SENATE PASSES AMENDMENTS TO HELP CONNECTICUT HOMEOWNERS WITH CRUMBLING FOUNDATIONS

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) applauded on Wednesday Senate passage of two of their amendments to provide assistance to homeowners in Connecticut hurt by crumbling foundations due to pyrrhotite. The senators introduced the amendments to the FY2019 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies and Financial Services and General Government appropriations bills. The senators worked with U.S. Representatives Joe Courtney (CT-2) and John Larson (CT-1), who introduced similar amendments that passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

“These amendments are an important step in the right direction to solve this crisis," said Murphy. “These new programs will ensure future homebuilders do not use concrete from quarries with pyrrhotite.  There’s a lot more that needs to be done, and I will continue to fight every day for federal assistance to solve this crisis.”

“These amendments are a significant victory-- the start of a coordinated response to provide federal assistance to those suffering the extreme financial and emotional distress caused by crumbling foundations. These two amendments will help to further our understanding of this devastating natural disaster— answering critical questions such as where else pyrrhotite has been found, the fiscal impact of the crisis, and existing regulations and legislation that could be tapped to provide urgently needed direct aid to property owners. Local and state governments have stepped up, and I am pleased that Congress is beginning to do so as well,” said Blumenthal.

“The crisis of crumbling concrete foundations that is plaguing northcentral and eastern Connecticut is going to require an all-hands-on-deck response at the municipal, state, and federal levels to solve. We are encouraged that the Senate has now concurred with our amendments that were passed in the House of Representatives last month. We would like to thank Senators Murphy and Blumenthal for shepherding these amendments through their chamber and for working closely with our offices throughout this process. These amendments reflect the fact that Congress understands the dire situation facing homeowners impacted by crumbling foundations and is willing to support federal action to assist them. As we have said before, no single bill or action is going to be able to fix this problem and we remain committed to pressing forward with these proposals and others at every available opportunity,” said Courtney and Larson.

The amendments will:

  • Direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess the financial impact of the crumbling foundations and outline regulatory and legislative actions to help mitigate that impact.
  • Direct the U.S. Geological Survey to create a nationwide map showing where pyrrhotite can be found.

Murphy and Blumenthal also introduced an amendment is based on their Aid to Homeowners with Crumbling Foundations Act 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 foundation assistance funds to repair damage to residential structures due to pyrrhotite. This amendment was blocked by Senate Republicans.

In May, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson visited eastern Connecticut to tour an affected home and meet with affected homeowners following an invitation from Murphy. 

 

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