New York Governor Kathy Hochul criticized the federal government for its handling of a disaster relief program in light of the recent record-breaking rain and hurricanes. Congress reached a last-minute deal to reauthorize the program and prevent a shutdown, but Hochul deemed this decision “unconscionable” and “tone-deaf.” She emphasized the need for flood insurance and disaster assistance in the face of climate change and the unpredictable weather it brings.
Hochul appeared on “Face the Nation” to express her frustration with the delay in securing the funding for the relief program. She called out the Republicans in Congress for risking the availability of flood insurance and disaster assistance until the eleventh hour. Hochul stressed the importance of acknowledging the new era of climate change and its impact on states like New York.
The bipartisan bill passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by President Biden prevented a government shutdown and reauthorized the National Flood Insurance Program. The program was set to expire on September 30, creating a potential gap in coverage. The funding included in the bill provided relief for disaster-stricken areas.
Hochul revealed that local authorities in New York were assessing the damages caused by the recent severe rain and flooding. These evaluations would determine the eligibility for FEMA reimbursement. She also highlighted the need to reassess how states and homeowners are reimbursed after catastrophic weather events, especially in the face of increasingly frequent and intense storms.
Tropical Storm Ophelia caused significant downpours and flash flooding in parts of New York. John F. Kennedy International Airport experienced record rainfall, surpassing the previous September record set during Hurricane Donna in 1960. Hochul declared a state of emergency for New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley, urging residents to stay in place.