Last week's Senate decision to postpone action on getting flood-relief funding to our state was a slap in the face for many Iowans. Homes sit destroyed on their foundations, and water marks stain windows and doors - eerie reminders of one of the most substantial disasters in state history. Businesses across the state are like ghost towns, many of them gutted. Countless Iowans remain displaced from the places they once called home, with normalcy likely to be absent for some time as well. And with Senate leaders postponing the flood-relief bill until early September, it becomes clear how desperately Iowans need the assistance this bill would offer.
"We are deeply disappointed by, and strongly disagree with, the Senate's decision to delay consideration of the supplemental appropriations bill, which could have provided much needed disaster relief to Iowans," said Gov. Chet Culver and Lt. Governor Patty Judge in a statement. Also in the statement, both officials promise not to stop fighting for Iowans.
The time has come for those affected by the flood to get the help they deserve. And this assistance will never become a reality until the disasters in Iowa are taken seriously. Iowans need these relief funds to begin rebuilding their lives again. That fact is simply not debatable.
It is difficult to imagine how much damage floodwaters can do unless they have been experienced firsthand. Many people might assume that once the floodwaters recede, the trouble is over. But as Iowans have all seen, once the floodwaters receded, the damage was far from done. The problems were just beginning. Only as the water went down were Iowans able to see how much work there was to be done and how much work still needs to be completed.
Iowans have received slight compensation for their losses, and it isn't enough. There are houses to be rebuilt, businesses that need to be put back on their feet, seeds that need to be planted, and individuals looking for one little shred of hope that normality may soon return. Iowans have come together through it all brilliantly, both during pre-flood sandbagging and post-flood cleanup. And patiently, state residents have waited for the day when rebuilding all that was lost could become a possibility. That day is today. There should be no more delays in flood relief. Iowa is ready to rebuild. And Senate leaders should be more than willing to offer this flood relief without hesitation or postponement so that the relief efforts may be fully accounted for.
This funding should have been of paramount priority to our leaders in Washington, but they let us down. A full assessment of the financial situation was needed to go into this rebuilding process, but Iowa officials are now left with an incomplete idea of how to go about dispensation of funds. Murky waters didn't wait for Iowans to fully prepare, but now we must wait for the calendar to read September before Congress does its duty.