Metavid

Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on Jun 15th, 2011 :: 3:47:30 to 4:01:35
Total video length: 9 hours 2 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

Note: MetaVid video transcripts may contain inaccuracies, help us build a more perfect archive

Download OptionsEmbed Video

Views:80 Duration: 0:14:05 Discussion

Previous speech: Next speech:

Mary Landrieu

3:47:30 to 3:47:50( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: clerk will cal ms. landrieu: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana is recognize he had ms. landrieu: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the roll call. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. ms. landrieu: and i also ask unanimous consent that the period of morning business be extended until 3:30 with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. ms. landrieu: thank you, madam

Mary Landrieu

3:47:30 to 4:01:35( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Mary Landrieu

Mary Landrieu

3:47:51 to 3:48:11( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: president. today to bring to the senate's attention and to the congress's attention a great challenge that we have before us relative to the budget of the department of homeland it is a challenge facing the entire budget of the united states, and that challenge,

Mary Landrieu

3:48:12 to 3:48:33( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: madam president, is to make sure that we have enough funding in the disaster emergency account to cover the multitude of disasters that have taken place this year, just since january, as well as those that we are still recovering from some years in the past.

Mary Landrieu

3:48:34 to 3:48:57( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: i'd like to put up a chart, if i could, just to show in dramatic fashion the really unprecedented situation that we're facing, and that is, madam president, that since january of this year, 36 states have had disasters declared. this may be the largest number

Mary Landrieu

3:48:58 to 3:49:19( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: of states in the shortest period of tiernlg at least in recent memory, and could potentially be in history. and this is a challenge to the budget because, as you know, under our larks the federal government is, by law -- it attempts to be every day -- a reliable and trustworthy partner for cities and towns and states

Mary Landrieu

3:49:20 to 3:49:41( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: that have been devastated by either tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, et cetera. most recently our -- you know, our minds and our eyes and our hearts have been focused on missouri, with the terrible devastation to several of their cities -- most notably joplin,

Mary Landrieu

3:49:42 to 3:50:02( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: mississippi -- i'm sorry, mississippi, just recently. but we remember just a few weeks ago the tornadoes that ripped through the southern part of the united states, in alabama particularly, georgia, some parts of arkansas and flooding in other parts of the country as well. now, this is what mother nature

Mary Landrieu

3:50:03 to 3:50:24( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: has brought to us, and we can't control that, but what we can control is how we respond to it. and that's what i want to speak to today. i'd like to begin with a quote from david maxwell, from the arkansas department of emergency management. he said in "the washington post" on april 30 -- he was recorded

Mary Landrieu

3:50:25 to 3:50:48( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: as saying, "anything that we've asked for, they've gotten us." and he was referring to femme mavment greg flynn, a spoarksman with the mississippi emergency management agency said of fugate, "fema is extraordinarily proactive for the states. by the time the storm is out of

Mary Landrieu

3:50:49 to 3:51:10( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: the way, they want to know what we need." madam president, this is very good testimony, because we worked hard. many of us -- you worked hard on this, i did, and others -- to make a stronger fema, a more proactive fema and i think this big measure we've accomplished that. but the biggest challenge right now is, unless the senate and

Mary Landrieu

3:51:11 to 3:51:31( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: the house and the president do something differently, we are not going to have the money we need to take care of these disasters. and so for people on the ground like david maxwell in arkansas and greg flynn in mississippi

Mary Landrieu

3:51:32 to 3:51:56( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: and whether it's paul rainwater, who is the c.e.o. of my state and still struggling in the aftermath of katrina and rita, which was six years ago, but a disaster that's still open, we literally are going to run out of money in the disaster emergency relief fund january of this year. so let me put up a chart to show

Mary Landrieu

3:51:57 to 3:52:17( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: the challenge that's before us. we have -- the president has requested $1.8 billion, which is a reasonable request based on past averages of disasters, which we're prepared to budget

Mary Landrieu

3:52:18 to 3:52:38( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: in the base budget of homeland security. but, unfortunately, the estimate of the low end of these disasters -- again, 36 since january 1 and disasters open in all 50 states -- the low estimate is that we need $3.8 billion at the low end, and the

Mary Landrieu

3:52:39 to 3:52:59( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: high end is $6.6 billion. so somewhere between $3.5 billion ands 6.5 billion -- and $6.5 billion is required. but we have budgeted only $1.8 billion in the base of homeland security. as chair of this committee, i can tell you that our committee

Mary Landrieu

3:53:00 to 3:53:21( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: cannot absorb in its base the entire weight and cost of these disasters. the homeland security budget has never in its history since it was created absorbed 100%. we do a rough and good-faith estimate of what it might be, but these are exceeding even our

Mary Landrieu

3:53:22 to 3:53:46( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: expectations of what the disasters would be. and, of course, no one is in a position to be able to foretell the future. our secretary of homeland security has brought a great deal of skill and expertise -- a former governor, an excellent manager, all but prequisite academic credentials. but she didn't show up in this

Mary Landrieu

3:53:47 to 3:54:07( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: job with a magic wand and a foreteller's globe. she doesn't have those tools available to her to be able to see in the future every disaster and what kind of disaster is going to happen to the country. all we can come forward with in our budget is a good-faith estimate, which we did at $1.8

Mary Landrieu

3:54:08 to 3:54:28( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: billion. so the reason i come to the senate today is to say that there is a gap that must be filled. i'm strongly recommending that this congress fund this off-budget in an emergency line-item, which is what we'd done 95% of the time in the last

Mary Landrieu

3:54:29 to 3:54:49( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: 40 years. $110 billion of emergencies out of $130 billion have been dealt with as true emergencies. this is -- it's unpredictable. you can't plan for t we must respond by law, and if we don't, then projects all over this country will shut down, and i might remind everyone that it's projects that create jobs, that

Mary Landrieu

3:54:50 to 3:55:11( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: not only restore hope, not only rebuild communities, but projects that create jobs. to list a few of them, the repairs for two very important roads in hawaii could potentially be stopped. sewer line repairs and a pump station in garry, indiana, could be stopped.

