Congressman Al Green and Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia Issue Joint Statement in Response to the Texas General Land Office Letter and the Office's Absence During the Congressional Inquiry

Jun 12, 2021

(Houston, TX) — Today, Congressman Al Green (TX-09), Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29) issued the following  statement regarding the letter sent by the Texas General Land Office and the office’s absence during the inquiry:

"I was deeply disappointed by Commissioner Bush's failure to appear at the Congressional inquiry held yesterday and instead choosing to send a letter signed by his staff. His failures speak volumes of his response to the families of Houston and Harris County who are still hurting and were hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey almost four years ago," said Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29). "I've been watching dollars since I was a city Controller, a County Commissioner, and a State Senator. I've been through many storms and many disasters, but this is the first time that any formula, any matrix, or any guideline would result in the city of Houston and Harris County getting zero dollars in recovery aid. Houston and Harris County were at the epicenter of Hurricane Harvey, and they deserve their fair and equitable share of the money allocated by Congress. We urge Commissioner Bush to resubmit a supplemental plan to HUD by June 30 so that Houston and Harris County families can finally recover and prepare for future threats."

"I regret greatly that Commissioner Bush did not appear to represent the General Land Office at the June 11, 2021 Houston, Texas inquiry; however, his absence and the letters we received from GLO after the inquiry had begun confirmed the need for such an inquiry” said Congressman Al Green (TX-09). “Without question, we must now submit our summary of findings to HUD and the U.S. Congress. While we desire to have Mr. Bush submit an equitable allocation plan to HUD, we must prepare for the eventuality of him not doing so. Houston and Harris County were among the areas most devastated, if not the most devastated, impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  All who are suffering need equitable assistance, including Houston and Harris County. The fate of our constituents is in the hands of one man as they continue to suffer."

BACKGROUND

On Jun 11, Congressman Al Green (TX-09), Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), along with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), launched an inquiry on the to uncover the adverse impact of the Texas General Land Office’s (GLO) initial denial and inequitable allocation of aid funds to Houston/Harris County. The inquiry was attended by Houston and Harris County elected local officials: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Harris County Commissioners Rodney Ellis (Pct. 1) and Adrian Garcia (Pct. 2), and Houston City Council Members Abbie Kamin, Tarsha Jackson, and David Robinson. The Texas General Land Office was absent during the inquiry.

On May 27th, members held a joint press conference calling on the GLO to equitably distribute mitigation dollars for communities across the City of Houston and Harris County that are all too frequently impacted by flood disasters.