DICKINSON

U.S. Rep. Randy Weber was in Dickinson on Saturday meeting with residents of the flood-devastated community and taking questions about the recovery process and Congress’ return to session.

The Friendswood Republican, officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Association met with about 20 residents, who asked questions about a wide range of issues, from flood-related topics to immigration. Agency representatives worked with individuals on specific questions about registering and seeking aid.

“Our district — District 14 — is arguably ground zero for flooding in Harvey,” Weber said. “Right now, this disaster is my No. 1 priority.”

Weber had been on a tour of flood-ravaged communities in Brazoria, Galveston and Jefferson counties, he said.

On Saturday morning, Weber hosted a “Kolaches with a Congressman” in Jefferson County. Saturday afternoon, he hosted “Cookies with the Congressman” at Dickinson City Hall on state Highway 3.

“We saw peoples’ lives out on full display: drapes, portraits and family pictures,” Weber said. “It tugs at your heartstrings.”

Congress has approved $15 billion for Harvey relief, which Weber called a “drop in the bucket” of total likely aid needed for disaster relief.

A resident asked where Congress would come up with more than $200 billion for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma at the same time lawmakers are pushing for tax breaks for top income earners and across the board.

Lawmakers were still trying to get an accurate number for the amount of damage during the storms, Weber said. Funding for hurricane relief might be met by cutting from other parts of the budget, but Weber did not specify or discuss where those cuts might be made.

“The number is not in,” Weber said. “Generally, you look around to cut somewhere else, that discussion will be had.”

Other residents aired frustrations with the city’s drainage ditch management and environmental concerns about sewage running into Galveston Bay. Weber directed people to get in touch with his staff to assist in the matter.

One north county resident questioned Weber’s support for a bill that would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, which could regulate and mitigate some of those environmental concerns, the resident said.

Weber had signed onto the letter supporting the termination of the agency “to get their attention and say ‘you got to do things better,’” he said. Weber pointed to the state’s environmental agency and its effectiveness at handling issues as an example of how local control can work better.

But a resident countered the state agency hadn’t been effective in another resident’s drainage issues. Weber said he could contact a commissioner there and ask the issue be looked into.

It shouldn’t take a call from a congressman for an agency to respond to Texans’ concerns, the resident countered.

Another resident asked whether the federal government should be involved in flood insurance.

The national flood insurance has been in the federal government’s domain since 1968. Private insurers didn’t offer many flood insurance policies because the rates people were willing to pay wouldn’t cover the risk. In turn, the government stepped in to offset that and help reduce spending on disaster response.

The flood insurance program is open to residential and commercial property owners in about 22,000 flood-prone communities across the nation. Congress sets the policies and rates and the Federal Emergency Management Agency administers the program.

The flood insurance program is set to expire Sept. 30 if Congress doesn’t act to reauthorize it.

Weber said he supported more private insurers offering flood insurance. The program would likely be extended, he said.

Weber used the town hall to discuss some of the U.S. House of Representatives’ recent work, including the passage of 12 appropriations bills in the past week, he said.

Weber blamed the U.S. Senate and its rule requiring 60 votes to bring up an issue for slowing down the process. More than 240 bills the House had passed were waiting in the Senate.

“The House of Representatives is doing its job,” Weber said.

Marissa Barnett: 409-683-5257; marissa.barnett@galvnews.com

(9) comments

Mark Aaron

"One north county resident questioned Weber’s support for a bill that would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, which could regulate and mitigate some of those environmental concerns, the resident said. Weber had signed onto the letter supporting the termination of the agency “to get their attention and say ‘you got to do things better,’” he said. "

So who is Weber really lying to, us, or the EPA? He signs onto a letter calling for the elimination of the EPA and then tells his constituents he was just pretending.

I think he hates government and wants to kill the EPA, and any other oversight agency he can find to abuse. He is driven by a radical anti-government ideology and has no interest in what is best for the country.

Joe Henry

Randy Weber believes in a bare boned government, but now 15 billion in federal aide is "just a drop in the bucket". Or is it that the 15 billion is just the beginning of the lining of his pockets? Randy also supports our police, firemen, military, and now government bailouts. Seems to me, that Randy likes every socialist institution he comes across.

Mark Aaron

Joe: "Randy also supports our police, firemen, military, and now government bailouts. Seems to me, that Randy likes every socialist institution he comes across."

So you don't think Weber is extreme enough, Joe?

Diane Turski

I detect no accountability from Weber, just dodging and deflecting! We will have a better choice in 2018! Vote for Adrienne Bell if you would prefer some actual accountability in our District #14 House Representative!

Mark Aaron

Thanks Diane. I started following her homepage.

Carlos Ponce

Please listen to Adrienne Bell before casting your vote. If she represents your values then by all means vote for her. If she does not then don't. After listening to her on Sam and Norman's radio program on KGBC it is evident her views are foreign to most of Galveston County. Properly vet your candidates.

George Croix

I learned today that the EPA just might be able to prevent sewage from running into the Bay after a 30 to 50" rainfall in 3 days and 4 plus feet of floodwater in an area about the size of Rhode Island, give or take a few feet, if we just keep letting them designate backyard mufholes as 'wetlands'......
Ya gotta love the wide eyed innocence of such beliefs....
We need the EPA, as a regulatory agency that uses good sense, not as a wholly owned subsidiary of the 'progressive', er...'movement'......[whistling]

George Croix

mifholes?
Mudholes....
The mufholes fall under the Endangered Species Act...the one with snail darters, salt marsh harvest mice, and humans living near them.....

Mark Aaron

George: "The mufholes fall under the Endangered Species Act...the one with snail darters, salt marsh harvest mice, and humans living near them....."

Poor George, he finds environmental protection inconvenient.

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