Trump, lawmakers promise tens of billions in federal spending for Harvey recovery

Congressional Quarterly  CQPHO
Congressional Quarterly CQPHO

30 August, 2017

The catastrophic floods brought by Hurricane Harvey to southeastern Texas will pose an immediate test for the White House and Congress, pressing policymakers to approve billions of dollars in recovery funds even though they haven't agreed on much else this year. He also said past disaster relief bills have served as a "Christmas tree" for pork.

President Trump said the cleanup will be expensive but he expects no difficulties from Congress.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund had a balance of about $3.8 billion at the end of July.

Throwing in Hurricane Harvey relief my make September even more complicated.

The National Hurricane Center announced overnight heavy rain from Harvey is expected to worsen flooding in Southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana. "Sen. Cruz strongly supports this role of government, but emergency bills should not be used for non-emergency spending and that unfortunately is what made up almost 70 percent" of the Sandy relief bill.

But apparently it's hypocritical of Cruz to ask for more aide because he voted against a Hurricane Sandy relief bill in 2013, which was notoriously loaded with monies that weren't going directly to the storm's victims.

Culberson was the only Texas Republican to vote for a $50.5 billion measure providing disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2013.

In a statement released Monday, Cruz did not address Congress' likely role in funding Harvey recovery efforts, nor did his press office answer ABC News' questions about whether he would seek cuts to offset any funding allocated.

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Republican Rep. Peter King from NY also tweeted over the weekend "that 1 bad turn doesn't deserve another" and promised to back sending relief funds.

Morgan Stanley's USA economics team said Tuesday that there is a possibility the demands of the storm could end up bringing forward the deadline to raise the debt ceiling, as FEMA will likely an immediate influx of funding to handle the disaster.

On Sunday, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) tweeted an ostentatious declaration of support for funding federal disaster relief while excoriating Sen.

"Ted Cruz & Texas cohorts voted vs NY/NJ aid after Sandy but I'll vote 4 Harvey aid".

"It was very bloated", he said.

Trump has also threatened a government shutdown if Congress does not fund his proposed wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Officials say there's no way to estimate the damage totals yet. "The IRS will continue to closely monitor the storm's aftermath, and we anticipate providing additional relief for other affected areas in the near future". Both of those storms prompted major fights in Congress, with some prominent Republicans resisting emergency aid packages because of concerns about what it would mean for the federal budget.

But the Sandy name was on the bill, it was not palatable for fiscal conservatives, and I agree with Legal Insurrection's Fuzzy Slippers-the Democrats knew it would trash Republicans, who suffered a bruising and demoralizing 2012 campaign season.

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