 
Christmas is coming. Thousands of families have lost everything. Their 
hope, their future is in our hands. They need our help. They deserve 
our help. We are Americans. We come together to help. So let's do it.
  I will speak further, but I see the distinguished senior Senator from 
New York. He and I have discussed this. He has seen more. As bad as 
Irene was in Vermont, the number of businesses and homes destroyed 
pales in comparison to what he has seen in his State and the 
neighboring States.
  I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from New York.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, first, I wish to thank our chairman of 
the Judiciary Committee and ranking Democrat on the Appropriations 
Committee for his leadership, his caring, his concern, and his 
expertise. The people of New York are very grateful to the Senator from 
Vermont for his concern and caring. We thank him for that very much.
  Today we begin debate on one of the most momentous proposals to 
effect New York's future that we have ever debated, a proposal equal in 
magnitude and importance to the debate about aid to New York after the 
horrible attacks on our city on 9/11. I must say the debate is off to a 
good start. Our colleagues on both sides of the aisle have shown 
tremendous concern. Leader Reid has agreed to allow amendments so that 
those in this Chamber, particularly those on the other side, can make 
modifications. Leader McConnell and the Republican minority have not 
insisted on a motion to proceed. So we are beginning this bill in very 
auspicious way, in a way that people think the Senate should work, not 
one side blocking amendments and not the other side blocking the bill. 
I hope it can lead to an equally auspicious result.
  I rise today to discuss the greatest natural disaster in the history 
of my State and the importance of passing

[[Page S8054]]

the President's request--the President's full request for supplemental 
disaster aid.
  As you know, Mr. President, Superstorm Sandy was a catastrophic shock 
to the coastline of the Northeastern United States. In the blink of an 
eye, the Atlantic Ocean turned from our greatest natural resource into 
a nightmarish monster, swallowing whole communities in its path. The 
beating heart for many parts of the Nation's economy, New York City, 
was paralyzed for days, and parts are paralyzed to this moment. Whole 
neighborhoods, from Long Bench, NY, to Long Beach Island, NJ, were 
ripped from their foundations and washed away. I saw whole communities 
where almost every house suffered severe damage, where the water came 
in, because of the geography, from the north and south and sometimes 
from the north, the south, and the west. I saw the devastation. It was 
incredible. You know that when God's hand strikes, those who are 
affected are usually severely hurt--a tornado, a forest fire, a flood, 
a hurricane.
  What was incredible about this disaster was not the depth of it--we 
have always seen the depth of tragedies from natural disasters with our 
constituents--but it was the combination of the depth and the breadth. 
It was not just one small area in which a tornado, say, lighted down 
and then left; it was a huge swath of territory, all flooded by a 
perfect storm, a huge nor'easter that combined with a tropical storm, a 
full Moon, and a high tide.
  Experts had said the East River, the Hudson River, Great South Bay 
would never rise--never--more than 11 feet above its previous record, 
and in place after place that record was exceeded, unfortunately, with 
terrible, tragic consequences to that occurrence.
  The tragic storm was an unfortunate wake-up call for New York and the 
rest of the country that we need to do much more at the Federal level, 
the State level, and the local level to prepare, protect, and fortify 
our vulnerable infrastructure from future storm surge activity. Our 
region suffered, according to mainstream estimates, nearly $100 billion 
worth of damage. That is just the damage that has been measured up to 
now. We are going to see future damage that has not yet been uncovered, 
estimated, or even found.
  Governors Cuomo and Christie requested about $80 billion of recovery 
and mitigation funds. President Obama called for approximately $60 
billion. He scrubbed the proposals of our Governors. OMB was very 
careful. They spent about a week looking over the proposals and tried 
to narrow it down to the most essential and most immediate needs. Our 
delegation--Democrats and Republicans from the New York-New Jersey 
area--believes that $60 billion is a fair starting point.
  The damage numbers are mind-blowing. Here are a few examples. This is 
from New York alone. New Jersey received almost as much damage as New 
York. Transportation: $7.3 billion. Our subway system, which is an 
amazing system--it brings 3\1/2\ million people on and off Manhattan 
every day--the subway and railroad system was devastated. Much of it 
was built over 100 years ago. There was no thought of such floods, and 
the system was unprotected. Housing: $9.6 billion. Mr. President, 
305,000 homes, according to the Governor's estimate, have already 
applied for insurance in New York alone.
  My good colleague from Louisiana is here. She has been invaluable in 
guiding us, helping us, and being at our side. She has been through 
this. She knows better than any other Member of this Chamber, I 
daresay, what this kind of disaster can do, but more importantly for 
us, she knows how to deal with these problems because she has been 
through it. She is recommending to us to keep the places where the 
Federal response worked and modify the responses in places where the 
Federal response did not. That has been invaluable. I take off my hat. 
I speak on behalf of all of us in the northeast area to the Senator, 
the chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Appropriations 
  Anyway, in Katrina about 270,000 homes received that type of damage, 
so we have many more homes damaged, gone, flooded.
  This is a picture, by the way, of the 86th Street subway, way up in 
Manhattan, far away from the points of New York Harbor. But there was 
so much flooding--look at it. Remember, this water is saltwater. It 
corrodes every signal, every light. If it were freshwater, the damage 
from this storm would have been a lot less. There it is, 86th Street.
  I mentioned that homes were destroyed. Here are two examples. This is 
a house on Staten Island. Whole communities like Midland Beach were 
totally upended. Water was 6, 7, 8, 10 feet high. It did not just go in 
1 street but 10 streets, the powers of the ocean were such. Home after 
home looked like this. It is incredible. I have held these homeowners 
in my arms--children, women, grown men who were distraught about the 
future. Who can blame them?
  Here is another. In some places, because the saltwater created fire 
in the electrical systems of the houses, whole communities were knocked 
out. In Breezy Point, 101 homes burned to the ground amidst the rain 
and the wind because the water systems--when the electricity failed, 
the firefighters could not pump, and the fires spread from house to 
house to house.
  There is a shrine here. It is a statue of the Virgin Mary. It is the 
only thing left in this whole area. Now people come and place flowers 
and pray and meditate by that statue.
  Incidentally, one of the homes that was destroyed was that of our 
Congress Member, Congressman Turner of Brooklyn and Queens, Republican 
of Brooklyn and Queens, whose home was destroyed out in Breezy Point.
  Utilities were $1.5 billion. Many of our utilities were outdated, no 
question. They had no way to communicate. But even if they weren't, 
because their power lines are above ground, not below, they suffered 
huge damage, as did people.
  Four major hospitals are still closed--thousands of beds. They range 
from Long Beach Hospital, a hospital that serves a local community that 
is right on the waterfront, to NYU, New York University Hospital, which 
is one of the great research and teaching facilities in America. It 
alone lost over $1 billion of equipment.
  They were told by the companies that make their machinery--the radio 
coaxial tomography, the MRIs--to put them in the basement because these 
machines have to be carefully calibrated given the sea level and the 
slight slant of the floor. They were all washed away, $1 billion of 
machinery, not to mention decades of research.
  I visited--I think they call it the vivarium. It is where the animals 
are that they have done genetic experiments on. The white mice that 
they test for generation after generation were wiped out.
  Government and schools were $2 billion. Government buildings were 
destroyed. I think we have over 40 schools in New York City that were 
destroyed, mostly by the water. Roads, bridges, you name it--the 
devastation is everywhere. It is wide, and it is deep.
  So with this kind of devastation, even a large area such as New York 
cannot handle it on its own. Fortunately, we have had a wisdom here in 
this government for close to a century; that is, when nature strikes, 
when the hand of God comes down on Earth and creates the kind of damage 
that man can't comprehend, no locality can handle it on its own, then 
the Federal Government steps in, which means the country as a whole 
steps in. When there were hurricanes in Louisiana and Mississippi, the 
whole country stepped in. We said: We know this is too much for you to 
handle alone. When there were forest fires out west, the whole country 
stepped in, saying: We know you can't handle this kind of devastation 
on your own. When there was flooding in the Missouri and Mississippi 
valleys, the Federal Government came in.
  We in New York--hundreds of millions--over the decades, probably 
billions of our tax dollars went to help these regions, and I never 
heard any complaints about it. We are one Nation. When one part of our 
Nation suffers, we all suffer, particularly in these days of an 
interrelated economy. New York buys billions of dollars of products 
from New Jersey and the rest of the country, and so people did it.
  Now, of course, the devastation has hit us, and we know our 
colleagues will stand by us as we have stood by them. We know they will 
give a careful look

