Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) on Tuesday toured areas in the Northeast devastated by Hurricane Sandy and left with the impression that it is now "time for the federal government to provide immediate relief to those affected by the storm," the Gulf Coast lawmaker said in a statement.
Palazzo has taken heat nationally and at home for his vote against a bill providing $9.7 billion to cover insurance claims for people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy, despite making a fervent appeal for federal dollars following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In a statement provided to TPM last week explaining his vote, a spokeswoman for Palazzo said he is receptive to a Sandy aid bill that includes spending offsets and that he hopes for a "national discussion on disaster relief reform."
But in his statement on Tuesday, Palazzo said his colleagues now have his "unwavering commitment in advocating for the next round of assistance to be considered in Congress,” while calling for no spending offsets. The House of Representatives will take up a larger $51 billion Sandy relief bill next week.
From the statement:
"I came to the Northeast today to see firsthand the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and to meet with my colleagues about securing immediate relief and assistance for those suffering from the storm. I was saddened to see the hard-hit portions of New Jersey and New York. I was reminded of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Mississippians have been through much of what the Sandy victims are experiencing.
“Now is the time for the federal government to provide immediate relief to those affected by the storm. I am fully committed to providing the relief they so desperately need.
“Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy have clearly demonstrated the need to revisit reforms for disaster relief. I spoke directly with House leadership this week about achieving meaningful disaster relief reform, and I remain committed to this much-needed national discussion.“
Read the full statement, which included quotes from Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), on Palazzo's website.