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Statement on Signing a Disaster Assistance Supplemental Appropriations Bill.

August 20, 1972

IT GIVES me special satisfaction today to sign H.R. 16254, the last of the three emergency measures I recommended to the Congress in mid-July for relief and recovery in areas devastated by Tropical Storm Agnes and by the flooding of Rapid City, S. Dak.

On August 3 I signed H.R. 15950 covering reconstruction of highways. On August 16 I signed H.R. 15692 providing major changes in the disaster loan terms and assistance to private nonprofit educational institutions. These measures, together with existing laws, provided the needed authorities to cope with the massive effort of relief and recovery that is now underway.

H.R. 16254 adds the necessary additional funds to go with those already being used to give financial substance to the programs now authorized. This supplemental appropriation totals almost $1.6 billion, the largest single appropriation for a disaster relief in our history. The lion's share of the funds--some $1.3 billion-are for disaster loans to help the victims rebuild their homes, restore their farms, and reopen their businesses. Some $500 million is added to almost $300 million already available in my Disaster Relief Fund to rebuild and restore public facilities, to provide temporary housing, and for other authorized relief programs. Smaller but also important amounts are provided for repair and accelerated flood prevention work by the Corps of Engineers and for recovery projects through the Economic Development Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The needed authorities are in place, and the added financial resources are now available. We have in hand the necessary Federal tools to continue the enormous undertaking of recovery in concert with the people and the local and State governments. We must also continue the hard work of all to use these tools wisely, quickly, and well.

The job yet ahead requires persistence, courage, and cooperation. I know the citizens of the badly damaged communities have all of these. I am determined that the Federal officials responsible for implementing the Federal relief and recovery programs will match them. I have and will continue to keep in close touch with these efforts. My personal representative to the Pennsylvania disaster area--Frank Carlucci, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget-reports to me that the Federal programs have gained momentum and progress is evident on all fronts. With everyone working together--with the determined spirit of the people, leadership from State and local government, and effective use of Federal programs now provided by the Congress--I am convinced that the hard-hit communities can be brought back better than ever.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 16554 is Public Law 92-393 (86 Stat. 576).

On August 12, 1972, the President had directed Frank C. Carlucci to go to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., to take personal charge of Federal disaster relief activities.

On July 1, the White House released an announcement of the signing of H.J. Res. 1238 (Public Law 92-337), providing an additional $200 million for the President's Disaster Relief Fund. Funds were included for areas damaged by Tropical Storm Agnes. The announcement is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 1123).

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing a Disaster Assistance Supplemental Appropriations Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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