Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Mr. Meek for allowing me to make some additional comments with my friends, Mr. Brady from southeast Texas, and Dr. Charles Boustany from Louisiana.

The area of the State of Texas that I represent, Mr. Speaker, borders Louisiana, and also borders the Gulf of Mexico. And today we had another storm hit not Texas, but Washington, DC. Individuals from southeast Texas and east Texas, government leaders, community activists, chambers of commerce presidents, came to Washington to make the case for what occurred in the last 6 1/2 months in southeast Texas.

By way of review, the ladies of the gulf came into the Gulf of Mexico last fall. The first of those, Katrina, came through, became the sixth largest hurricane, most powerful hurricane to ever hit the gulf coast. And when that occurred, 450,000 people from Louisiana went west. They crossed the Sabine River into Texas. Many of them came into my district.

Many of those people are still there. Several thousand kids are still in school in Texas from Louisiana. So many people are in Texas from Louisiana that we have a mayor's race in New Orleans this Saturday, and the two candidates campaigning for mayor in Louisiana have billboards all over the Houston area soliciting votes from people in Louisiana that happen to be in Texas.

Katrina was mainly a water-damage hurricane. The waters rose, caused damage, the waters stayed a long time. One of the towns of course hit was New Orleans. The national media focused on Katrina day after day after day. But 3 weeks later, another lady of the gulf came. Her name was Rita. She became the fourth most powerful hurricane to ever hit the gulf coast. She hit western Louisiana and east Texas, part of the area that I represent.

The largest evacuation in American history took place in Texas because of Hurricane Rita. Over 2 million people evacuated their homes. In Beaumont alone, 8,320 people were airlifted out of hospitals, in the middle of the night with C-130 transport planes, to 14 different States.

The first responders before Hurricane Rita hit loaded their police cars, their emergency equipment, their fire trucks, their front-end loaders, and even helicopters on two enormous cargo ships that were in the Port of Beaumont. Those ships deploy cargo to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The community, because of Hurricane Rita, was left without electricity for over 3 weeks; 75,000 homes were destroyed. Several thousand homes to this day have not been repaired, and people are still living under blue roofs.

That part of the gulf coast, Mr. Speaker, is a petrochemical area, refinery area. Eleven percent of the Nation's gasoline is refined out of that small area in southeast Texas. Thirty percent of the Nation's aviation fuel is manufactured there. And the Port of Beaumont, as I mentioned, that deploys one-third of the military cargo going to Iraq and Afghanistan.

But this hurricane was not a water-damage hurricane, although there was a storm surge. It was a wind-damage hurricane, and people lost their homes not to rising water, to losing their roofs and water coming in because of rain.

And that whole issue is being dealt with, or not being dealt with, with the insurance companies because of their refusal in many cases to even pay for the damage because it was not water damage, it was wind damage.

But be that as it may, the devastation affected the rice industry. This part of southeast Texas is a rice-growing area. As with Dr. Boustany and his area, this part of the Nation supplies a lot of rice for not only the United States but other nations.

This year the rice farmers lost their second crop, that is the crop that they make money on. And now, rice season is back upon us. But to show you the devastation from Hurricane Rita, I talked to the owner of two John Deere stores there in southeast Texas that supply the farm machinery for the rice farmers.

He says he has not sold one piece of farm machinery this year because the rice farmers cannot afford to buy them. Those rice farmers now, many of them will go out of business and that land will be turned into something else. But be that as it may, Hurricane Rita was not one of those issues that caught the National attention, because local officials, many of them that were here today, took care of business as soon as Hurricane Rita showed up. There was very little loss of life.

And because apparently for no loss of life, that was not a story that the national media sought to portray. Mr. Speaker, we just hope in the supplemental that two things occur: that the people of Louisiana are treated not unfairly, but the people in Texas are treated equal to the people in Louisiana.

Rita was a hurricane just as powerful as Hurricane Katrina, and that the funding be the same, and that the line between Louisiana and Texas, the Sabine River, not separate fairness; that fairness go across the river and treat all Americans the same.