Congressmen head to Texas to review FEMA responsiveness

Congressman Gohmert accompanied McCaul to Texas
Congressman Gohmert accompanied McCaul to Texas
Michael McCaul is reviewing how responsive FEMA was to the Bastrop Fire
Michael McCaul is reviewing how responsive FEMA was to the Bastrop Fire

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Texas congressmen are touring some of the fire-stricken areas across Texas to see how the government can more effectively assist the needs of each community.

Lawmakers feel federal disaster officials are dragging their feet when it comes to providing funding for those that need it.

The congressmen make preparations for an oversight hearing to address delays in relief efforts for Texans.

"It took a Bastrop to get aviation assets into the state. It shouldn't have taken that long," said Congressman Michael McCaul.

Bastrop was one of the latter of many large wildfires in Texas this year.

So far, this is the only fire in the state to be determined a state of disaster by the president.

"You can't sit down, fill out a bunch of paperwork to get approval to do certain things, and that's one thing I want to streamline, cut down the red tapes so FEMA can assists locals and be more responsive than they have been," McCaul added.

McCaul says there's no reason the government should respond so slowly when the state is doing all they can.

And now they're asking for faster relief.

"What we're looking for is resources. As people have resources on the ground, so when a fire does happen, they're not two or three days away. We can get to them in a matter of hours," said Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter.

Congressmen McCaul and Gohmert are traveling the state to hear the needs of county officials requesting financial assistance.

"People that are first responders come in and tell us where the problems were. If we don't take advantage of people that know where the problems are, know how we can streamline assistance, and know how we can fight fires more effectively to get help where it's needed, then there's nobody," said Gohmert.

Victims just want their voices to be heard.

"We're hoping that they can provide some money to the volunteer fire departments, recoup some of the cost that they've been out. So, they can continue to operate and fight these fires," said Suiter.

The congressmen are holding a large hearing October 17th with the information they're gathering now.

McCaul and Gohmert say they're not looking to change or create a new law through the hearing.

They're hoping to ignite change in FEMA policies to provide faster relief funds.

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