U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on Saturday praised local leaders for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts and said he hopes to pass a third disaster relief bill before the money gets entangled in Washington policy battles.
“My hope is that disaster relief is not caught up in the mess and we can pass it with bipartisan support,” Cruz said.
Harvey in late August caused massive flooding throughout the county.
Cruz spoke in Dickinson during a visit to Galveston County to receive an update about hurricane recovery efforts.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 251-169 in December to approve an $81 billion disaster aid package to help Texas and other places in the United States hit by natural disasters in 2017.
Legislators from districts affected by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and other disasters pushed for the bill, claiming the need for aid was still acute.
That relief bill still has to be approved by the U.S. Senate, but officials said they wouldn’t take up the measure until this month.
“In December, I gave a speech urging senators to take action,” Cruz said. “But the decision was made to hold it until January and there are ongoing negotiations.”
Texas Sen. John Cornyn on Jan. 4 said the relief bill likely would be tied to a vote planned for Friday that would continue funding the federal government.
As negotiations continue, it is important that Texas politicians ensure the state is getting its fair share of relief funding in the pending legislation, Cruz said.
Cruz praised federal and local efforts to bring resources to areas hit hard by Harvey.
“Local leaders have done a terrific job,” Cruz said. “I thank them for their incredible leadership. From the outset of the storm, we have seen Texas come together.”
Congress in October approved a $36 billion disaster relief bill that followed on the heels of a $15 billion measure that passed in September, Cruz said.
After Saturday’s news conference, Cruz met with county Judge Mark Henry and other elected officials to receive a Harvey recovery update.