[[Page S8055]]

to our proposal, but they will not deliberately put barriers in the way 
because they don't want to treat New York differently. They don't want 
to treat New Jersey differently than they treated the others.
  We have heard three questions about this package, and the questions 
are these:
  First, should we have offsets to the monies that are proposed here?
  Now, we have not done that in the long history of disasters, for a 
good reason. You will never get the disaster money if you have to pit 
an existing Federal program against disaster money. We have always said 
that disaster is treated separately, and we would hope that would 
continue. It would not be fair or right to do this now. I would say to 
my colleagues, if we begin a pattern of offsetting now--there was some 
attempt to do it with Irene, but in a bipartisan way we rejected that 
in this body. If your whole area is hit next and you have to sit there 
and wait while Congress fights over offsets, what are you going to do? 
It would be an awful precedent to start that.
  Second, we have heard: Why--what is this mitigation?
  Some people have used the word ``stimulus'' to be equal to 
``mitigation.'' The two words are totally different. As I understand 
stimulus, in the stimulus bill there was a percentage of programs that 
were put in that had nothing do with the stimulus, and that was 
probably a mistake. I don't think it was a large percentage of the 
stimulus, but it sure stuck in people's minds.
  Any proposal that has nothing to do with a storm, a natural disaster, 
shouldn't be in this proposal. We agree to that. We believe OMB has 
scrubbed it, so there is no stimulus-type money here. There is 
mitigation money. What does mitigation mean? Mitigation means, quite 
frankly, that you rebuild but you rebuild in such a way that if, God 
forbid, there is another storm, you don't suffer the same damage. You 
don't put all those machines in the basement of NYU again; you move 
them up to the third floor even if it costs a little more. You don't 
simply rebuild the South Street subway station the exact same way; you 
put in either steel doors or those air bag-type things so that if, God 
forbid, another flood comes, the station won't be flooded and we won't 
have to spend the money all over again. Mitigation means that if the 
dunes are wiped out across the Rockaways and Long Beach, you build them 
up. You probably build them up a little higher so the damage--God 
forbid another storm comes--won't be as great and the expense won't be 
as great. We have always done mitigation. It has always been part of 
our bill.
  I am glad to see my good friend from Mississippi here, who has been 
of such help and encouragement to us. All of us in New York and New 
Jersey so appreciate his wise, quiet, kind, and intelligent counsel.
  I remember there was a proposal on the floor after Katrina. There was 
a railroad that was very close to the shore. Yes, it would have cost 
more money to rebuild the railroad a distance inland. I don't remember 
how much. I think it was about a mile inland, and it cost about $700 
million more to do. Senator Cochran and Senator Lott made the argument 
on the floor, and it made sense to me, and I voted for it. I think all 
of us in the Northeast did. So mitigation makes sense.
  The third argument we have heard, which is probably the one gaining 
the most weight now, is let's just spend a year of this money now, and 
we will see what happens later.
  That would be nice, but there are three things wrong with that. 
First, sort of esoteric--it is the way we budget. We have outlays, and 
we have budget authority. While the outlays may not be great for this 
year because not all the money will be spent, we have always had budget 
authority that recognizes that things take more than a year to build. 
To cut back on the budget authority, not the outlays, would be against 
the way we budget around here and a new double standard, I would think, 
that would tie us up in knots in the future.
  The second argument: How can you build a year at a time when many of 
these projects take more than a year to design, plan, and construct?
  We have to redo the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel--the largest underwater 
tunnel in the world, certainly in the country. Are we going to say: We 
will give you enough money to build a quarter of it today, and then 
come back next year and see if we should build a second quarter. No 
business would work that way. No government should work that way. Most 
of these projects need to begin now but may take more than a year. To 
say we are only giving money for the year doesn't make much sense. That 
is the second argument against this 1-year policy.
  Third is the way FEMA and many of these agencies work. They don't 
reimburse you ahead of time. You don't submit a proposal and say: My 
house has $80,000 worth of damage. Send me the money, FEMA, and then I 
will hire a contractor and pay for it.
  No, no. What FEMA tells the government, individuals, small 
businesses--it says: You go contract it. We will approve that that is 
actually the money that was needed due to the storm, and then we will 
pay you.
  So if we don't have the money there now, how can we expect businesses 
and homeowners and governments to outlay billions of dollars that are 
needed and hope that maybe next year, we might allocate some money? It 
will at best dramatically slow down the growth or the rebuilding we 
desperately need, and it could halt it in its tracks.
  There has been a CBO study that says that only a small amount of the 
money will be paid for now. But the CBO study, like many things CBO 
does--we all know this--was based on very narrow assumptions that don't 
apply. Let me give an example. There is $17 billion of CDBG money 
requested. That is where most of the help is. Senator Cochran and 
Senator Landrieu learned this when they had their problems. It goes for 
the housing and some of the other things, and it gives a little 
flexibility to the governments that they need--not a wide berth but a 
little more flexibility.
  CBO said that only $75 million of it would be spent this year. Well, 
that was based on an old program that existed during Katrina. It was 
based on the fact that many of those who were hurt in the area, 
particularly in New Orleans, fled, and it took them months and months 
to even come back, let alone begin building homes. It was based not on 
the new legislation that has been proposed--which allows building to 
occur quickly and more easily based on some of the recommendations of 
my colleague from Louisiana, Senator Landrieu--but on the old stuff.
  CBO said we will only spend, I believe it is $1.8 billion on 
transportation this year. The MTA has already bonded for $4.6 billion 
in repairs they need to make over the next 2 years.
  It makes no sense, and I think there is a chart here--it says ``point 
to chart,'' but there is none, so I would point to the atmosphere. It 
just didn't match up to what the MTA's needs were. When I told the MTA 
what the CBO said, they said, ``What planet are they on?'' The FTA is 
now going to be the spend-out program. That was a recommendation made 
by the folks from the Gulf States after Katrina.
  The FTA said it is much better to have a transit agency deal with 
rebuilding transit than to have FEMA do it; payout would be much 
quicker. But CBO based its estimates on the old FEMA model because they 
don't work on new models. We have learned that in the health care and 
other debates.
  So the CBO study is wrong. It is just wrong. Those are the three 
arguments made against it, and none of them really hold up.
  I say to my colleagues, if you can find stuff that is not disaster 
related in here, that is a legitimate argument, and we will work with 
you and scour the package more. But on offsets, on mitigation, and on 
this idea, let's just give the money needed for 1 year and wait and see 
what happens in the second year. You just can't rebuild an area if you 
do those things, most of which are counterintuitive.
  There are a few more points I wish to make. New York has to do 
several things at once. We have to simultaneously rebuild, but we also 
have to protect against future storms, and to rebuild now makes sense 
and to protect makes sense. We can either invest in protections now or 
we will pay later. That is vital to know.
  Second, I would make the point that within about 2 weeks after 

[[Page S8056]]

Congress passed $61 billion in aid. This idea we are moving much too 
quickly is belied by what happened there.
  Third, on the issue of mitigation, the Stafford Act says there is a 
need and an ability to do mitigation. And in fact, it has shown that $1 
invested in mitigation saves $4 down the road. So we have lots of 
things here that are brought up legitimately but don't make sense.
  In conclusion--and after this I want to say a brief word about what 
happened at Sandy Hook, so close to my area--I hope we can come 
together in a bipartisan way and pass this legislation. I appreciate so 
much that we are off to a good start--no blocking the motion to proceed 
and allowance of amendments--and I look forward to working with my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle to solve this serious problem.

