Washington (DC), On Tuesday, Congressman Al Green voted for S. 2949, legislation which expands the U.S. Repatriation Assistance fund to $25 million in order to provide emergency aid to repatriated Americans. The bill passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday by voice vote and was signed into law by President Obama today.
This repatriation aid measure ensures that the U.S. Repatriation Assistance fund will adequately reimburse state governments for expenditures made to provide temporary arrangements to returning Americans. The fund, which was established by the Department of Health and Human Services, usually has a cap of $1 million for expenses. This legislation would raise that cap, in response to the disaster in Haiti, to $25 million.
The difference between this fund and most aid programs is that repatriated Americans will be required to sign a promissory note and repay the funds once they have completed their transition. That money in turn will have to be repaid to the federal government to replenish the fund. However, there are provisions in place for those who cannot repay the loan due to hardship.
“Thank you to my colleagues for acting swiftly to move this bill and provide assistance to all Americans in need of help returning to their homes from Haiti,” stated Congressman Green.