By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
A United States Senator from Kansas is frustrated that a disaster aid package, which would provide assistance to flood victims, has stalled in Congress.
But, Sen. Jerry Moran says presidential politics might help.
Moran, a Republican, says Midwestern flooding which has caused at least three billion dollars in damage has gotten the attention of many in Washington, especially those with aspirations for the White House.
“There are people now who are paying attention to this legislation that makes it more likely that we can get it done,” Moran tells St. Joseph Post. “And, again, in a presidential year, Republicans and Democrats, those who want to be president and those who are president, need to be paying attention to the Midwest.”
Moran points out presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, attended a Senate public hearing on flood damage held in Iowa, where she was campaigning. Gillibrand is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee which held the hearing in Glenwood, Iowa, just across the river from Omaha.
Moran attended the hearing after touring flood damage in northeast Kansas.
Moran contends the Corps doesn’t prioritize flood control in its management of the Missouri River. Also, Moran believes the Corps cares a bit more about the northern Missouri River basin at the expense of the southern portion.
“From Gavin’s Point up on the South Dakota border south, it seems that that’s not a priority,” Moran says. “The lakes and reservoirs that hold the water are in South and North Dakota. Those are clearly important, but when we appropriate money for flood control in the Missouri River basin, places like Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas cannot be forgotten.”
Moran says it appears more pressure is being applied to the Corps to change the master manual which guides how it manages the Missouri River.
Moran says flooding, which has caused at least three billion dollars in damage, might not be over this year.
“Last time we had major floods like this they occurred in the summer months. What that means is that we have a lot of water already here and yet spring rains and snow melt are yet to occur and we need to make certain the Corps is doing everything they can in managing the reservoirs and controlling the release of water to get water downstream before more water comes in the next weeks and months.”
The hearing focused on how the Corps of Engineers manages the river and whether the master manual which guides operation of the Missouri River upstream dams should be changed in wake of the 1993, 2011, and 2019 floods.