HARTFORD—U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) released the following statements after the United States Senate voted to allocate at least $1.5 million to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to partner with academia in developing a reliable and cost-effective standard for testing for the presence of pyrrhotite in concrete used in residential, commercial, and municipal structures at part of the Senate Fiscal Year 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill:
“I’ve visited the homes in Connecticut dealing with crumbling foundations. Thousands of these homeowners have had their lives turned upside down because their homes started falling apart,” said Murphy. “Although we’ve been able to get Congress to take some action, it’s not nearly enough. Senator Blumenthal and I, along with our partners in the House, will continue to work on legislation to provide federal assistance and some relief for these homeowners. Today’s vote was a step in the right direction.”
“Our determined work on this measure was inspired by thousands of Connecticut homeowners whose lives have been devastated by crumbling foundations. Testing will help at least lessen pyrrhorite’s nightmarish impacts, by enabling earlier detection and action. It’s a good step for people who deserve a lot more,” said Blumenthal.
This appropriations bill now moves to conference with the U.S. House of Representatives to address the differences between the two versions of the bill. Blumenthal and Murphy are urging that this funding be increased to the $4 million allocated in the House version of the legislation.
Last year, Murphy introduced the Aid to Homeowners with Crumbling Foundations Act, co-sponsored by Blumenthal, that would provide $100 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to states like Connecticut that have created non-profit crumbling foundations assistances funds to repair damages to residential structures due to pyrrrhotite.
Earlier this year, Blumenthal introduced the Crumbling Foundations Small Business and Homeowners Assistance Act of 2019, co-sponsored by Senators Murphy, Markey, and Warren, that would establish a grant program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to award funding up to $20 million annually over a five year period – $100 million over five years. Grants would be available to states to reimburse affected owners of small businesses, condominium associations, and homeowners for work to prevent, repair and mitigate damage caused by concrete foundations containing pyrrhotite.