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Public Papers - 1989

Remarks on Signing a Bill Making Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1990, Including Hurricane Hugo Disaster Assistance

1989-09-29

The President. I'm very pleased to sign into law H.R. 407. [H.J. Res. 407] It's a continuing resolution. It includes funds to address the extensive hurricane damage caused by Hugo. It provides funds to maintain the activities of the Federal Government through October 25th or until the date of the enactment of the pending appropriations bill, whichever comes first. We're talking here about .1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Association [Agency], FEMA, to provide critically needed disaster relief to Charleston, other communities in South Carolina, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Assistance is imperative because I've heard from these Congressmen, all politics aside, united, that this assistance for the people is absolutely essential. And I want to commend the Congress for their immediate response to the administration's request for additional funds. I want to thank FEMA for what I am convinced has been, under the law, a prompt response. And I especially want to single out the volunteers and the FEMA employees, many of whom have been sleeping out there on rocks at night in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere. And it's been an all-out humanitarian effort, the leaders of the Congress being sure that we in the administration knew the importance of all of this.

So, I'm delighted to do it. I'd add one point, and that is on the subject of continuing resolutions. I'm very pleased to sign this one, but we cannot support another short-term continuing resolution for fiscal '90. And I expect that the remaining '90 appropriations bills will be completed expeditiously. But I strongly urge that we not be presented with other continuing resolutions.

But in any event, I'm proud to be going down there. I'm anxious to see what these Members of Congress have seen and what our very able friends in FEMA have seen. And it's important that we all try to respond in every way possible. I might thank one more: It's the volunteer organizations, for doing a good job. And I would encourage the American people to support them in contributions to the Red Cross, or whatever other agencies are bringing hope to the people in these devastated areas. The American people can do as much as the government, if not more, if we just get mobilized behind helping other people here.

So, I'm proud to sign this one. Again, I'm glad you're all here. Strom [Senator Strom Thurmond], you're the senior citizen present here -- --

Senator Thurmond. I'm the one that requested the delegation to do this, and I do appreciate it.

The President. We've been hearing from all of them, but anyway, you have been -- I wouldn't say ``thorn in our side'' -- [laughter] -- I'd say a consistent reminder.

Senator Thurmond. I deal with Dick Darman [Director, Office of Management and Budget], you know.

The President. That's pretty much combat pay deserved for that, too. [Laughter]

But, really, all of you have been just magnificent in pointing out what FEMA can do. We want to respond if there are additional things on the ground that we should be doing. But I'm satisfied from a long talk with the Governor yesterday down in Virginia that we have responded as rapidly as possible under the law. And now we want to do whatever it is that you hear from your experts is needed in addition. And I hope this is a good start.

Senator Thurmond. Mr. President, since I am the senior member of the delegation, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for your fine leadership and also thank you for the help that your government agencies have done to assist us in this disaster.

The President. Well, thank you, Strom. Thank all of you guys. Good. Here we go.

Note: The President spoke at 6:40 a.m. aboard Air Force One en route to Charleston, S.C. H.J. Res. 407, approved September 29, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 100. A tape was not available for verification of the contents of the remarks.

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