                      Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy

  I will be very brief, Mr. President, but I wanted to say a few words 
about Sandy Hook.
  I rise this afternoon to join our Nation in grieving for the 28 lives 
that were lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on 
Friday. Words are not sufficient to describe the horror we feel as a 
Nation as the days go by and the events of last week gradually sink in. 
I see the pictures in the newspapers of these beautiful young children 
and, like others, I don't know what to do. There is a lump in the 
throat, and I wish I could make it go away. I wish this man who did the 
shooting didn't exist or didn't do what he did. It is horrible.
  I read about the parents of the 300 or 400 children in the school who 
were brought to a firehouse, and as they found their child had 
survived, the names of the parents were called out so they could 
reunite with their kids. As the numbers grew less and less and less, 
imagine being in the group that remained. Horrible, just horrible.
  Today the conversation turns to what do we do about this and what do 
we do about gun violence. I believe we need a new way forward on guns 
that breaks through the gridlock that has paralyzed us on this issue. 
We cannot have each side just yelling at each other and accomplishing 
nothing. We cannot be gridlocked on this issue as we are on others. 
Both sides need to recognize something. Those of us who are pro gun 
control have to realize there are large parts of the country where guns 
are a way of life.
  I know a little bit. When I was a kid, I got instructions on how to 
shoot a .22 rifle from an NRA-trained supervisor at my camp--summer 
camp--and I wasn't a bad shot. I won a couple of those merit badges for 
marksmanship and sharpshooter. A few years ago, I had the opportunity 
to visit with our colleague Ben Nelson. He took me out pheasant 
hunting. I enjoyed the experience. So we have to acknowledge that guns 
are a way of life and that the second amendment has a rightful place in 
the Constitution. We cannot interpret the first, third, fourth, fifth, 
and sixth amendments as broadly as possible and then say the second 
amendment should be seen through a pinhole of militias, that it only 
affects militias. That is only fair. But then our colleagues on the 
other side must acknowledge that, yes, there is a second amendment 
right--and by the way, the Heller decision now makes that the law of 
the land, so I hope our folks who are pro gun realize no one is going 
to take their guns away. Before the Heller decision there was a view 
every bit of gun control is a way to eventually confiscate the hunting 
rifle your Uncle Tommy gave you when you were 12 years old. But there 
is a Heller decision and that is a bulwark against it.
  I think those of us on the gun control side should accept it, that it 
is only fair, only right the second amendment to the Constitution is 
there just as the others are and deserves respect and not an endless 
effort to chip away at it. But then our colleagues on the pro gun side 
should admit another thing, and that is that no amendment is absolute. 
As important as it is, as constitutional, as enshrined as it is, no 
amendment is absolute.
  Take the first amendment. We can't falsely scream fire in a crowded 
theater. That creates such danger. That is an impingement on someone's 
first amendment rights. We have anti-child pornography laws. We should 
have them, but that too is a limitation on the first amendment. Even 
libel laws, in a pure first amendment world, you could say and defame 
anything about anybody you wanted. We say no. That is a limitation on 
the first amendment. Well, just as there can be limitations on the 
first amendment, and yet the essence of the first amendment is 
preserved, the same should be true of the second amendment.
  I was the author of the Brady law. I don't think it has interfered 
with a legitimate owner's right to have a gun in all the years it has 
been around, while at the same time it has saved tens of thousands of 
lives. There are some on the extreme side of the right who say: Oh, no, 
get rid of the Brady law. They believe the second amendment should be 
absolute. But they are wrong.
  I would argue that other changes--making it harder for mentally ill 
people to get guns or saying assault weapons are weapons of war and 
don't belong on our streets but belong on the battlefield--do not 
interfere with the enjoyment I experienced when I went hunting with Ben 
Nelson, nor with the right of a small shopowner in a bad neighborhood 
who feels he needs a gun or she needs a gun to protect themselves.
  We can come together. There can be a way of moving forward in the 
middle, with the left admitting the second amendment is important and 
as much a part of the Constitution as the others, and with the right 
admitting that limitations on that amendment--as there are limitations 
on the first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth--do not interfere with 
the fundamental right and, in fact, that no amendment can be absolute.
  I believe you can be both pro gun and pro gun safety just as you can 
be in favor of free speech but also against child pornography.
  We need to start this conversation now, without delay. We owe it to 
ourselves as a Nation but in particular to our children.
  I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Franken). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I rise today for the people of New 
Jersey whose lives have been turned upside down by Superstorm Sandy. I 
rise for families and small businesses still trying to recover, for 
homeowners in Little Ferry, shopkeepers in Moonachie, and for every 
family who lost property, possessions, and homes in Union Beach and 
Seaside Heights, and all along the Jersey shore.
  I rise, for example, for this resident in Pleasantville who, you can 
see from this photograph, pretty much lost everything. This is the side 
of his house, totally ripped out. It looks like a dollhouse. But he was 
optimistic and hopeful for the future despite his challenges. This 
Sandy relief package is for him. By the way, he is a veteran.
  I rise today for the 40 New Jerseyans who lost their lives in this 
powerful, devastating, and destructive storm.
  As we come to the floor in the face of that tragic loss of life, I 
know all of my colleagues join me in offering our thoughts and prayers 
to the loved ones of the victims of Superstorm Sandy. I hope all of my 
colleagues will join me in casting a vote that tells those families 
they are not alone, that we are all in this together; a vote that says 
we are ready as a Nation to help families and businesses and 
communities recover when there is disaster.
  I join with Senators Lautenberg, Gillibrand, and Schumer, and every 
Senator from the affected States, to thank the President for the 
request of $60 billion in aid to help our States begin the rebuilding 
process. This package is certainly a very good start.
  The damage we saw after Hurricane or Superstorm Sandy is difficult to 
describe, in part because this was not only a powerful storm but it was 
an incredibly massive storm. We felt the greatest impact in New Jersey 
and New York, but as you can see from this NASA photo, the storm 
obscures almost all of the Northeast in this satellite photo.
  The numbers are staggering across the region. We lost 40 people in 

[[Page S8057]]

