Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today reflected on the last year following the historic derecho that swept through Iowa; the resiliency that Iowans demonstrated, how communities came together to support neighbors.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been one year since the devastating derecho hit families, businesses, schools and farms across Iowa. Last year’s derecho was the most costly inland weather disaster in U.S. history. As your senator, I’m here to make sure that our communities come back stronger than ever. Most recently, I secured agriculture funding in the Senate Appropriations bill to include aid for those affected by the derecho. States hit by coastal hurricanes have access to this aid, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be available for Iowans recovering from an inland hurricane. I’m fighting for this funding and won’t stop until it’s across the finish line so Iowa farmers qualify for the disaster relief they deserve. If you have any problems you need help resolving with the federal government, I’m here to help. So please call,” Grassley said.
After the storm, Grassley toured affected communities while on his annual 99 county meeting tour. Grassley visited Cedar Rapids, which has some of the most severe damage. In Cedar Rapids, he spoke with local residents who were hit by the storm, met with city officials to discuss their recovery efforts and visited a local nonprofit to help with their disaster response and donate food and bottled water.
Grassley then led the Iowa Congressional delegation in urging President Trump to expedite the review and support Gov. Kim Reynolds’ request for a major disaster declaration. Shortly after the derecho, Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) participated in a roundtable discussion with 20 nonprofit leaders and the Cedar Rapids Community Foundation in Cedar Rapids to thank them and learn about their ongoing response efforts. The local nonprofits helped with key recovery challenges including housing, case management, mental health, volunteer coordination, food access and legal assistance.
Grassley and Ernst introduced legislation, the Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, to provide relief to Iowans impacted by the derecho. The bipartisan legislation was signed into law in January, 2021 and provides tax relief to individuals, families and small businesses in presidentially declared disaster areas, including those impacted by the derecho that devastated parts of the state.
As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley, along with Ernst, called on the U.S. Department of Commerce to lift Section 232 tariffs on any steel that will be used in Iowa’s recovery from the derecho, especially for steel that can be used for rebuilding grain bins and machine sheds. The Iowa senators also called on the federal government to investigate possible price-gouging and scams related to the derecho. In a letter to the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, they urged the departments to ensure these kinds of fraudulent actions do not further aggravate the suffering of Iowans. Grassley and Ernst also urged the USDA to provide additional support to farmers affected by the storm.