Enactment of a second major post-disaster aid measure provides billions of dollars in additional funds to help Puerto Rico and other areas recover from recent natural disasters. But it probably won’t be the last such funding package this year.
The latest measure, which President Trump signed on Oct. 26, totals $36.5 billion. It Includes $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund and $16 billion in debt relief for the National Flood Insurance Program. It also has $576.5 million for wildfire-damaged areas in the West.
The legislation follows a $15.3-billion spending bill, enacted on Sept. 8. It provides $7.4 billion for FEMA’s disaster relief fund and $7.4 billion for Dept. of Housing and Urban Development community development block grants. The HUD grants can go for a wide range of uses, including infrastructure.
But Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, “Much more will be needed in my state.” Texas is recovering from Hurricane Harvey, which struck the state in late August and caused heavy flooding. Cornyn said Trump and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told him that, in mid-November, the White House would send Congress another emergency spending request that would have additional funds for Texas. Cornyn said Texas lawmakers are working with representatives from areas damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and from western areas hit by wildfires.