storm. Based on preliminary estimates, over 300,000 homes in New Jersey 
were severely damaged, over 20,000 homes were absolutely destroyed or 
made uninhabitable. But we fear the numbers will be even much higher as 
reporting continues. The preliminary damage estimate provided by the 
State of New Jersey is now up to $36.9 billion in damage, and everyone 
expects that number will rise.
  These are numbers. They may be a way to quantify the damage, but they 
fail to paint a picture of what we have seen throughout the State: the 
level of destruction, the faces of many thousands of displaced people 
who find themselves homeless and basically nothing left from their 
homes--their possessions, their keepsakes, their memories, all gone. 
Entire neighborhoods, where several generations of families lived in 
close-knit communities, gone, thousands of decades-old small businesses 
ruined, their owners unsure if they will have the ability or the means 
to rebuild. We are getting more damage numbers, but the human toll is 
truly incalculable.
  The sheer scope of the damage is also difficult to fathom, but to get 
a better sense of that, we have compiled some pictures that I hope to 
show our colleagues. Let me thank the Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest 
newspaper, for helping me compile these images from their photo gallery 
to tell the story of the devastation Sandy caused to our great State.
  This is the Mantoloking Bridge which crossed Barnegat Bay and 
connected Brick with Mantoloking before the storm, and here it is after 
the storm. As you can see in this picture, the storm surge ripped a 
gash right through Mantoloking. These homes were largely all destroyed. 
As a matter of fact, the nature of the New Jersey coastline has now 
changed and there are inlets where there were none before, and it has 
totally rewritten the geography of the New Jersey shoreline.
  The relief package we are debating today will help us repair, yes, 
this bridge, as well as some of the surrounding homes that were clearly 
lost and part of the highway that will need to be rebuilt, and it will 
help us defend this community from the fear of this happening again, of 
part of the community totally being ripped out.
  While much of the damage was on the Jersey shore, northern New Jersey 
communities such as Little Ferry, as seen on this photo, and Moonachie 
saw extensive river flooding when a berm failed. I was actually by this 
location and saw FEMA emergency management teams, as well as local 
police and firefighters, getting people out of their homes in rafts in 
order to be able to get to dry land. Private property damage to both 
towns has been estimated to exceed $15 million. This bill will help 
these people rebuild and provide the State the resources it needs to 
build the berm back stronger.
  In Sayerville, this is the third time in 3 years they have 
experienced severe flooding. In this picture, Mei Zhu surveys the 
damage inside her home. And that look of absolute fear and terror of 
what is before them is a look I have seen far too many times on the 
faces of New Jerseyans.
  The foundations of some homes were ripped away, causing fear of 
physical collapse. Other homes were condemned and residents were told 
to leave. According to construction officials, in this borough alone a 
list of 39 homes with collapsed foundations and 246 other homes were 
severely damaged.
  After these repeated floods, many are now asking for their homes to 
be bought out, but an additional $55 million is needed to allow these 
residents to move on. This bill has the resources needed to allow the 
State to fund these buyouts and allow Sayerville to deal with its new 
  Here now are two pictures of Union Beach, NJ, a working-class town 
that could not afford the local $30 million to $40 million match for an 
Army Corps beach engineering project.
  In this photo, you can see the storm devastated entire neighborhoods. 
Rebuilding defenses only to the standard that existed before the storm 
will give us more of the same in the next storm. If we don't do things 
differently, we shouldn't expect a different result.
  In this next photo, you can see houses that were crushed by the 
storm's surge. Yes, we can help these homeowners rebuild, but if we 
don't rebuild smarter, better, and with stronger coastal protections, 
we will be back here again after the next storm paying the same price 
both in terms of human suffering and Federal funds.
  I appreciate that colleagues came to see the devastation, the many 
administration officials, and the Vice President. We saw the difference 
between an Army Corps-engineered beach and one that is not. Where there 
was an Army Corps-engineered beach, you had very little destruction. 
Where you did not, you had massive destruction. The storm proves what 
the Army Corps of Engineers, academic studies, and local communities 
have been telling us for years: Beach engineering works. It protects 
lives, it protects property, and it saves us money in the long run from 
repetitive loss.
  This next image is what you can see by helicopter all up and down the 
Jersey shore. This is one part, Ortley Beach, where many homes were 
destroyed and totally encased in sand. Many communities going back 
blocks and blocks off the beach will be found in very similar sets of 
  Just to give you a sense of the magnitude, this is one community. 
Multiply that by a whole host of communities along the Jersey shore 
going back literally blocks and blocks of this picture.
  In a different context, hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans have 
had their commutes disrupted because of the storm. Every single New 
Jersey Transit rail line was affected. Most service has been restored, 
but even today the Port Authority's PATH terminal at Hoboken, which 
brings thousands of riders back and forth between New York and New 
Jersey and the major financial markets of this Nation, is inoperable 
and it still won't be back on line for some time, affecting the 
commutes, the lives, and pocketbooks of 30,000 passengers who use that 
station every weekday. This closure has hurt many local small 
businesses and is forcing some workers to take a 6:30 a.m. bus every 
morning instead of an 8 a.m. train. Others are taking ferries, of 
course far more costly than their PATH ride, meaning that their 
personal budgets are hit dramatically each and every week that they are 
going to work. Superstorm Sandy caused an estimated $7 billion in 
damage to transit systems across the region, disrupting not only 
people's commutes but taking time from them to spend with their 
families and money out of their pockets.
  Here is a picture from a security camera showing the rushing 
corrosive seawater into the station of Hoboken, NJ. The saltwater has 
been pumped out and the silt that had accumulated has been dug out, but 
electrical equipment will need to be replaced and rebuilt before we see 
the tens of thousands of riders who rely on this station traveling 
  Other than the destruction wrought by the storm surge itself, 
arguably the biggest impact of the storm was the loss of power. At the 
outage peak, approximately two-thirds of the entire State was without 
power. Ten days after the storm, 10 percent of the State was still 
without power. Without power, these customers did not have heat, 
despite temperatures in the low 40s. Of the 40 New Jersey deaths, about 
half were directly related to the loss of power, including oxygen 
machines shutting off, people falling in the dark, carbon monoxide 
poisoning from generators, and hypothermia. Fully restoring power was a 
Herculean task, requiring utility crews from as far away as Oklahoma 
and Quebec to help local line workers.
  At this moment our defenses are so low. It is like your immune 
system; when your immune system is depleted and at its lowest, you are 
most susceptible to getting ill. Up and down the New Jersey shoreline, 
we are totally defenseless. All we need is a northeaster--God forbid--
and we will be in critical shape, unless we get this money to rebuild.
  The Jersey shore was the epicenter of the destruction caused by 
Superstorm Sandy, as the storm made landfall near Atlantic City. From 
Sandy Hook to Cape May, tens of millions of people visit the shore 
every year. It generates $38 billion in revenue to thousands of 
businesses annually. Here you can see the tremendous damage at the 
iconic Casino Pier at Seaside Heights. This photo shows more than just 
a mangled roller coaster; it symbolizes the destruction of an entire 

[[Page S8058]]

small businesses that rely on this and other attractions and fuel this 
shore community.
  New Jersey small businesses have suffered a combined $8.3 billion in 
damages, according to preliminary analyses. Here in Seaside Heights, 
many shore businesses were devastated. Here in Bay Head, a salon has 
its flood-damaged furniture piled out front awaiting removal. When we 
went to Long Beach Island with about four of our Senate colleagues, 
they saw block after block of businesses totally closed. This isn't 
about seasonal businesses. These are businesses that actually would be 
open but for Superstorm Sandy.
  Here is a business owner cleaning up after flooding at Elsy Auto 
Repair in Newark. It gives you a sense of the breadth and scope of the 
shore, Newark and all types of communities affected.
  I wanted to walk through these photos to give my colleagues and 
fellow Americans a sense of the damage we have seen throughout my home 
State. But what I have shown you still does not do justice to the full 
impact of the storm or the devastation people went through. Every part 
of New Jersey was affected by the storm and we need your help to 

