Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state’s congressional delegation could get “rolled” on a hurricane relief bill that is about to be voted on in the House of Representatives. The governor expressed his disappointment in the delegation not fighting specifically for funds dedicated to relief efforts for Texas.
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a $36.5 billion disaster relief aid package that will address a federal response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate, along with the areas of the country hit by wildfires, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday night. The bill does not appear to include $18.7 billion requested by the governor and members of the congressional delegation.
“I am disappointed that most members of the Texas congressional delegation have agreed to go ahead and vote for this bill, from what I know at this time, when Texas needs this money,” Abbott said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. “It appears the Texas delegation will let themselves be rolled by the House of Representatives.”
Abbott said the delegation needs to get a “stiff spine” and fight for the funding needed by cities, towns, and counties across the Texas coastal region, including the Houston metropolitan area. He said the Texas representatives should vote against the bill unless it includes funds specifically for the Lone Star State.
Since Hurricane Harvey spent nearly a week delivering devastating winds and record floods, the governor has been touring the state and meeting with local officials about the relief efforts and what their communities are facing.
Members of the Texas Congressional Delegation signed a letter on October 6 asking for $18.7 billion in new recovery funding. Of that funding, $10 billion would be used for Army Corps of Engineers projects and $7 billion for block grants for recovery projects.
Other projects requested include $800 million for school repairs, $450 million for business loans, $300 million for assistance to local governments, and $150 million for transportation infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Harvey, the Houston newspaper reported.
Three members of the Texas delegation sit on the House Appropriations Committee. Those members include John Culberson (R-TX), who chairs the subcommittee with oversight over the Department of Homeland Security. Others include Fort Worth’s Kay Granger (R-TX) and Round Rock’s John Carter (R-TX).
Laredo Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Harvey relief task force.
“I certainly understand how the governor feels about this, but we’re trying to do this for all the disasters that pretty much hit at the same time,” Cuellar told the Chronicle. He added this will not be the final package for hurricane relief for Texans.
Cuellar’s Republican counterpart, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) said he has not been directly involved in negotiations for the package, but that their goal has been to cut red tape and help Texans get the relief they need.
Houston area Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) called the package a “stop-gap measure.”
“This is essential,” Governor Abbott concluded in the Chronicle interview. “The least that Texans deserve is for their congressional delegation to stand with them on this funding. It is time for them to step up and do what they have power to do.”
Breitbart Texas reached out to several members of the Texas delegation for their reactions to the governor’s comments. A response was not immediately available.