Summary: Today, Speaker Ryan joined other House leaders to discuss the House’s efforts to fund Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas and Louisiana.
“I first want to thank our colleagues in Texas and their delegation—both Republicans and Democrats—for their leadership. It’s been really something to watch. It’s really been impressive.
“When this all started to unfold, they were reaching out to express the urgency of the situation—I mean, 52 inches of rain. This is something we’ve never seen before. And so they made it clear to us just how vast this problem was. And as soon as we finish here, the House will take action—as Kevin just said—on [the first] installment on this. We will not leave until this is done.
“Nothing can really capture just how big and wide this devastation is. You hear a lot of numbers. Tens of thousands of people in shelters. Hundreds of thousands of homes damaged. Nothing can really capture this.
“You turn on the TV in America today—you look at all the vitriol, you look at the bitterness, you look at rioting and all the rest of this—you begin to wonder whether or not our civil society is holding together. This hurricane shows that it is. This shows that our civil society is still very, very civil.
“An email went around Janesville, Wisconsin, to the various churches and schools, and we wanted to fill up one semi-trailer at Farm and Fleet, with a business named Hufcor to send some aid down to the J.J. Watt Foundation—a local hero, plays for the Houston Texans. And, the next day, when we all collected stuff at our kids’ schools, we didn’t fill one semi-trailer, we filled nine. That’s just in Janesville, Wisconsin. Getting aid down to Houston.
“And so, what I think is a good story out of all of this is, in this country, citizens—when they see other citizens in need, they step up and they answer the call. And so, it is something that we should take stock in and encouragement from.
“Now we—government—have a responsibility as well. And as the majority leader said, technology is a good thing, and it’s helping us, but what it’s also doing is it’s moving money very fast through the system as it should. And that is why we will not leave until we get this done to make sure that the response is there.
“We’ve got another hurricane right now—Hurricane Irma—headed to our shores, and it’s critical that we act immediately.
“So, for now, we’ve got to make sure we team up with our first responders. We are really encouraged and heartened by the people grabbing their boats and going and rescuing their citizens. By people all around America sending aid. And with one more hurricane—one with 185 MPH winds—hitting our shores again, those people in that line are in our thoughts and our prayers.
“So I think it’s really important that we take stock of the fact that civil society in America is well and alive, it is on display. Citizens are helping each other, and the government will be there to respond to the needs of these people who have faced this unprecedented devastation.”