ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - President Donald Trump signed into law Thursday disaster relief funding for Georgia and other Southern states devastated last fall by Hurricane Michael.
The president signed the bill while in France attending observances of the 75th anniversary of the Allied offensive of Normandy during World War II.
Just signed Disaster Aid Bill to help Americans who have been hit by recent catastrophic storms. So important for our GREAT American farmers and ranchers. Help for GA, FL, IA, NE, NC, and CA. Puerto Rico should love President Trump. Without me, they would have been shut out! pic.twitter.com/HXvYYdcNW5— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2019
The signing comes after Congress delayed passing the bill for weeks, first when Democrats wanted more funding for Puerto Rico hurricane relief and then when single Republican congressman wanted full votes on the measure.
Both of Georgia’s U.S. Senators who have blasted Congress for failing to pass the measure quickly praised the president for signing the bill Thursday.
“I am so grateful that the disaster relief that Georgia farmers and millions of Americans have been waiting on for so long is finally coming,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, (R), Georgia. “I’ve spent most of this year pressing for action, and I thank President Trump and everyone who worked to see this through. I am hopeful that this aid will be expedited to reach those who need it quickly so that Georgians can get the relief they need to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.”
“Today, President Trump fulfilled his promise to help Georgia farmers and communities rebuild after Hurricane Michael’s devastation,” said Sen David Perdue, (R), Georgia. “Finally, Americans who were ravaged by historic floods, wildfires, and hurricanes across 12 states have certainty for the immediate future. I want to thank Senator Isakson, Governor Brian Kemp, Commissioner Gary Black, and the entire Georgia delegation for their diligent work in getting this assistance across the finish line. While it should not have taken eight months to pass this disaster relief package, this will serve as a learning experience for both sides of the aisle. Disaster relief should never be a partisan issue. The American people need to know that we will have their backs in times of need.”
The measure also drew praise from the Georgia State Capitol, where Governor Kemp has urged Congress for weeks to put politics aside and get help to farmers.
At a Thursday afternoon news conference, Gov. Kemp told reporters, "The process to get to this point has taken far too long, but thanks to the tireless efforts of the Georgia congressional delegation and the president's support, our farm families can breathe a bit easier today. It's now time to focus on rebuilding livelihoods devastated by Hurricane Michael and ensuring these hardworking Georgians have a bright, prosperous future."
Gov. Kemp, Senator Perdue, U.S. Agriculture Secretary, and former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, and Congressmen Sanford Bishop and Austin Scott will meet with Georgia farmers at a roundtable Friday morning in Doerun, Georgia, to talk about what farmers have been through and how the measure will help them.
The $19.1 billion disaster relief package includes $3 billion to provide critical agriculture disaster relief for farmers recovering in the wake of Hurricane Michael, along with additional funds for communities in Georgia and other states.
On May 23, Isakson and Perdue secured the Senate’s approval of disaster funding for Georgia, which was devastated by Hurricane Michael last October. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation on June 3.
President Trump signed the disaster relief legislation during his trip abroad. Earlier today, Isakson joined the president at an official ceremony at the American Cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.