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Letter: Impressive effort to fight floods

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I want to commend Minnesota's communities affected by flooding this spring for their extraordinary flood fighting efforts. Spring flooding presents enormous challenges to these communities more often than they would like to see.

Last weekend I was in Granite Falls, Montevideo, Moorhead, Oslo, East Grand Forks, and Breckenridge talking to folks and meeting with local officials about flood preparations and the upcoming challenges they face as the water recedes.

The preventive efforts made this year were truly impressive. I spent the weekend learning about the planning and work required to protect their communities and their plans for future, permanent flood protection. I took away two things from being in these areas: an incredible sense of community solidarity in tackling the challenges that flooding presents and the knowledge these areas need permanent flood protection. I am determined to make sure we are doing all we can on a federal level to help these communities through clean-up from flood preparation efforts this year and to prepare for future flood protection.

Right now, Congress needs to appropriate supplemental funding for FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund. FEMA has said they are reserving their remaining disaster relief funds for immediate needs until we appropriate the supplemental funding. Last week, the president issued a disaster declaration allowing FEMA to provide federal assistance to communities affected by flooding. I have contacted the FEMA administrator urging him to exhaust all available options while Congress approves the president's request of $5.1 billion in supplemental funding for the Disaster Relief Fund.

I will continue to support my efforts on this or any other bill on the Senate floor to approve this $5.1 billion in supplemental funding.

Once again, I commend Minnesota communities for their flood fighting efforts this year. It is a truly remarkable testament to the strength and resilience of the people who face flooding challenges each spring. As the ice melts and the flooding persists, I will continue to fight to get federal funding out to these communities to make sure we are doing all we can to support them during their clean-up efforts and assist them in their efforts to prevent future floods.

Sen. Al Franken

Minnesota

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