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Sen. Murray: This “should not be the end of our commitment to those affected by recent disasters, but rather a down payment on what we know will be a long road to recovery for many devastated regions”

WATCH: Sen. Murray delivers floor speech on importance of wildfire prevention efforts

(Washington, D.C.) –  Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voted for legislation to provide $36.5 billion in disaster aid to help fund ongoing recovery efforts in multiple locations throughout the country. Major hurricanes caused unprecedented flooding throughout Texas and Florida earlier this year and ravaged the island of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, where many residents are still without electricity or clean drinking water. In the West, devastating wildfires leveled entire communities, threatened industries, and caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage.  

“From hurricanes that caused unprecedented flooding and catastrophic damage, to deadly wildfires that scorched communities across the West, there are countless families—from Santa Rosa to San Juan--that need a hand up right now,” said Senator Murray about the bill’s passage. “The relief package Congress approved today should not be the end of our commitment to those affected by recent disasters, but rather a down payment on what we know will be a long road to recovery for many devastated regions.”

Included in the disaster aid package is funding for the following recovery priorities:  

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund: $18.7 billion
  • National Flood Insurance Program: $16 billion
  • Wildfire recovery efforts: $576.5 million
  • Disaster Food Assistance for Puerto Rico: $1.27 billion

Senator Murray also highlighted the need for increased funding to fight wildfires and support wildfire prevention efforts in a speech on the Senate floor, urging her colleagues to treat wildfires like the natural disasters they are. Previously, Senator Murray wrote a letter to Senate leaders urging them to include a wildfire funding fix in any future disaster aid legislation.

“For far too long, the U.S. Forest Service has been forced to use up its budget fighting wildfires each season—only to have no funds left over to work on preventing them. This is a dangerous cycle and a disservice to so many communities in the West, and it’s only gotten worse as climate change takes hold, meaning our wildfires have grown more massive in size and intensity in recent years,” added Senator Murray in her floor speech.