Members of the Texas Congressional Delegation burned the midnight oil with Governor Greg Abbott and leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives to secure nearly $15 billion in disaster relief funding for the state. The funds will be included in an emergency disaster bill that is expected to pass the House on Thursday afternoon.
A statement provided to Breitbart Texas from Representative Ted Poe’s office says the measure includes $11 billion to pay anticipated claims for flood insurance for Texans victims of Hurricane Harvey. It also includes an estimated $4 billion for the FEMA disaster relief fund for Texas. The funds will provide housing assistance, home repairs, removal of storm debris, and public assistance grants to help eligible communities begin infrastructure repair on roads, utility work, schools, and other public buildings damaged by the devastating winds and catastrophic flooding delivered by Hurricane Harvey.
“Today, I joined my colleagues in the House to approve a second disaster relief funding package that includes emergency funding for Texas,” Congressman Poe said in a statement provided to Breitbart Texas. “This package provides short term, emergency help for Texans affected by Harvey – including continuing funding for FEMA – and more money is expected soon to help Texas. Within the last 24 hours, House leadership has committed to Governor Abbott and to the Texas delegation that it will bring up a third, targeted relief package in the coming weeks, ensuring that Texas’s funding concerns will be satisfactorily addressed. I will hold my colleagues in the House to their commitment and will not rest until Texas receives the full amount of federal aid that we need.”
On Wednesday evening, Governor Abbott told the Houston Chronicle he was concerned the Texas delegation was about to get “rolled” on the funding bill which he said did not include specific funding for Texas disaster relief.
Abbott said the delegation needed 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.
“Governor Abbott was assured by House leadership that as soon as November, Texas will get the disaster assistance funding we’re requesting for Army Corps of Engineer projects, Community Development Block Grants, and funding for dredging Texas ports, expanding bayous and critical flood mitigation projects, among other priorities,” Governor Abbott’s Communications Director Matt Hirsch said in a statement responding to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas. “The Governor will hold House leadership to that promise on behalf of Texans whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Harvey. In the meantime, the Governor and the Texas delegation will continue working together as a team to help Texans recover and rebuild.”
The $15 billion in relief funding is the next wave of support from the federal government which is tasked with responding to the disasters caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate, and the devastating wildfires in California and other parts of the western U.S.
“Texas cities will also have access to $4.9 billion in pool grants for Community Disaster loans,” Karina Erickson, press secretary for Congressman Poe said. “These loans help communities with revenue losses due to disasters, so the communities can pay for police and fire protection and other critical local needs during their recovery.