Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued the following statement after the Senate approved $36.5 billion in emergency funding for wildfire and hurricane relief:
“As California begins to rebuild after the most destructive wildfires in state history, these emergency funds are a good start to help communities recover. More importantly, this aid package represents the best of America, our ability to come together and help each other in times of need.
“At the height of this month’s wildfires, 21 separate fires were burning in California. The fires killed 42 people, scorched more than 245,000 acres and destroyed more than 8,400 homes and buildings. The stories of families losing everything are heartbreaking.
“The bill includes $18.7 billion for FEMA’s disaster relief program, which provides individual assistance for wildfire and hurricane victims, and $576 million to support federal wildfire prevention programs. The bill also includes $16 billion for hurricane flood insurance claims and $1.3 billion specifically for food aid to Puerto Rico.
“This disaster relief package will provide a down payment on California’s wildfire recovery efforts, but we still don’t know the full cost of the fires. As damage assessments are completed, California will need additional funding in the next disaster relief package. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to make sure full funding is included for all Californians recovering from these disasters.
“The recent fires also made it clear we desperately need to fix the federal government’s approach to wildfire funding. That’s why I’m working with Senator Wyden to pass the bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which would allow the federal government to better prepare for and fight catastrophic wildfires.
“With temperatures soaring into the triple digits and dry winds continuing to blow, this fire season is far from over. We must take action now to help those who need it and to prepare for the future.”