Lawmakers look to expand disaster relief

Published 07/28 2014 11:03AM

Updated 07/28 2014 11:06AM

WASHINGTON -- There may be more relief from the state when heavy downpours happen. Lawmakers are considering a bill to expand disaster relief. WCIA-3's Elizabeth Beeson has more from Washington.

For most Illinois' natives, swollen rivers and roadways are all-too-familiar. Representative Cheri Bustos (D), has lived along the Mississippi for the past 30 years.

"When you represent a congressional district where the entire west borders the Mississippi River, and in the southern part of your district, you have the Illinois River running through it, we understand flooding."

So does another Illinois native who's visiting the nation's capitol.

"The weather has been very wet, unlike the weather the past two years where we've had a dry spell."

Over the past two months, rain levels are about a foot higher than normal for this time of year according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Sowko.

"Storm after storm coming off the plains all the way through the Midwest, through the Chicago-region and it's just dumping inches and inches of rain each time there's a storm that goes through."

Many rural areas hit by the floods aren't receiving the disaster relief they need.

"We're at a disadvantage because we're in a state where we have a highly populated area in Chicago and that formula doesn't serve the rural areas very well."

Representative Bustos has helped introduce legislation which would expand disaster relief fund to locals in more rural areas.

"I think it's needed because there are a lot of farmers who need to transport their goods and, if they can't get across the river, then that's a problem."

The legislation would make it easier for many communities to become eligible for federal disaster aid.

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