  Unfortunately, there are those voices saying the cost to help 
families rebuild and recover is too much, that it should be reduced; 
that in this emergency, unlike many other similar emergencies in the 
past, we should do something smaller and wait to do the rest later.
  Those who make such arguments could not, respectfully, be more wrong. 
We cannot rebuild half a PATH station, a little now and more sometime 
in the future; we cannot permanently repair half the Mantoloking 
Bridge; half a bridge is not a bridge at all. We cannot hire a 
contractor to rebuild half a house or restore half of a community. We 
need the money in place to rebuild entire projects and entire areas to 
ensure that families and businesses devastated by the storm can 
  Right now there are tens of thousands of small business owners trying 
to decide--their life is on hold--whether I will have some assistance 
by the government that will help me reopen or I will pack it in. They 
need to see a full Federal commitment right now to know they have the 
resources and the customers they need to make it. Half a loaf or a 
wait-and-see commitment is simply not good enough.
  I do not want our small businesses to pack and move on. I do not want 
multigenerational businesses to end because of a superstorm. I know 
Governor Christie doesn't want them to move on either. We want them to 
recover and stay in New Jersey. Disaster reimbursement from FEMA and 
agencies such as the Department of Transportation only flows when a 
project is completed. That makes the spending seem slow but actually 
the rebuilding happens much more quickly. Local communities are able to 
budget and contract for a project, knowing the money will be there at 
the end. If we wait, if we do not put up the money, then some of the 
rebuilding will also wait and a piecemeal recovery is a stalled 
recovery and, in all likelihood, a failed recovery.
  The need is clear for passage of the Sandy relief package for my 
State and for the entire region devastated by the storm and the ruin it 
left in its wake. We have just gone through an election at the heart of 
which we debated the role of government in our lives. I submit we need 
to focus on what government does to help build the spirit of community 
we have seen in action in the aftermath of this devastating storm. 
Americans across the country were riveted by the stories of the 
immediate aftermath of the storm: the pictures of entire communities 
underwater, homes moved blocks down the road, homes and train cars 
blocking Federal highways, hospitals closed, gas lines miles long, 
people waiting hours for fuel to run generators to keep their homes 
heated and families warm, weeks of fuel rationing and no transit or 
Amtrak service for the entire region for people to get to work or visit 
their families.
  Without a doubt, these were trying times for New Jersey. But now, 
just because those scenes are no longer showing in living rooms across 
the country, does not mean the pain is not there. It does not mean the 
recovery is over. Thousands of families are still displaced from their 
homes and will be for months to come.
  We face this at the beginning of a winter. Many of these superstorms 
and hurricanes come in tropical times. We are in the midst of winter. 
The bite is even worse. Transit lines are still out. Community 
infrastructure still has to be rebuilt. Now is not the time for the 
Federal Government to walk away. It is more crucial now than ever for 
the Federal Government to help devastated communities rebuild, to help 
families get the assistance they need to repair their homes and put 
their lives back together. I, for one, will not rest until the 
rebuilding is done.
  Whether in the Senate or before in my role in the House of 
Representatives, I have never said no to disaster funding--whether that 
was a result of Hurricane Katrina, for the people of Louisiana, 
Alabama, Mississippi; whether there was flooding along the Mississippi; 
in another context, whether it was tornado disasters in the Midwest; 
whether it was crop destruction for our farm States, I have not said no 
because I believe that is the essence of why we call this country the 
United States of America.
  The only difference is the location and extent of the destruction. 
Now it is time for my fellow Americans to stand with New Jersey. We 
have been battered, but we are not broken. We are stronger and more 
united in our efforts to work to recover, rebuild, and recommit 
ourselves to uniting around common concerns and shared values rather 
than being divided by our differences. This is the lesson we learn and 
together we will rebuild and the Garden State will bloom once again.
  I look forward to my colleagues supporting us in this effort as I 
have supported our fellow Americans, their people in their State and 
their challenges. This is one in which we need them to join hand in 
hand with us and to remember that but for the grace of God there go I.
  This will happen someplace, sometime in another part of the Nation, 
and I will be proud at that time to once again say, yes; this is the 
United States of America.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, on October 29, one of the largest 
Atlantic hurricanes on record slammed into the Jersey shore. At the 
same time, a winter storm system hit New Jersey from the west, creating 
a superstorm that did unprecedented damage to my State.
  When the sun came up the next day, parts of New Jersey looked like a 
war zone.
  Reports indicate that more than 30 people in New Jersey were killed, 
and at least 100 in the U.S. lost their lives as a result of this 
  Across New Jersey, 350,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed.
  Imagine how all of those families felt. Imagine having to evacuate, 
and coming home to find nothing there. The place where you raised your 
children and created so many memories--gone.
  Across our State, 75 percent of small businesses were affected; big 
parts of our transportation system were shut down; and our electrical 
grid was crippled. There were approximately 2,400,000 power outages in 
New Jersey, affecting roughly two-thirds of all power customers in the 
  In response to this devastation, I was proud to see New Jersey 
Governor Chris Christie and President Obama put aside their political 
differences and join together to help people in a desperate situation. 
This bipartisan leadership made the whole country proud.
  We have an opportunity with the bill we are considering this week to 
show that kind of leadership here in the Senate.
  The Superstorm Sandy supplemental appropriations bill will help New 
Jerseyans recover from this storm and rebuild our State so we are 
stronger for the next storm.
  The bill extends $60,000,000,000 of aid to New Jersey and the region.
  That's about $20,000,000,000 less than New Jersey and New York 
estimated the States would need--and those State estimates took weeks 
to compile and were done with help from third party analysts.
  Simply put, the bill before us is a reasonable down payment on the 
basics of our recovery and rebuilding effort.
  Where private insurance wasn't enough, this bill will help residents 
and small businesses pick up the pieces and begin to restore their 

[[Page S8059]]

  It helps fund the repair of our devastated transportation network, 
our damaged electrical grid, and other public infrastructure.
  And the bill provides for proven Federal programs that will help 
reduce flood risk along New Jersey's shore and protect the investment 
we are making in rebuilding coastal communities.
  The situation in New Jersey is still desperate.
  Tens of thousands of New Jerseyans face unemployment because of the 
  And 7 weeks after Sandy, more than 40,000 people in New Jersey are 
still out of their homes. Their suffering will only increase as we 
enter the coldest months of the year.
  And the Hoboken PATH station remains closed as well, causing local 
businesses to shut their doors.
  How long are we going to make people wait for relief?
  When other States have suffered overwhelming disasters, Congress has 
helped them rebuild and restore. That is what we do as Americans--we 
help each other in times of need.
  We saw the worst of Mother Nature in Superstorm Sandy. But we saw the 
best of the American people. Neighbors helped neighbors, and leaders 
put politics aside.
  Now it is our turn in the Senate to join together across party lines 
and help rebuild New Jersey, New York, and the other States that were 
devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
  Let's pass the Sandy supplemental appropriations bill this week.
  I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Cantwell). Without objection, it is so 

                      Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy

  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I rise to speak as the chair of the 
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, to talk about the 
aspects of my bill, the parts of my bill that are in the supplemental. 
But before I do, I want to join with other Americans in extending my 
deepest condolences to the families in Connecticut, those 26 families 
who faced a tragedy of such enormity that it is impossible for the mind 
to comprehend and the heart to endure--the murder of 20 sweet, innocent 
children and 6 teachers who died protecting their children.
  When we look at the photos of the children, we see in many of them 
the faces of our own families. We can only imagine the agony they are 
facing right now. I wish to extend my heartfelt support to them and 
also to all those who responded to the tragedy: those on the scene, the 
school principal who literally put herself in the line of fire to 
protect her students and tried to alert them through the intercom 
system; to teachers in the classrooms and a teacher's assistant who 
literally shielded them with their own bodies and their own know-how. 
Then there were the police and other law enforcement who went into the 
school, not knowing what danger and horror they would face or how they 
could rescue the children. There were the ambulance drivers who raced 
to the scene, paramedics, and even grief counselors needed counseling 
at one point.
  In this situation, the families bear this incredible grief, but we 
all do too. Whether for those people on the scene, for those who have 
the permanent wounds of the bullet or those in Connecticut or those 
families who will bear the permanent impact of this tragedy, we lift 
our hearts in prayer for these victims and we lift our voices to end 
violence in America. We must look at ending violence in our country. We 
need to be able to look at the issues around gun control and ammo 
control, but that is only one aspect of it. We also have to look at 
issues related to mental illness because for those who suffer mental 
illness--whether it is those who have the illness themselves or their 
families who try to cope with it--they are often alone and helpless.
  That is not by way of explanation or excuse for what happened in 
Connecticut or Colorado--what happens now all too frequently in our 
society. But there is a pattern, particularly of young men over the age 
of 18 and below 30 who seem to fall between the cracks, missing the 
help they need to be able to deal with those demons inside themselves. 
We need to be able to focus on that.
  I agree with the President who said last night:

       No single law--no set of laws can eliminate evil from the 
     world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our 
     society. But that can't be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we 
     can do better than this.

