Delegation Announces Agreement on $400 Million in CDBG Funding for Disaster Recovery

WASHINGTON - Senators John Hoeven and Kent Conrad and Congressman Rick Berg today announced that the Joint U.S. House-Senate Conference Committee has approved $400 million in disaster Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for North Dakota and other states that have experienced severe natural disasters this year. This conference agreement on the FY 2012 Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science, Transportation/Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Appropriations Bill now heads to the House and Senate floors for final consideration before being sent to the President for signature. 

The disaster CDBG funding approved by the committee today was first added to the Transportation and HUD Appropriations bill in an amendment introduced by Senator Hoeven during consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee, on which he serves. Hoeven also served on the conference committee that negotiated the funding in the final version of the bill approved today. During a difficult conference negotiation, Senators Hoeven and Conrad and Congressman Berg worked with their respective party and appropriations committee leadership to win approval for this critical disaster funding.  

“On the conference committee, I wanted to make sure we secured the $400 million in my amendment to help with housing after the terrible flooding our state has faced this year,” Senator Hoeven said. “I appreciate the work of Senator Conrad and Congressman Berg in support of this effort.” 

"I want to thank Senate Majority Leader Reid and subcommittee chair Patty Murray for supporting my request for this funding,” said Senator Conrad. “Senator Hoeven and I worked through the weekend in repeated calls to get this done. It is important to Minot and North Dakota." 

“As North Dakotans work to recover and rebuild from this year’s unprecedented flooding, it’s critical that they have the support they need.  I’ve pressed the House leadership to ensure that disaster relief is a top priority, and I appreciate Senators Hoeven and Conrad’s work to do the same in the Senate. While there is still much work to do, the CDBG disaster funds approved today will provide North Dakotans with valuable aid to help with recovery efforts throughout our state.”

 Senators Conrad and Hoeven successfully pushed for the funding to be targeted specifically to the most impacted states, such as North Dakota. 

The delegation is also working to maximize federal disaster assistance funding for flood victims in North Dakota through other federal programs, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and FEMA Individual and Public Assistance. Based on state damage estimates, the federal government will provide nearly $1 billion in assistance to North Dakota communities impacted by this year’s flooding. 

The delegation is continuing to work with federal agencies to make sure they are responsive to North Dakota’s recovery needs and that appropriate mitigation efforts for future disasters are being taken. Senator Hoeven has introduced legislation called the FEMA Common Sense and Cost Effectiveness Act that would allow FEMA and the Corps to build permanent dikes on flood-prone properties acquired by FEMA with HMGP funding after a flood event. Current law requires the Corps to remove dikes constructed on properties in areas bought out with HMGP funds, resulting in less protection for homeowners and greater expense to taxpayers.