Houston Congressman On Government's Response To Harvey Destruction05:46
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U.S. Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) speaks about articles of impeachment for U.S. President Donald Trump during a press conference on Capitol Hill June 7, 2017 in Washington. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)MoreCloseclosemore
U.S. Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) speaks about articles of impeachment for U.S. President Donald Trump during a press conference on Capitol Hill June 7, 2017 in Washington. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti speaks with Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) (@RepAlGreen), a congressman who represents Houston, about the federal government's response to Hurricane Harvey.

Interview Highlights

On what he's hearing from his constituents

"Well, last night we had, out in the southern part of my district, 400 people to be rescued with water boats. Persons went in to help them out of harm's way. We have persons who are at the Thurgood Marshall High School, about 600 people. We have Kempner High School that's been opened up. We have, at the city center in Missouri City, 120 people in the city center. Over at the Windsor Village Church, they have brought in cots for 600 or more people. So we are constantly bringing people into shelter. People are very much concerned about their future. People who have not been in shelters are concerned about their future. This is a very, very scary time for a lot of people, and they're expressing their concern."

"We've got to show our people that when we have these tragedies, when they're confronted with catastrophic events, that the federal government is going to do what it's supposed to."

Rep. Al Green

On what those in the Houston area need

"The thing that people most need is security. And when people are not being rescued — people are still waiting to be rescued — that is an immediate need. Just having security. We also have people who have been out in the weather for some time and they need to get themselves properly warmed in a place so that they can have food and proper clothing. So, when people go to shelters, we're trying to make sure that they get the food and the clothing that they need. People also need to know that at some point we'll start a recovery, and when that recovery starts, that there will be resources available to help them get housed immediately. I remember going through this with other storms, and sometimes the housing can become difficult to acquire. But housing is important, short-term and long-term housing. Those who have had their property damaged, they need to know that there will be the resources available to them to get repairs.

"So, there's a long-term process that we're about to face, but short term we're still rescuing people, we're still saving lives in Houston, Texas, and we want the good Samaritans who have come in to help out that we greatly appreciate them, as well as the first responders who are working with the good Samaritans."

On legislation to provide relief

"Until it's done, you're always concerned about measures that could impact lives. You want to get them done as quickly as possible. But I've talked to colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I've not talked to one who has hesitated when I had brought up this subject, and I'm doing this expeditiously. My hope is, that when we get back in September, this will be an immediate agenda item. We have to do this for the American people, not just for the people here in Houston. We've got to show our people that when we have these tragedies, when they're confronted with catastrophic events, that the federal government is going to do what it's supposed to, and that is provide safety and security and recovery for people who are stricken by these horrific events."

This segment aired on August 29, 2017.

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