  We must do more to protect our children and our communities, not only 
with words, prayers and vigils but actually with the deeds here.
  So know I will join with my colleagues to reinstate the assault 
weapons ban. I plan to work with Senator Feinstein to introduce a bill 
that will deal with military-style weapons and high-capacity bullet 
clips. Weapons of war have no place on our streets, in our schools or 
in our homes.
  For those who cry: Oh, it is regulation--we regulate food for our 
safety. We regulate cars for our safety. We need to now look at 
regulating guns. But know that, as I also said, we must also look at 
the issue of mental illness, particularly in young adults.
  Our colleague Senator Lieberman is proposing a commission on 
violence. I am often skeptical of commissions, but I believe if Joe 
Lieberman headed up that commission and we looked at it, it would come 
out with an action plan. If there was a pledge to support the 
recommendations of that commission, I would also be able to support it.
  We need to look at guns, mental health, and those things that glorify 
violence in our society or glorify that somehow or another guns are a 
solution to every problem we have.
  Today, the funerals in Newtown begin. Our mourning will go on for a 
long time, but our work as well must continue over the days and the 
weeks ahead. I intend to work with my colleagues to change the law and 
change the culture of violence.
  I also rise to speak on my commerce and justice bill. I want to focus 
on my national responsibilities as the chairperson of the 
Appropriations Committee on Commerce, Justice, and Science. I also wish 
to point out that Maryland was hard hit too, especially the communities 
in the lower shore and in particular the community of Crisfield. I will 
speak more about Maryland and what we faced during Hurricane Sandy 
  It was ironic that when the hurricane hit, we faced hurricane winds 
in one part of our State and a blizzard and nor'easter in another part 
of our State. So we had State troopers on snowmobiles trying to go in 
to rescue vulnerable populations in Garrett County. We also had our 
State troopers and guards on rafts and on swiftboats going in to rescue 
vulnerable populations being hit by the flooding waters and the 
horrific hurricane winds. Although we were not hit in Maryland the way 
New York and New Jersey were, we face damages too.
  Up and down the Atlantic coast, there was tremendous damage. I am 
here to talk about the CJS portion of this urgent supplemental. It 
provides $513 million to repair, replace, restore, and rebuild our 
communities and our critical assets. In our case, the CJS bill is about 
restoring critical assets for Federal law enforcement, our weather 
prediction and weather facilities, NOAA, and what was damaged in our 
fisheries program. Even NASA's spaceport Wallops facility was damaged 
by Hurricane Sandy.
  When a storm such as Sandy hits, it devastates everything in its 
path, including Federal facilities, such as the offices and equipment 
of our law enforcement agencies. Our Federal law enforcement agencies--
the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, 
Tobacco, and Firearms--were also hit. We need to make sure we maintain 
support for these law enforcement agencies, and therefore we have in 
this appropriation $15 million for the Department of Justice to repair 
these facilities by replacing equipment and operational tools damaged 
by Hurricane Sandy.
  This will also help FBI facilities in New York and New Jersey that 
were hit. The New York field office, resident agencies, and even labs 
and case record storage facilities were damaged. They are all important 
in dealing with fighting crime, whether it is terrorism, organized 
crime, or financial fraud. Sewage and mud destroyed the New York

[[Page S8060]]

field office mobile command center, specialized laboratory trucks, and 
evidence response team vehicles.
  This appropriation also has $1 million to restore the tools the Drug 
Enforcement Agency needs to go after drug traffickers. Radio 
communications and the antennas to stay connected were damaged. The New 
York division's information technology system needs all the help it can 
get to be able to replace those 15 vehicles used for important kinds of 
forensic detection and wiretap that were lost to flooding or crushed by 
falling trees.
  Also included in the appropriations is the Bureau of Alcohol, 
Tobacco, and Firearms, which will get $25 million. Flooding swept 
through the ATF offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan. It damaged 
communication, security systems, and other tools Federal agents need to 
detect crime, fight crime, identify the perpetrators of crime, and 
gather the evidence.
  We have $10 million in here for the Bureau of Federal Prisons. Ten 
Federal prisons were affected by Hurricane Sandy, located in four 
States: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. We need 
these repairs to meet safety and security requirements to make sure the 
inmates are kept secure and the prisons are fit for duty. They will 
need $10 million to be able to do that.
  Let's talk about the science side. Our Federal science facilities 
along our coast were also damaged. Repairs are needed in Federal 
laboratories, research facilities, and monitoring equipment.
  NOAA needs $15 million for ocean and coastal equipment damaged by 
Hurricane Sandy. For example, 45 tide stations and data buoys were 
damaged. What does that mean? It is absolutely crucial for these buoys 
to give us the navigational information for safe navigation into and 
out of affected ports. The Presiding Officer knows, as the Senator who 
represents Washington State, how important access to a port is and how 
important the NOAA facilities are to help our ship captains and our 
port pilots have accurate and reliable data. They were damaged up and 
down the coast. They will need $63 million to repair and improve 
weather forecasting equipment and capabilities. Nine NOAA weather radio 
sites were damaged, including broken transmitters and antennas. Repairs 
are needed so they can be able to give us the right weather forecast 
even during a storm, to be able to give us the right information to 
protect our communities. For every mile we can be accurate, we will 
save $1 million in evacuation costs by the State, local, and private 
sector. Every dollar we spend that can provide accurate forecasting 
saves lives and saves money. In addition, even the NOAA hurricane 
hunter planes were damaged. We have three of them. Only one plane was 
able to work during the 2012 hurricane season. Two other planes 
desperately need repairs, and we are going to do it.
  Also, we need to repair NASA facilities that were damaged along the 
coast. Beaches were washed away near the NASA launch pad at Wallop's 
Island. The launch pad sits steps from the beach, and workers had to 
stop testing the rocket that will be used to take cargo to the space 
station. After Hurricane Sandy, they said they had not seen this much 
damage in over 6 years. This is a very important facility. There were 
other NASA facilities that were damaged because of the impact and their 
closeness to the beach.
  We also need cleanup. Entire coastal communities were washed away. 
The magnitude was amazing. Right now we have debris from storm damage 
that can be dangerous to fishing vessels, public health and safety, and 
to marine life. This funding is important for the communities hit by 
Hurricane Sandy and also for the west coast communities that are still 
struggling with debris. I understand in Oregon, Washington State, and 
in California they are still dealing with debris from the Japanese 
tsunami. I know the Senator from Washington State as well as Senator 
Murray have spoken to me about it.
  We need to clean up what was washed up. It is important not only for 
the safety of our beaches but also so that ships have clear navigation. 
We are also going to be looking at coastal habitat.
  Due to the hurricane, not only were people displaced but fisheries 
were destroyed as well. I am not equating the two, but for many of us 
who are coastal Senators, we know that the fisheries are an important 
part of our identity, an important part of the economy, and an 
important part of jobs in our communities. We call them watermen in 
Maryland. Our colleagues from New England call them lobstermen or 
fishermen. I know the Presiding Officer calls them fishermen. Whatever 
name we use, those men and women who work and harvest the sea depend on 
their fisheries.
  There were several fisheries which were damaged because the storm 
created such an aquatic and habitat upheaval. Assistance is needed for 
our fishermen and our fishing communities which depend on this for 
their livelihoods to get help. We will be focusing in this bill on New 
England groundfish; Mississippi's--which was hit by another hurricane--
oysters and blue crabs; as well as Alaska and its salmon. Those who 
were affected at the salmon fisheries will benefit from this bill as 
will New York and New Jersey.
  At the same time we will provide assistance to legal aid for mobile 
resources and disaster coordinators. There is a tremendous demand for 
their services to help people sort out many of the aspects of this. 
They help them with their benefits and their insurance. They need help 
just sorting things out when they don't have the documents they need.
  We are going to have lawyers on the ground to work with the 
community. Legal aid will be doing this, and they will be also 
coordinate pro bono orders.
  We see this bill not just as spending on these items, we see this as 
helping the communities get back on their feet and ensuring they have 
vital Federal services in law enforcement and the safety and protection 
of their community. We need to maintain the safety of our Federal 
prisons and make sure there is safety and access to our ports in order 
that safe navigation will be provided.
  For every dollar we spend, we are going to be creating jobs. It is 
going to take jobs and human beings to replace and replenish our 
beaches. This is important. It is a jobs bill. When we talk about going 
in and stabilizing our prisons or helping with the New York field 
office, and so on, these are going to be jobs in construction, in 
office space restoration, and mold mitigation.
  Item after item will help provide an opportunity that even men and 
women whose jobs were displaced because of this storm will have the 
opportunity to be able to participate in these Federal contracts to 
rebuild the very communities that they are from. I know we hope that 
  After all of this, we are going to have safer beaches and safer 
navigation. We are also going to continue the excellent work that has 
been done by NOAA and weather forecasts. They gave us plenty of warning 
so that we were able to save as many lives as we could, but 
unfortunately we could not save those homes and we could not save those 
  This supplemental helps people get back in their homes, get those 
communities back, and hopefully we will restore those livelihoods. I 
look forward to ensuring that my aspect of the bill moves in an 
expeditious, speedy, and smooth way.
  I thank the the ranking member, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. She 
worked with me on a bipartisan basis to put together my part of the 
supplemental. This will probably be the last bill she will help move. I 
appreciate her help.
  I hope my colleagues, as they look at the overall aspects of this 
bill, will move it. Tomorrow I will be talking more about the FEMA and 
HUD aspects, particularly as they affect Maryland. I hope that as the 
lameduck moves along, we move in a bipartisan way to get our people 
back into their homes, back to work, and get back the faith that the 
Federal Government is on their side and responds to them.
  The Senator and I thank President Obama for his leadership and giving 
us the right framework. We have it all lined up here, and we are ready 
to go.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate majority whip.

