U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy said on Tuesday he hoped additional funds could be allocated to southwest Louisiana to help with ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricanes Delta and Laura, as part of a potential ongoing resolution associated with it. to a provisional budget agreement which should be signed in late December or early January.
Cassidy said on a teleconference with members of the media that when it comes to the budget deal, there is “a lot of interest” in Hurricane Ida relief throughout the state, but he does pressure to include relief for Laura and Delta.
“I am cautiously optimistic that we will definitely take care of Ida and continue to push for Laura and Delta as well,” he said.
Ongoing discussions of budget concerns and President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill have taken up much of the Senate discussion time of late, and Cassidy has expressed frustration that those talks have put more issues, including the National Defense Authorization Act essentially “on the back burner” as its deadline draws near.
“In 60 years, this is one of the last years that Congress failed to pass the National Defense Authorization Act,” Cassidy said.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 provides $ 73 million for military bases in Louisiana, including Fort Polk and Barksdale Air Force Base. The bill would allocate $ 25 million to Fort Polk to build an information systems facility. An additional $ 48 million has been set aside to fund construction work on the Barksdale Gateway structure, which would help advance the base’s plans to build a weapons storage facility of nearly $ 300 million.
The legislation hit a snag on Monday as partisan disputes prevented the bill from moving forward. An effort to end debate and move the bill forward failed to secure the 60 votes needed to move the bill to the president’s desk.
While Cassidy has said he has successfully crossed partisan lines and is working with key Democrats to craft amendments that will strengthen the NDAA, some partisan minds have been counterproductive to the bill’s final acceptance. .
“We all understand that a key responsibility of the federal government is national defense, and that should be something that is not partisan at all,” Cassidy said.
“But at some point it becomes partisan and when it gets caught up in partisan politics it doesn’t benefit our country. We kind of need a cure for America; we have to move beyond partisanship just for the sake of partisanship so that we can start doing the core function of what government should be doing. And this is a great example of that.