When I landed in Washington last week I had one priority: immediate relief for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. After witnessing the devastation first hand, I told my colleagues in Congress what Texans already knew — it’s time to put politics aside and get this done.
Following the incredible example set by Americans across the country, members of the House and Senate united. In less than a week, we overwhelmingly passed more than $15 billion in initial disaster relief. Half keeps FEMA relief coming, the rest will help our communities begin to rebuild.
It’s a good and timely start, but recovery from Harvey will take months, even years. As we take stock, mend our wounds and start to rebuild, some of us even have to say goodbye to those we lost. We will get through this together. I will be working every day to make sure Washington hears our voice.
Throughout this disaster President Trump, Governor Abbott, leaders at the national and local level have demonstrated what we can accomplish when we work together. President Trump has been to Texas twice. I met with him in Austin, he called me at home during the flooding and I met with him just last week at the White House. He is committed to our full recovery.
The response to Hurricane Harvey has been a testament to American resilience.
Weren’t the emergency responders, local rescues and shelters at churches and centers heroic and inspiring? I watched our Army reservists, National Guardsmen and local volunteers rescue 200 fragile seniors fleeing a flooded nursing home in Beaumont. I saw many similar acts of selfless sacrifice and heroism first hand in Walker County, San Jacinto, Grimes, Montgomery and north Harris County.
I am so proud of my own son Will who with his friends joined boat caravans from Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana and other states to rescue our neighbors from their flooded homes.
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This hasn’t been just Texans helping Texans. Nearly every state sent help. Volunteers like the Cajun Navy and so many others from across the nation responded. New York Democrat Congressman Tom Suozzi collected and drove truckloads of supplies to Texas. Thank you, America, we couldn’t have done it without you.
When the story of Hurricane Harvey is eventually written, it will be remembered as one of the worst disasters to hit our country, but it will also hopefully be remembered for the historic way in which the national, state and local governments responded. By working hand-in-glove with local and national volunteers, Texans made the very best of a very bad situation.
It was just 16 years ago this week that New York City and Washington, D.C. suffered the worst terrorist attack in American history. All emotions rise to the surface when we reflect on the first responders who rushed toward the danger and on those courageous, everyday Americans on a hijacked plane bound for our nation's capital who fought back.
Just as New York City rebuilt, so too will we rebuild from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. We will survive. We will rebuild. And we will be stronger than ever because that is just what Texans — what Americans — do.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.