Political notebook: Trump’s action conflicting with Hurricane Matthew promise?

Published 12:05 am Saturday, May 13, 2017

By Josh Bergeron 

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

Action taken so far during his time in office may conflict with a promise made in Concord by President Donald Trump.

Six months ago, Trump promised that the country would work to rebuild from damage by Hurricane Matthew, which was blamed for the deaths of more than 20 people and widespread flooding in North Carolina. Trump made the promise during a Nov. 3 campaign rally at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center.

The statement was only a small part of the Concord speech, but Trump said his administration would “take care of the people of the United States.”

“Very importantly, we will also work to rebuild from the damage, in your great state, caused by Hurricane Matthew. That was a rough one,” Trump said. “We will take care of our people.”

He moved on quickly and didn’t mention the hurricane again during the speech.

In a letter to Trump this week, Gov. Roy Cooper wrote that some families still can’t return home because of damage from the hurricane.

Cooper wrote that he was shocked and disappointed at the level of federal funding to help in the recovery from Hurricane Matthew. He said the state, with help from its congressional delegation, submitted a request for $929.4 million. So far, the state has received $6.1 million, Cooper wrote.

“Whether through an immediate supplemental spending bill or through the 2018 appropriations process, the federal government must rise to the occasion to support this recovery,” he wrote.

However, the $6 million isn’t the only federal funding that’s been spent on matters related to Hurricane Matthew, said the office of Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

Tillis’ office took a more holistic approach to describing the amount of funding. It provided a breakdown that includes money allocated in December and other items that didn’t require congressional approval. Tillis’ office estimated the total federal funding for Hurricane Matthew matters to be $751.94 million.

Cooper’s letter, however, takes issue with an additional allocation North Carolina had requested. The estimate from Tillis’ office does not include the $6 million, which North Carolina received as part of a recent continuing resolution that funds the federal government.

Local legislators vote for veto override

Rowan County’s legislators this week voted with the majority when the N.C. General Assembly chose to override a veto by Gov. Cooper.

The bill in question limits the financial reward that people who live near farming operations can receive in lawsuits. Opponents say House Bill 467 would limit the ability of people who live near hog farms to receive financial compensation for nuisance issues.

All Rowan County legislators supported the measure when it first passed through the legislature. They voted the same way after Cooper vetoed the bill.

The House voted Wednesday to override the veto by a 74-40 count. Reps. Carl Ford, R-China Grove, and Harry Warren, R-77, were in the “aye” column.

The Senate voted 30-18 Thursday to override the veto. Sens. Andrew Brock, R-Mocksville, and Tom McInnis, R-Rockingham, voted for the override.

In a previous Salisbury Post story about the bill, Brock said high financial awards in lawsuits would drive up the cost of food. Ford said his constituents expressed support for the bill. Ford said the measure protects farmers and property rights.

Following this week’s votes, H.B. 467 became law.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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