Congress Expected to Approve More Hurricane Aid for Puerto Rico

Congress is expected to take up another disaster aid package to help victims in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and the US Virgin Islands still struggling to recover from a string of devastating hurricanes.

The Trump administration sent a request for $29 billion to House and Senate leaders Wednesday that would give roughly $13 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies helping hurricane victims with infrastructure and basic needs. It would also give $16 billion to increase the borrowing authority for the national flood insurance program so it can continue to cover losses for those whose homes were affected by the storms.

Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, sent a letter detailing the request, saying that the federal response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria has been “unprecedented.”

“With more than 20,000 Federal employees deployed my multiple agencies and working in multiple locations, we need the help of Congress to stabilize the affected communities and replenish dwindling and depleted funds,” Mulvaney wrote.

Last month President Donald Trump signed a measure approved by Congress that provided $15 billion in emergency funding, but GOP leaders noted that they expected there would be additional needs. Congress said they would need to sign off on more federal money for those states and US territories still reeling from the powerful wind and record high flood levels.

“This will be a long process, and this next round of funds certainly won’t be all that is needed. We will continue to monitor each disaster closely and will work to ensure that both short-term relief and long-term recovery funds are available and are being put to good use for those in need,” Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a New Jersey Republican, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said after receiving the administration’s letter.

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SOURCE: CNN, Deirdre Walsh

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