                      Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, as I was coming to work today, I drove 
past St. Peter's grade school which is on the House side of the Hill, 
and there was a

[[Page S8061]]

group of students--little kids--who were being escorted by their 
teacher down the sidewalk. As they walked along I couldn't help but 
flash back to that image all America remembers from last Friday--the 
children at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, CT, filing out, heading 
for safety at the firehouse.
  I don't know that I can look at the faces of these children as their 
names have been reported and not think of my own kids when they were 
that age, and especially of my own grandchildren now, who are just a 
little over a year old. But I saw in the eyes of those children what 
all of us see: innocence, happiness, an interest in the future, and the 
greatest dreams in the world.
  Well, in one brutal, depraved moment, those dreams ended when that 
gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook school and shot those poor 
innocent children. At that moment, some people stepped forward who 
really became heroes of the day: Four teachers, including Rachel 
Davino, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, and Victoria Soto, and the 
school psychologist, Mary Sherlach, and Dawn Hochsprung, the beloved 
school principal who apparently walked right into the face of this 
gunman to try to stop him from harming any of the children in the 
school. These school employees lost their lives because they were 
trying to stop the gunman or shield their students from him.
  We would like to think all of us called into a moment such as that 
would rise to the standard of courage they showed. I hope we would. 
They did, and in so doing reminded us that even those who just go to 
work every single day can be called on to show bravery. These teachers 
did, the school psychologist and the principal, and we owe them a great 
debt of gratitude, as I am sure the families of all of the students in 
the school feel.
  We pray for all the children were lost on Friday, for the six school 
employees, and for all their families and loved ones. We also pray for 
the first victim that morning, the shooter's own mother, Nancy Lanza. 
And we thank the first responders who responded so bravely in the face 
of such horror.
  We reflect now on our responsibility. I thought about it over the 
weekend, and I wrote an article for the Chicago Tribune this morning 
and here is what it said:
  What will it take? What will it take for a majority of Americans to 
speak out for sensible firearms policy in our nation? It will take more 
than a Congresswoman being shot point-blank in the face as she gathers 
for a town meeting in Arizona. It will take more than a deranged gunman 
with a 100-round magazine spraying bullets into a crowded movie theater 
in Aurora, CO. It will take more than the kids who die playing with 
guns carelessly stored. It will take more than killings on the 
university campuses in my home State of Illinois and in Texas and 
Alabama and Virginia; and it will take more than the shootings on the 
streets of Chicago, my hometown of East St. Louis, and so many other 
cities across the country. Sadly, it will take more than 27 victims, 
including 20 children, at Sandy Hook grade school.
  What it will take is for a majority of Americans and a majority of 
thoughtful gun owners and hunters to agree that there must be 
reasonable limits on gun ownership and weapons. The U.S. Supreme Court 
acknowledged that our second amendment rights are not absolute. So can 
we come together and agree that Americans have the right to own and use 
firearms for sport and self-defense, but with certain limits?
  We must institute reasonable, commonsense limits, such as barring 
those with a history of mental instability, those with a history of 
violent crime or who are adjudged dangerous and subject to restraining 
orders, and those whose names have already been placed on a terrorist 
watch list from owning guns. Those ``straw purchasers'' who are 
literally fencing for drug gangs and other criminal thugs, and the gun 
dealers who look the other way when they come to buy those weapons? We 
have to deal with them realistically and firmly.
  There are certain classes of weapons that are strictly military. They 
have no useful purpose in sport, hunting, or self-defense. They should 
not be legally sold in America. The gun used at Sandy Hook grade school 
in Newtown, CT, was just such a gun, an AR-15, originally an M-16, 
developed for military purposes. Then, with clips attached that held 
countless numbers of bullets, he turned it on those little babies, 
these infants, and killed them with that assault weapon. Magazine clips 
with more than 10 rounds should be prohibited from civilian use.
  No one should be allowed to purchase more than two firearms--maybe 
only one firearm per month. And those who own firearms that are within 
the reach of children should have protective locks on their weapons.
  What holds us back are political organizations that are well-funded 
and organized and determined to resist even the most reasonable 
limitations. There is a close political parallel between the gridlock 
in Washington on dealing with our economy and national debt and the 
eerie silence in Congress as the list of horrific gun crimes grows by 
the day.
  I am encouraged by several of my colleagues who have spoken out 
today. Traditionally they have been on the side of those who have 
opposed any type of limitation on firearms, but they believe, after 
Newtown, CT, we have to reopen that conversation in a good-faith effort 
to find common ground.
  But too many of my colleagues just shrug their shoulders when gun 
issues come to the floor for a vote. They have made Grover Norquest-
like pledges and feel dutybound to vote ``right'' on every scorecard 
  My wife and I grew up in families of hunters. We know the rite of 
passage when a father can take his son or daughter out hunting for the 
first time. I know the fun of watching the Sun come up from a duck 
blind and hearing a seasoned hunter calling them in over the water. The 
hunters I know are good people who love their sport and hate those who 
misuse firearms, terrorize, and kill. We need for these hunters to join 
with many Americans, some of whom have never owned a gun or used a gun, 
to establish a reasonable standard for gun use and ownership in this 
great Nation.
  I was thinking over the weekend how much we have focused on texting 
and driving, and I looked up the numbers. Last year it is estimated 
that 6,000 Americans died because they foolishly were texting while 
they were driving. We now have a national campaign to stop texting and 
driving, and we should: 6,000 American lives lost. Last year we lost 
30,000 American lives to gun deaths, to put it in perspective. It is 
time for us to view safety and ownership of guns as seriously as we do 
when it comes to the safety of operation of automobiles. Until we do--
until we come together as a Nation and come forward with reasonable 
limits on guns that can be sold, magazines and cartridges that can be 
sold, even the body armor which I can't even understand the purpose for 
in this country--until we do that, the number of victims of gun 
tragedies will continue to grow and the silence of the funerals that 
follow will be matched by the silence of those in Congress who have the 
power to change it.
  It is time for us to step forward in memory of these poor children in 
Newtown, CT, their grieving families, these heroic teachers, and so 
many others who reminded us last Friday that we are all part of the 
same American family.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, before the Senator from Illinois leaves 
the floor, I commend him for his statements, first on his nominee for 
the Illinois judgeship that has been delayed for far too long, through 
no fault of the Senator from Illinois.
  This weekend was a very difficult and trying weekend for our families 
and so many other families, although nothing compared to the families 
in Newtown, of course. I pretty much stayed off the phone and spent 
time with children and grandchildren. I made an exception for a couple 
of phone calls with the distinguished senior Senator from Illinois. I 
told him that when we come back in in a couple of weeks for the new 
Congress, I will work with him to make sure the Senate Judiciary 
Committee has full and thorough hearings on the subjects he has just 
spoken about, as he stated here so eloquently and as he did in his 
television interviews this weekend.
  The President was absolutely right when he said there is a number of

