Pacific Junction, Iowa - Remarks by Vice President Pence After Aerial Tour of Flood Damage:
MR. DENNIS LINCOLN: All right, I’d like to welcome everybody here to the Lincoln family farm. We’ve been on this farm for almost 110 years. Our patriarch is Dean Lincoln, standing right here. And my two brothers and all of our families are here today.
We’d like to welcome Vice President Pence and everyone else that’s here. Thank you for coming. I want to turn it over to the Governor. Thank you.
GOVERNOR REYNOLDS: Well, thank you. I appreciate it very much. And thank you so much for hosting the Vice President and Acting FEMA Director Gaynor, as well as the two senators.
I just want to start by saying how grateful I am to have the Vice President down here. We were able to do a flyover so we could see the scope and the expansion and the amount of water that’s still standing. And then to be able to have him drive down here and see firsthand the impact to the communities, the farmers, and the ag land.
And I want to give a shout-out again to our first responders, our emergency managers. They have done a herculean effort in really getting the numbers and the data, and taking care of the people on the ground in the interim. And just been very grateful to all that they’ve been able to do.
Thank you so much for the residential emergency declaration. That was a — the turnaround time on that was amazing. Again, just a very coordinated effort with the people that are gathered here today.
And we’re going to continue to work with you to streamline the process and make sure that we can take care of those impacted.
So thank you, Mr. Vice President, for being here. We so appreciate it.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Governor. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Well, to the Lincoln family, thank you for — thank you for giving us this welcome.
And I’m here on the President’s behalf to say to this family and all the families across Iowa that we’re with you, we’re going to stay with you. We’re going to work with your Governor and work with your senators until we rebuild Iowa bigger and better than ever before. (Applause.)
I want to thank Governor Reynolds for the incredible work that she’s done. We’ve seen the way her administration leaned into this effort. The fastest disaster assistance request in Iowa history. The fastest approval —
GOVERNOR REYNOLDS: Yeah.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: — of disaster assistance in Iowa history. And, Governor, thank you. (Applause.)
And we’ve very grateful, especially, for your two senators, Senator Grassley and Senator Ernst, who are with us today — who have been great champions, who have been telling Iowa’s story.
It’s remarkable to think that a month has gone by — several weeks since I had the opportunity to be in the area and to see, frankly, how much water is still here and how much devastation still exists. And I’ll carry that back, as your senators will, to leaders on Capitol Hill and call on them to come together and approve a disaster assistance bill for Iowa and Nebraska, and do it now. (Applause.)
In Iowa alone, there’s estimates — according to the Governor’s Office and according to our great team at FEMA, with our Acting Administrator, Pete Gaynor, here — there’s damages in excess of $1.6 billion. And thanks to your two senators and to Senator Richard Shelby on the Appropriations Committee, those funds were actually added to a disaster assistance bill that was considered on April the 1st.
Unfortunately, it was blocked by Democrats in the United States Senate. But hopefully, today, by coming here and helping to tell the story again of not what happened in Iowa, but was is still happening in Iowa, we’ll see people set politics aside and come together and give Iowa, Nebraska, and the Midwest and all of the states across this country the support and disaster assistance that you deserve. (Applause.)
I would say to each and every one of you, you know, Iowa is an important place, and every time there’s a presidential election coming up. (Laughter.) So if you see Senator Elizabeth Warren, if you see Senator Amy Klobuchar, if you see Senator Cory Booker and others come to Iowa asking for your vote, you ought to ask them why they voted against disaster assistance for Iowa. Okay? Because it’s time to — there will be plenty of time for politics when 2020 comes around. Right now, Iowa needs disaster assistance, and it’s time for Congress to act. (Applause.)
Let me close by just offering a word of admiration, first and foremost, to the first responders. I know we’ve got Homeland Security personnel here, but law enforcement, public safety, fire, your National Guard, it is remarkable to think, as the floodwaters rose, the winds blew and beat against the house — five feet of water in the Lincoln home — an unprecedented, historic flood — that there was so little loss of life. That is a testament to extraordinary first responders in Iowa. And they have our thanks and admiration. (Applause.)
It’s also a testament, I know, to the generous support of a charitable community. I know here, at the Lincoln Farm, the Convey of Hope was here to help you empty out your home and begin to lay a foundation to rebuild. And so, for all the church organizations and volunteer organizations that have come alongside the people of Iowa and people impacted by these floods, I just express the admiration of our President and of all the American people for everything you’ve done.
And finally, I just want to — I want to commend the people of Iowa. I mean, to see the smiles on your faces, one month after this incident, to have flown over and see how much devastation there still is on the ground, but to see that strong, resilience of the people of Iowa, this truly is the heart of the Heartland. And you have all demonstrated it in the midst of this storm.
So let me — again, I want to thank Governor Reynolds, I want to thank the Lincoln family, and I want to thank your two senators for being such tenacious champions for Iowa on Capitol Hill. I want to make you a promise that, on behalf of the President of the United States, your governor, your two senators, we’re going to get the support that Iowa needs, and we are going to rebuild all these communities and families and homes and farms bigger and better than ever before.
That’s a promise. (Applause.) So, thank you very much. God bless you all.