Congressman Cleaver Surveys Flood Damage With Governor Parson, Participates in Roundtable with MO Farmers

Apr 23, 2019
Press Release

(Orrick, MO) – Last week, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) met with Governor Mike Parson, farmers and agricultural leaders from the Missouri Farm Bureau, and leaders from the Missouri Levee & Drainage District Association (MLDDA) to survey farmland and levees devastated by recent flooding in Orrick, Missouri. Following the survey, a roundtable was held to hear from local farmers and levee district leaders to discuss improvements that can be made to protect Missouri farmers and ranchers from future floods.

“As we continue to assess the extensive damage caused by recent flooding, it’s critical that we come together with local, state, and federal stakeholders to talk about steps we can take to protect our farmers and agricultural industry in Missouri,” said Congressman Cleaver. “With the considerable damage to levees, roads, and other critical infrastructure, it’s clear that these communities have a lot of rebuilding to do, and we’re hopeful federal recovery funds will be on the way soon to begin that process.”

Congressman Cleaver recently delivered a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Acting Administrator, Pete Gaynor, calling for clarification on requirements for disaster declarations. Questions have arisen from previous disasters about the consistency with which FEMA is applying the criteria on which disaster funding is awarded. In 2014, Orrick was denied FEMA assistance following a tornado that destroyed 70% of the town, including 200-300 homes, 3 churches, and the local public school. FEMA rejected the disaster declaration due to Orrick not meeting a threshold of $8.9 million of non/agricultural damage. However, as Cleaver states in his letter, “conversations with FEMA headquarters staff and information on FEMA’s website indicate that FEMA is prohibited by statute from using formulaic numbers to determine a disaster declaration.”

“If the leadership at FEMA and the process by which they decide what defines a disaster doesn’t come to the obvious conclusion that the recent floods in Missouri were a disaster, then we need to rethink that process and the individuals who are leading that agency,” Congressman Cleaver said.

“I want to thank Governor Parson for taking the time to visit Orrick to survey the damage caused by these floods and to see for himself the uphill battle the people in this area are facing. We had a meaningful discussion on efforts we can make to rebuild the damaged infrastructure and safeguard Missouri farmlands and towns from future flooding,” said Congressman Cleaver. “Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Indpendence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matthew Helfant at 202-225-4535 or A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.