[[Page S8062]]

issues. Obviously the issue of guns is one of them. Mental health is 
another. There are several issues. Several committees will look at 
these issues, and should. But I think the Senate Judiciary Committee 
has a very particular role to play, and I pledge to the Senator from 
Illinois he will have my complete cooperation in that regard. He was 
one of the rare phone calls I made this weekend, as well as to a couple 
national law enforcement officials.
  I thought I had seen some of the most horrific crime scenes in my 
career, but they don't even begin to compare to what the first 
responders and others, including school officials and parents, saw in 
that elementary school. The memory is fresh for us, but can we imagine 
the memories for the families of both the adults and the children who 
died? It is a memory that will never, ever fade. I think we ought to 
show our responsibility and step forward to find out what can be done 
not as Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, but as 
Americans. I believe it can be done.
  I see the time of 5 o'clock has nearly arrived, but I also see the 
distinguished Senator from Maryland on the floor. He wishes to speak on 
the supplemental. I ask unanimous consent Senator Cardin be permitted 
to speak on the supplemental and that if he goes past the time of 5 
o'clock he be allowed to continue using my time on the judicial 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, first let me thank Chairman Leahy for 
those words in his exchange with Senator Durbin. I wish to offer my 
deepest condolences on behalf of all of the people of Maryland to the 
20 students who lost their lives, and the 6 adults, at the hands of a 
single shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
  It is heart-breaking to listen to the stories of innocent lives cut 
cruelly short. The pain and grief of the families and friends of these 
students and teachers is unimaginable.
  I want to echo some of the comments Senator Durbin and Senator Leahy 
made. We know the teachers and the aides put their lives on the line in 
order to try to save the children, as well as the unbelievable task of 
the first responders coming to the scene and not knowing what they 
would find. We send our prayers to all.
  This is a tragedy beyond words. I think President Obama said it best 
last night that our hearts are broken. But as Senator Durbin has said--
and I say to Senator Leahy, I particularly want to thank the Senator--
we need to take action. Congress needs to come together and take action 
to protect the safety of our children. We must do better. There have 
been too many episodes in which children's lives--and others--have been 
lost that we must figure out ways to prevent these types of tragedies.
  This conversation must include a discussion about the culture of 
violence that permeates our culture today, including the glorification 
of violence to our children and young adults. We see too much of this 
violence, and it has to have an impact on young children. We need to 
know how we can responsibly deal with this circumstance.
  It must include a discussion of the mental health services provided 
to Americans, including our students. Many of us have talked about this 
in the past. We have to be more aggressive in dealing with the mental 
health needs of all the people in our community.
  As Chairman Leahy pointed out, we must discuss the issue about the 
ready access of individuals to weapons. I know there are different 
views in this Congress. I must tell you, I do not understand why we 
need to allow access to military-style assault weapons and ammunition.
  I strongly support Senator Feinstein's efforts to reinstate the 
expired 1994 ban on assault weapons, including a ban on ammunition 
magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
  Senator Durbin has raised a very valid point: We regulate 
automobiles. We regulate consumer products. We regulate a lot, as we 
should, for public safety, and we should regulate firearms for public 
safety reasons.
  There is no need for assault weapons to be held by the public. In my 
view, there is no legitimate reason for a civilian to possess a 
military-style weapon or to have large capacity ammunition clips. 
Congress should also examine whether we can strengthen our background 
check system for gun buyers, along with criminal penalties for those 
who illegally purchase or transfer guns.
  We need to take a look at safety locks for children. We need to look 
at those who make multiple purchases. We need to look at the gun show 
purchases. I think we should examine all those to see whether we can 
make our communities safer, without infringing upon the legitimate 
right of individuals to possess guns, sportsmen to be able to use guns 
for hunting. I think all that, obviously, will be protected. But we can 
do a much better job of protecting public safety.
  We have talked about this before, and we need to act. We need to act 
in a comprehensive way to make our society safer. I pledge to the 
chairman of the Judiciary Committee--I have had the honor of serving on 
that committee for 4 years. He is an extremely fair leader who believes 
in letting all sides be heard, and I very much appreciate his 
commitment in so many different areas that have dealt with public 
safety. We have great confidence in his leadership on that committee, 
and other committees of the Senate need to act as it relates to the 
safety of our children.
  (Mr. BEGICH assumed the chair.)
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I know we have pending the supplemental 
appropriations bill. I urge my colleagues to act on this as quickly as 
we can. Sandy was a devastating storm. Eight million people were 
without power. There were over 100 deaths, including 7 in the State of 
  Maryland was hit hard, not as hard as New Jersey or New York--and our 
prayers go out to all the communities that have been affected--but 
Maryland was hit pretty hard. We had sustained winds for hour after 
hour after hour after hour. We had rainfall records--9 inches. We had 
storm surges with 7 foot waves. We had flooding of the Eastern Shore of 
Maryland. We had a storm in the western part of our State that dropped 
30 inches of wet snow.
  So we suffered from the flooding on the Eastern Shore and the storms 
in western Maryland. In many of the communities, people who live below 
the poverty line are elderly. Senator Mikulski was just on the floor 
and talked about the circumstances in the city of Crisfield. In that 
city, 32 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Mr. 
President, 585 homes were severely damaged, 71 sustained major damage. 
The watermen, which is one of the major industries for that community, 
found that they were literally unable to work, and they are still 
unclear as to what is going to happen to their crops.
  We have a serious problem. I will give you just two examples of 
people who have lived through this storm.
  In Crisfield, Mary lived in an apartment with Cody, her trained 
medical dog. Mary suffers from epileptic seizures, and Cody serves as 
her lifeline when these seizures occur.
  Mary has no family in the area. She cannot work due to her 
disability. Her only source of income is a small Social Security check.
  When Hurricane Sandy hit Crisfield, the water rose rapidly in her 
apartment. Mary was forced to grab Cody--and nothing else--jump out the 
window and swim to safety. She lost all her belongings, including all 
her records, which might be helpful for her to be able to get the 
benefits she is entitled to.
  She is now in temporary housing at a local motel, paying $60 a night, 
which she cannot afford, until she can qualify for the assistance. In 
an area that has a high number of low-income elderly persons, Federal 
assistance is needed to help deserving senior citizens severely 
impacted by this storm.
  Then there is Diane, who also lives in Crisfield with her family in 
her childhood home. According to Diane, she has weathered many storms 
over the years but never in her lifetime has she ever seen the water 
rise so high and so quickly, inundating the first floor of her home and 
creating huge whitecaps around her neighborhood. Diane decided to ride 
out the storm in her home, fearing the possibility of drowning if she 
  The family lost all their possessions. With housing vouchers, they 
are now

[[Page S8063]]

living in temporary housing. A church group gutted her home, but she 
still needs building materials in order to be able to rebuild her home. 
She does not have the resources to do that. She needs Federal 
assistance in order to get her life back in order.
  They are just two stories, and I could give you numerous others in 
the State of Maryland. In the western part of our State, in Garrett 
County--Garrett County is a community of 30,000--15,000 homes were 
without power. That is just about every home. Trees fell everywhere. 
This is a remote Appalachian community, where people were isolated 
because of the storm. They need help. They need partners.
  I wish to congratulate Governor O'Malley and our State leaders and 
our county leaders. FEMA did a great job. I want to thank the Red Cross 
and other private sector groups.
  But now it is time for the Federal Government to act as a true 
  I thank President Obama for the disaster declaration for our State, 
including individual relief for the County of Somerset. This 
legislation strengthens the Federal partnership. It provides the 
resources so we can help people such as Mary and Diane who have been 
devastated by the storm. It will provide the resources necessary so 
they can put their lives back together. I particularly note the $17 
billion in CDBG funds. Those are flexible funds that will help people 
such as Mary and Diane so they can get their lives back together.
  I also wish to point out how important the mitigation funds are that 
are in the supplemental appropriations bill. That will allow us to 
build to prevent this type of damage in the future. For those who may 
question the feasibility of this type of investment, let me point to 
one in Maryland: Assateague Island. We widened and put more beach down 
on Assateague Island. It was kind of pricey, many people thought, but 
it acted as a buffer for Sandy coming in and causing more damage in 
Ocean City. Literally millions of dollars were saved because of 
Assateague Island acting as a bumper to the storm. Mitigation is 
important, and we should invest in mitigation.
  The next step should be the passage of the supplemental 
appropriations bill. I have heard many of my colleagues come to the 
floor who represent States that are directly affected. I have listened 
as my colleagues around the Nation have talked about disasters in their 
communities, and we have always come together as a nation. I know we 
are in the last days of this legislative session. I just urge my 
colleagues to let us move this bill forward now. Let's get it done so 
the Federal Government can be there to help the communities that have 
been affected by this storm. It is the right thing to do, and I hope my 
colleagues will support that effort.
  I yield the floor.