November 7, 2019
(Washington) — Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne is expressing concerns about disaster aid not getting to flooding victims in a timely manner.
This week, the West Des Moines Democrat sent letters to eight different federal agencies requesting detailed information on the flow of disaster dollars in Iowa. Speaking on KMA’s “Morning Line” program Thursday morning, Axne says the letters demanded answers on a number of questions.
“Number one, how much money has been distributed to Iowa?” said Axne. “Secondly, how can constituents who are still having difficulty apply? And, what is the best point of contact to make that happen? Specifically, where are we not getting the funding that we need, and how can we make that happen, as we continue to fight to get the resources that we need?”
Letters were sent to FEMA, the Small Business Administration, the USDA, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Commerce, and the EPA. Axne says the letters were sent after hearing from constituents in flood-affected areas who have yet to receive assistance. This is despite the passing of the Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 in Congress back in May.
“It’s been over five months since the disaster bill was written into law by the president,” she said. “And, it’s just unacceptable that communities and individuals still don’t have that guidance and assistance that we need to make sure that the funding gets out to the people in need.”
Axne says the delay also demonstrates the need for a better process in disseminating relief dollars.
“I was shocked to find out that, across this country, we don’t have a standard operating procedure in place,” said Axne. “So, part of getting this information will also help us create those procedures. I hate to see us having to do this on the backs of people who are trying to get what they need. But, you know, we’ve got to fix this problem, and we’re fixing it, and we’re getting money to folks, and at the same time, we’re developing a standard operating procedure so we don’t have to deal with this, again.”
Axne says she has yet to receive a response from the aforementioned agencies.
“Notoriously, it takes longer than we expect to get this information,” she said. “So, we’re going to keep pushing for this on a weekly basis to ensure that it gets to us in a timely fashion. So, we’re just hoping to get those key points of contact, the dollar amounts that we’re still waiting to see distributed, ensuring that we’ve got proper website links and relevant application information. Those are pieces of information that we’re waiting on.”
You can hear the full interview with Cindy Axne on our “Morning Line” page at kmaland.com.