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with that? When we talk of other damages, just how far can we go? That is the responsibility of this committee and the respective committee of the House, to come up with an answer to this problem.
I disagree a little bit with our Governor, who makes much of the fact that he did not think a flood project alone was sufficient. I say it is not sufficient, but it will go a long way, and perhaps now we have come to a rude awakening—we of the New England States and we of the Northeast. Let us not kid ourselves. We are always at the tail end of the stick when it comes to any project dealing with foods, or anything for our particular localities. You, the Senator from New York, are well aware of that. We of the Connecticut delegation are well aware of it, and we in New England are aware of it. Perhaps this will now serve to act as a spur, a good deal like when a family is struck by a death or a tragic event, and all of the members of the family come from all parts of the country to a funeral. We are now at the funeral.
Perhaps some of our colleagues in the House and some of our colleagues in the Senate will pay a little more attention to our requests and demands than they have heretofore.
I will give you an example. For instance, in the Housatonic River, which I said is to the east of my district, 9 years ago or 10 years ago
9 an authorization was given for a project, and it took the entire delegation of Connecticut this last year finally to put it into being. Yes; we had the authorization, but the wherewithal, the cash, was lacking. If it had been done, perhaps the Housatonic would not have caused the havoc it did, because engineering experts tell me if it had been done perhaps there would have been a more moderate flow of water, with less attendant disastrous consequences in the valley.
So we have something to talk about now. We are now at this wake or funeral involving a large portion of this country, the northern New England section and the east coast. We have given unstintingly to other parts of the country, and you are well aware of that, Senators. But we of New England and this part of the country have not been treated as generously as we are entitled to.
I know from this mass of testimony that you have before you that this committee in its wisdom, and with its knowledge, will certainly come up with a recommendation to the Congress for immediate action.
I disagree with our Governor, who says that if we come up with some sort of an insurance program, that perhaps the Civil Defense should be the ones to administer it. I disagree with him in that respect, because you need more than people who are trained in the excellent work which they do of civil defense, to administer this mammoth program.
In closing I would like to say I think I have expressed myself as adequately as I can at this time, but there is only one other thing I would like to comment on, Mr. Chairman. I am hopeful as we talk about these programs that partisan politics will be left out. It has been said on all sides that it will be kept out.
In your comments, Mr. Chairman, you disclosed and stated how complex this problem is. As to that, I think we are in agreement. Mr. Bunker in his prepared speech and his comments says:
I believe it is apparent from these facts that disaster relief is a compler matter.
So I think we are all agreed it is complex, and I do not think anybody can come up with a sure cure for all of our problems.
It has been expressed here that there was keen disappointment that the administration had not come up with any views or recommendations. Again I trust and hope that partisan politics will be kept out of this, because from my own observation the administration is as much interested in this problem as we are. Our own President came from wherever he might have been to this stricken area, and has given orders and instructions to all of the various Government agencies at least to attempt up to this point to administer the provisions of the law to do all they possibly could, and to cut redtape. That he has done. I do trust if these hearings continue, whether here or in Washington, or wherever they may be, that we can all join as members of this big family coming back to this wake, to do the best job we can possibly do under the circumstances. Thank you very much.
Mr. EDELSTEIN. Congressman Patterson of the Fifth Congressional District.
STATEMENT OF JAMES T. PATTERSON, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Mr. PATTERSON. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. It is a pleasure for me to be here today.
Mr. Chairman, first I want to say I appreciate the work that our great Senator has done for my particular area. My area is the one which was really devastated in this last disaster. We owe a debt of gratitude that we do not know how we will ever pay to our Senator, Senator Bush.
As I listened to the various witnesses testifying here today, Mr. Chairman, I could not help but feel we are putting the wagon in front of the horse. I am in agreement on this Federal insurance, or any other kind of insurance which will aid and assist the people of my particular district, but right now, Mr. Chairman, what we need is a crash program—some kind of a program which will prevent another flood
a another flood of muddy waters from going into areas in Naugatuck, Winsted, Torrington, Derby, Ansonia, Seymour, Thomaston, Waterbury, and others.
