Devastating floods in Texas. Storm surge and mammoth power outages in Florida.
Over the past three weeks, America has witnessed catastrophic destruction caused by two major hurricanes. Like you, I am saddened by the tragic impact and continue to pray for those whose lives have been torn apart.
For many in North Carolina, the scenes of devastation are frighteningly familiar. We are approaching the one year anniversary of Hurricane Matthew, which destroyed nearly 100,000 homes and 20,000 businesses, while inflicting $4.8 billion in damage. Despite FEMA’s immediate disaster relief effort, recovery is far from over. Thousands of hardworking North Carolinians are still waiting for long-term disaster assistance. That is precisely why in early August, I worked with HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson to secure $32 million for housing redevelopment, business support, and infrastructure repair in North Carolina.
However, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, FEMA froze all national disaster recovery funding and diverted it to Texas to provide urgent, life-saving support. These diverted resources included nearly $110 million that had been pledged to projects in North Carolina. The same FEMA protocol kicked in on Friday following Hurricane Irma.
Last week, I joined President Trump in supporting legislation which provides $15 billion in disaster relief funding based on initial needs following Harvey. Ultimately, this legislation also ensures North Carolina receives the full disaster assistance already promised.
As your member of Congress, I work for you and advocate for your needs in Washington. Since last October, we have helped secure more than $1 billion in disaster recovery assistance for North Carolina, but today some North Carolina families are still living in FEMA trailers. The real needs are great, and so I had a responsibility to vote for Mr. Trump’s legislation.
Unfortunately, various groups have decided to exploit recent disasters for political gain. Partisan sniping and political gamesmanship is counterproductive, fails to achieve anything, and destroys the people’s trust in government. When disaster strikes, the people expect their representatives to roll up their sleeves and get to work on their behalf, which is why I was on scene in Robeson, Bladen, and Cumberland counties when Interstate 95 was still underwater. We have made significant progress, and I am committed to seeing the job through. In fact, next week I’ll be meeting with FEMA and the Office of Management and Budget to continue advocating on behalf of constituents recovering from Hurricane Matthew.
The choice was clear. Thousands of my constituents are still in line for long-term recovery assistance, and so I stood with President Trump to ensure those needs are met.
On Wednesday, President Trump took decisive action to protect America’s national security from a threat few recognize.
Last year, a Chinese-backed company announced plans to purchase Lattice Semiconductor, the third-largest American producer of a critical technology for U.S. military applications. Giving China control over this technology posed a significant national security threat, and so I wrote a letter to then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, co-signed by a bipartisan coalition of 21 additional members of Congress, urging that the deal be blocked.
The president of the United States has the authority to block this type of deal, but to be honest, I was unsure if President Obama would do the right thing. Following my initial letter last December, I’ve remained active leading bipartisan efforts to highlight the dangers of this proposed transaction.
Last week, President Trump supported my efforts and acted to protect America’s national security by officially blocking the Chinese takeover of a critical U.S. military supplier. Although the mainstream media might ignore it, rest assured that as your congressman, vice chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, and chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, I am hard at work fighting for America’s national security.
Robert Pittenger represents the 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes all of Robeson County.