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WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) praised the Senate
for completing its work on a disaster relief package that was months
overdue. The central component of the bipartisan compromise includes
$19.1 billion to help Americans citizens recover from natural disasters
from 2017-2019. The most controversial aspect of the process – a
late-breaking Administration request to include an unrelated $4.5
billion more in border enforcement funding – has been avoided. The House
must now follow suit without any further delay.

“Americans from coast to coast will at long last see federal funding in
their communities to help rebuild and begin anew in some of the areas
hardest hit by natural disasters over the past three years,” said Diane
Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National
Legislation. “But it is more than just disaster aid and overdue funding
for hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico. Millions of Puerto Ricans struggling
to feed their families will now have their nutrition assistance
reestablished after being cut or eliminated in March. Millions for
nutrition assistance, health care funding, and Medicaid payment
forgiveness have all been approved. Today was a very good day for our
fellow citizens who have been struggling for far too long.”

As lawmakers neared a deal, the Administration threatened to veto any
disaster relief bill that did not include extra billions for border
enforcement funding. This money would have been spent on more detention
centers, more deportation, more detainment, and further border
militarization. Completely unrelated to disaster relief, these demands
again risked derailing months overdue disaster relief. With pressure to
provide relief aid coming to a boiling point, the Administration
relented.

“The last thing the humanitarian crisis on the southern border needs is
more money for more of the same cruel policies. The truth is the status
quo is not working for anyone. Why intensify the problem? It is not as
if better more cost-effective policies don’t exist,” explained Hannah
Graf Evans, FCNL’s Immigration and Refugee Policy Legislative
Representative.

“We hope today will prove to be the first step Congress will take in
reasserting its authority to appropriate money and set rational
immigration policy. There are plenty of orderly, compassionate solutions
to our immigration crisis. We welcome that debate.”

To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.

Contacts

Timothy J. McHugh
Friends Committee on National Legislation
[email protected];
202-903-2515