The thing my people want in my district at the present time is the protection against those muddy waters. I know from being a member of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, which is a joint committee of both the Senate and the House, and being a member of the Armed Services Committee of the House, when our country makes up its mind to do something under a crash program, we accomplish just what we set out to do.
We have the opportunity of building at least some kind of real, strong, temporary dikes along all of these rivers, and eventually go into a program of flood control, where we will have dams which will assure us in our homes for the future.
Here we are coming into the season of peace and Christmas. I can tell you, Mr. Chairman, there is no peace in the minds of my people in Naugatuck and in that entire valley. Every time it rains the fear of God is placed in their hearts. It is something that our Government has to do not tomorrow, but right now.
I listened very attentively to your suggestions or remarks that nothing has been done by the present administration. This is one time, Mr. Chairman, as a Member of Congress from that great district of mine, I would hate to see the slightest bit of politics injected into this. But if I were to go back into the history of previous administrations, appropriations have been made and surveys have been made, but never has the acutal work of controlling those mad rivers in my particular part of the State been accomplished. I hope that if there was a little bit of politics played here today, that it will cease, because we are not dealing with politics solely. We are dealing with the lives and futures of our people.
I know we are a very small segment of this country, but as has been attested to previously here, we do pay our own freight. We pay a great deal of money in taxes and have been receiving very little in return. That too can be traced back for a good long period of 25 years.
So, Mr. Chairman, I want to say right here and now that I condone all of the recommendations that have been made here today on insurance. I, too, will probably have some legislation which will not only be along the lines of insurance, but will be along the lines of real protection for my people in the future.
Insurance is great. I agree with the fact that insurance is another little cushion that a person can have who lives in a particular area like mine. However, it is an awful thing even to think of, even if you do have insurance, that tomorrow another flood might again wipe your business out, or your home. Of course, you will be presented with a certain amount in the form of a check to rebuild it, but you will only have to face another terrible disaster and the reality that it is bound to come.
The thing which worries me, Mr. Chairman, is that winter is coming on and of course there will be snow. Knowing this area as I do, being a native here, born and raised here, I fear what might happen unless we have a crash program which is going to do something right now for the protection and welfare of my people.
Getting back to the question at hand, listening to our good Governor, he said that it could possibly be a quasi-program, where the administrative end would be handled by private enterprise. I too will have to differ on that point. I do not think you can serve two inasters. Either this will be really federally controlled, like our Veterans' Administration insurance, or it will be private enterprise. I do not think it can be a combination of both.
Furthermore, Mr. Chairman, here is a recommendation that I would have for this crash program which I referred to. I think a combination of our Army engineers and our Seabees would be a thing which would, for one thing, bring about unification, and also would accomplish the goal that the people in my area are hoping we will be able to accomplish in the very near future.
If necessary, I would recommend a special session of Congres to start right now-not tomorrow, but immediately. I, as a Representative, would recommend it.
Senator LEHMAN. May I point out that I have no authority to call a special session of Congress?
Mr. PATTERSON. It is just a part of the picture, Mr. Chairman, so that you will know just exactly how serious I feel about this entire disaster we have just gone through.
Mr. Chairman, I have with me a mayor, Mayor Charles Clarke, from Naugatuck, who is sitting at my right. He is the executive officer of that town, and it is one which has been really and truly devastated. I would ask your indulgence and permission at this time to have Mr. Clarke tell you just a little bit about what happened in Naugatuck, with your permission, Mr. Chairman.
Senator LEHMAN. Congressman, I had announced that we hoped to hear all of the Members of Congress before lunch. I did not announce this, but it is on the program, that we expected to hear the various mayors after the recess. There are several mayors.
Mayor CLARKE. I will wait until after the recess.