Mary Landrieu

3:55:12 to 3:55:32( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: the town hacialg the village of gulfport, which hasn't been rebuilt for six years since the storm, which is under construction, could be halted. a dozen or more jobs in that small town of gulfport, not big numbers nationally but important to that city. there's an elementary saferoom being built right now in kansas.

Mary Landrieu

3:55:33 to 3:55:53( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: that, again, is a few jobs there, important to the couple of hundred schoolchildren that are terrorized now by those tornadoes that have swept through their area. that project -- and i could go on and on. you can imagine, in missouri, there was a bridge that was collapsed, very inconvenient of course for the people having to cross that bridge every day.

Mary Landrieu

3:55:54 to 3:56:15( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: i'm not personally familiar with it but i can imagine the difficulty that families are going through that were used to having access to cross that requirement and i could list hundreds of projects that literally will be stopped in their tracks if we don't figure this out. my strong recommendation is that we do what we've always done,

Mary Landrieu

3:56:16 to 3:56:36( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: which is appropriate in funding real emergencies. now, it is not appropriate to do off-budget on things that you can budget for, you should have budgeted forks you just failed -- you should have budgeted for, you just failed to budget for. that's bad planning. i think i am a pretty good chairman of this committee. i know secretary napolitano is an excellent administrator of homeland security.

Mary Landrieu

3:56:37 to 3:56:57( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: there's nothing we could give her humanly possible where she can predict in the future what kinds of disasters are going to take place and the magnitude of their destruction. it's impossible. so, again, we have to figure out a way to budget for this that's

Mary Landrieu

3:56:58 to 3:57:18( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: responsible, and i say put a good-faith effort or average in your budget and then anything that occurs, do it -- in addition to that -- off-budget in emergency. or, another suggestion which has met with resistance -- and i can understand why, but another reasonable alternative -- would

Mary Landrieu

3:57:19 to 3:57:44( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: be to take a percentage decrease. again, all the budgets of the federal government -- and just say, we wanted to spend this money, but we've had these disasters and absorb it, you know, government-wide. i can promise you, the last and worst thing and one that can hangars because i will oppose if it vigorously, and so will many others, is take the entire

Mary Landrieu

3:57:45 to 3:58:05( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: amount of the dirth, the disaster emergency fund, out of the homeland security budget because then you put the country in a position that you're underfunding planning for the future, lowering your defenses against real terrorist attacks that could potentially happen to the country because you're

Mary Landrieu

3:58:06 to 3:58:27( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: funding for disaster levels that were completely un-- we were unable to plan for them, for obvious reasons. so we cannot undermine the security of our nation. we cannot undermine and weaken the entire homeland department -- department's budget, because of an unusual natural occurrence

Mary Landrieu

3:58:28 to 3:58:48( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: of which we have no control over and no foreknowledge of. now there may be other solutions that i haven't thought of. another would be very helpful if the president himself, knowing these numbers -- they come from his own executive agencie agencies who are tabulating these numbers -- for him to send an emergency supplemental.

Mary Landrieu

3:58:49 to 3:59:10( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: i have sent him several letters requesting that he send to the congress an emergency supplemental to cover this gap. if he doesn't or does not do that, congress itself has the power to act, and i will be making a recommendation to -- in appropriations committee to fill this gap.

Mary Landrieu

3:59:11 to 3:59:31( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: but what is not acceptable is to try to absorb this entire gap in the homeland security budget, which will leave our country in a very weakened position in terms of preparing for future disasters and potential terrorist attacks. might i remind everyone that hurricane season just started june 1. it's now june 15.

Mary Landrieu

3:59:32 to 3:59:52( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: we're 15 days into hurricane season. we don't know what the season will bring. and there may be other alternatives to closing this gap. but it is very, very important. i'm going to start work on this vigorously with my ranking member, senator coats, to see what we can recommend

Mary Landrieu

3:59:53 to 4:00:13( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: potentially jointly together.s and if not, i would hope that every senator -- and again i would like to put this chart up. this would be just about every senator, senators from washington to texas to nebraska to north carolina to florida to georgia, arizona.

Mary Landrieu

4:00:14 to 4:00:36( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: montana will be green shortly and so will vermont because there are disasters underway. if you put your thinking caps on, because we need to come up with a way to fund these disasters, and it's going to be a big challenge as we start our appropriations process. i'm going to submit more technical information to the record. but again, we don't have magic

Mary Landrieu

4:00:37 to 4:00:58( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: wands and crystal balls in the department of homeland security. we have a lot of tools there to protect our country and to build after disasters. but magic wands and crystal balls are not available. so we have to come up with a way to close this gap that makes sense, and i trust over the next couple of weeks and months we'll be able to do that. mr. president, i yield the floor

Mary Landrieu

4:00:59 to 4:01:05( Edit History Discussion )

Mary Landrieu: and quorum. the presiding officer: the

Personal tools

MetaVid is a non-profit project of UC Santa Cruz and the Sunlight Foundation. Learn more About MetaVid

The C-SPAN logo and other servicemarks that may be found in video content are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of these trademark holders are affiliated with Metavid