The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is spending existing disaster aid reserves
Flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey can be seen in this aerial photo over Port Arthur, Texas, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. photo: AP/Gerald Herbert, photo: AP/Gerald Herbert
31 of August 2017 13:49:36
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Congress is gearing up for a vote as early as next week on a multibillion-dollar down payment on relief aid for Harvey.White House and congressional aides said Thursday an emergency request to replenish rapidly shrinking aid reserves is coming from the Trump administration within days and that votes in both the House and Senate would quickly follow.Members of the Texas and Louisiana delegation are pressing for immediate action when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next week from their summer recess, and they have pledges from top GOP leaders such as Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican from California, that the House will quickly respond. McCarthy told lawmakers from Texas and Louisiana on a conference call late Wednesday, "We are with you," a GOP aide said Thursday.
Another concern is that the government's cash reserves are running low since the nation's debt limit has been reached and the Treasury Department is using accounting measures to cover expenses. Billions of dollars in Harvey aid are an unexpected cost that at least raises the potential that Congress will have to act earlier than expected to increase the government's borrowing authority.Also on tap when the House returns: Fixing a poorly-timed spending bill for next year that actually proposes cutting the very disaster aid reserves that are running low now. A catchall domestic spending bill facing a House vote next week includes, for now, an $876 million cut from FEMA disaster accounts that helps balance the cost of Trump's $1.6 billion request for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Republicans say that'll change before a vote next week.
Hurricane Harvey gives Congress a perfect excuse not to fund Trump's border wall https://t.co/raigiOMpX0— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) August 30, 2017
ERICA WERNERANDREW TAYLOR