Feds need to release storm funds

February 16, 2019 GMT

Texas has been waiting and waiting and waiting on the federal government to release more than $4 billion dedicated for Hurricane Harvey relief.

The funds are supposed to assist low-income and moderate-income Texans with repairs to their storm-damaged homes. The funds are supposed to mitigate damage when future hurricanes strike. But the funds have not been released and the next hurricane season is approaching. There is doubt the funds will be released on time.

The funds have been mired in red tape because the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have failed to establish guidelines for how these funds can be used.


U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has said he has run out of patience. “They’ve kind of run out of excuses,” he said of OMB.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush has sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to intervene. “This continued delay is resulting in homeowner distress, community degradation and increased costs to the federal government due to subsequent damaging events,” he wrote.

Bush has also testified to the Texas Senate Finance Committee that the two federal agencies blame each other for this debacle.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, has said the Texas delegation was promised the money would be released in December, but she has struggled to reach people with either agency who can explain the delay.

It’s inexcusable. Hurricane Harvey was in 2017. These funds were approved nearly a year ago. Hurricane season is almost upon us. Set guidelines, and then release these funds to assist homes and neighborhoods before the next storm hits.