If the $19 billion disaster aid bill is passed, here's how it might be used
In the U.S. House Tuesday, the $19 billion disaster relief bill was brought up to be passed by unanimous consent. Yet again, a Republican congressman objected to its passage. This time it was Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
As this multi-billion dollar bill sits idle in Washington, D.C., Bay County leaders are waiting... prepared for the legislation to pass a vote so the Panhandle can continue to rebuild.
Congressman Neal Dunn said, "And it should pass, this should be inevitable that it pass and, by the way, it's really got a lot of good stuff in there."
This federal supplemental money will cover costs FEMA cannot.
Bay County's County Manager, Bob Majka, said, "So FEMA provides public assistance and individual assistance. What we're talking about is categories C through G, which is money for repairing our roads back to the standard that they were in prior to the storm, getting our utility systems back and repaired as a result of damages from the storm."
The money will go to things like crop losses, the state and private forestry programs, child care facilities, the Florida Department of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. The full list is attached this article.
Also in the bill is about a billion dollars to continue reconstruction at Tyndall Air Force Base, something Colonel Brent Hyden says will ensure the long term rebuild of the base.
"We identified roughly half of the facilities on the installation before the storm needed to be demolished and replaced. Those are not ones that we can start until we get the construction money for the large construction projects," said Hyden.
Dunn said, "The Air Force has already spent $700 million cleaning up Tyndall and they pulled it from their other parts of their enterprise across, well around the world. And so they need to recharge all those programs that they put on hold because they took the money from so that money goes very quickly back into the Air Force."
But until the House returns to session on June 3, the future of disaster relief money for the Panhandle hangs in the balance.
The possibility exists the bill could pass another unanimous consent vote during an informal house meeting on Thursday, but Congressman Dunn says he anticipates the vote to happen when the house is back in session.