White House vows quick action as Harvey aid estimates soar

By REUTERS
September 1, 2017 02:11
1 minute read.
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WASHINGTON - Estimates of the size of a Hurricane Harvey aid package for Texas and Louisiana rose on Thursday, with one proposal being drafted for $150 billion, while the White House promised to make a request for funding soon to Congress.

The Trump administration will make a request to the US Congress shortly for funds to help recovery efforts from Harvey, which caused devastating flooding, White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said.

He told reporters that an aid funding request will likely come in stages as more is known about the storm's impact.

While the details are still unknown, US taxpayers are likely to face a bill for Harvey near the $110.2 billion for 2005's Hurricane Katrina. Exact estimates on the size of this aid package varied widely.

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Houston, was crafting legislation for $150 billion in emergency funding through nearly two-dozen government agencies and departments.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Wednesday the state could need more than $125 billion.

Figures of $50 billion to $80 billion were cited by Republican Representatives Pete Sessions of Texas and Leonard Lance of New Jersey on Fox Business Network.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund had only $3.3 billion when the storm struck.

A Republican leadership source said Congress was expected to consider and vote on an initial allocation of Harvey aid in the first half of September.


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