Senator Bush. I would like to make one observation. We have heard from all of the members of our congressional delegation present this morning. I feel that we should pay special tribute to each one of them-each and every one of them for coming here and giving us the benefit of their experiences, which were very intense.
As Congressman Patterson pointed out, they have been very harrowing, and I think every one of them has lived up to his responsibilities and fulfilled them all. They have been of tremendous service in this to the people of their districts, such as Congressman Patterson's district, which is certainly one of the very worst hit, if not the worst. Also we have met here as a congressional delegation in Hartford and shook hands and said that we are going to work together, every one of our delegation, for the benefit of all the people of this State, and New England, and the whole country, as far as that is concerned, in an effort to bring about a program which will prohibit the possibility of this kind of disaster striking again.
I want to congratulate them all, Mr. Chairman, and express my appreciation of their having taken the time to come here and give us this very eloquent testimony this morning.
Senator LEHMAN. May I say I am grateful to you for coming here. I paid a great deal of attention to your very interesting remarks. However, I do want to say to you, Congressman, that if politics are being played, I am not playing them. Every witness who has been before us, including yourself, has stressed the urgency of this matter-speed, speed, speed—whether it be a crash program or whether it be a long-range regional program or, as I hope it will be, a national
I am trying to keep the heat on the administration to produce their specific recommendations, so that these various and many proposals that we have had will be turned into action and not merely into words for public consumption. I want an action program and not a publicrelations program. Recommendations received next week would be twice as valuable as recommendations received in January. I want to get these proposals and hope we will get them just as soon as possible. I never expected the President himself to sit down and produce plans, but there is an administration-an administration which is in being and which has been charged by the President to produce these specific recommendations under a promise from the President that we would have them.
I am looking to the administration. I am not looking to the President, whose health I know has been unfortunately affected, and for whose recovery I pray just like every other good American, with all my heart; but I do want recommendations, and specific recommendations, from the administration.
Mr. PATTERSON. As a member of the present administration in Washington and as a Congressman from the fifth district, Mr. Chairman, I recommend that we do adopt some kind of a total Federal program on insurance.
Secondly, I recommend that we immediately start building, not temporary but stronger than temporary, dikes along all of the rivers in my particular area, where we have witnessed terrific disaster. I recommend the dredging of various rivers, both for the removal of debris and silt of all kinds; and, last, but not least, permanent flood controlthe same that possibly some of our Southern States have. For instance, I have in mind communities in Louisiana and several other States.
Furthermore, I recommend that the State of Connecticut immediately make up its mind as to when and where the new proposed highways are going to go through my particular area, in order to give the people in the various towns an opportunity to make plans for the future with respect to the properties which will be condemned.
I think all those recommendations, Mr. Chairman, plus any Federal aid which can be given to individual people in my particular area, if they are adopted by our Government, I know they will find no greater gratitude than they will from the people in my district. We will greatly appreciate it. But, as in Caesar's court they said, “Words, my Lord, words, my Lord.” There are meetings after meetings, but nothing to date has been really and truly set up. I hope in the next 4 or 5 weeks we will have protection along all of these rivers afforded to our people.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I want to say it has been a pleasure to appear here before the committee, and I am sure you will take into consideration the recommendations that have been made, not only by the Congressman from the Fifth District but all of those who have testified and all those who will follow me.
Senator LEHMAN. Congressman, I can assure you, in this as in all other matters, I will support any program that is sound and practical and in the public interest.
Thank you very much for coming.
Senator Bush. I would like to make one more observation. I do not wish to pursue this argument about politics, but I just cannot let the chairman's statement pass without observing that I do not think there is evidence at all that the administration is conducting a publicrelations program, and I object, and I must object, to the inference there as a member of this committee. I have to remind the chairman that there has been no politics brought into this situation as far as I recall until in Washington the chairman made what I thought was a rather severe attack on the administration. I did not think it was