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Four Months On, a Fight for First Serious Hurricane Supplemental

Dec. 18, 2017 (EIRNS)—Politico reported late today that the House will take up an $81 billion supplemental budget for hurricane reconstruction this week. Though having confirmation of the amount from sources on the House Appropriations Committee, the paper had no further details. The difference between the $55 billion EIR had learned of last week, and the $81 billion figure reported now, may simply reflect the addition of funding for Puerto Rico’s desperately needed infrastructure reconstruction.

The Congress, after stalling the White House’ most recent $44 billion supplemental request for the hurricane-hit states and territories for more than a month—seriously slowing down the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response in Texas, in particular—now appears to have nearly doubled it. There is no certainty this supplemental will pass, but there will be a fight for it, because bipartisan groups of Texas and Florida legislators have determined to refuse to vote to fund the government beyond Dec. 22, unless such a supplemental is passed. It is unknown whether the Republican Congressional leadership will push passage before the end of the year, nor whether groups in Congress will demand "offset" cuts.

At this point, nearly four months after the deadly hurricanes which wreaked an estimated $200 billion in damages and destroyed wealth in seven states and territories, it is far too late for merely $37 billion to have been allocated for recovery.

Constantly recalled is the Houston Chronical op-ed days after the storms, "What Would Jesse Jones Do?" It described Franklin Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) as the institution fit to provide credit both for immediate recovery measures, and for the building of the storm-protection and water management infrastructure which had been neglected, causing the loss of life, light, shelter, livelihoods and wealth.

The United States has not had a national credit institution for 70 years since the RFC. Now it urgently needs the Hamiltonian national bank proposed in Lyndon LaRouche’s "Four Laws to Save the Nation" in 2014.