Chronicle Editorial Board Says Shut Down Government Unless Congress Funds Harvey Fixes

The Houston newspaper’s editors say Congressional funding for a new reservoir and other flood-prevention and mitigation measures is so critical that it’s worth the risk of a government shutdown.

By Michael MarksDecember 7, 2017 10:35 am,

Last week at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat, addressed the need for more federal aid after Hurricane Harvey.

“We do not have the adequate resources, and this is going to be on the verge of a government shutdown if Texas and all the other victims of these hurricanes do not have a compromise where we can work together. I would encourage you to tell the president that it is not enough,” Jackson Lee told Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security.

Congress and the president must soon agree to a spending bill, otherwise the government will be unable to pay its bills and will shut down. And if Texas doesn’t receive more recovery funding, is exactly what should happen – according to the Houston Chronicle editorial board,

Evan Mintz, the board’s deputy editor, says his paper’s provocative editorial is aimed at shocking a recalcitrant Congress into action.

“We haven’t been getting the money we need to build any sort of hurricane resilience or flood prevention infrastructure after Harvey,” Mintz says. “We saw states get it after Sandy, we saw it happen after Katrina. We haven’t gotten a cent yet.”

Mintz says aid from FEMA and other agencies has arrived for survivors of the hurricane, but infrastructure funds that would allow the state and affected communities to build protective barriers and other facilities, like an “Ike dike” or a new reservoir, has not been forthcoming.

Mintz says flood-prevention experts tell him that preparation for the next disaster needs to start now.

“After a disaster, you have about a year of opportunity to make major changes,” he says. “And you can’t start half way through.”

Written by Shelly Brisbin.