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House to consider disaster relief next week

The House will vote on legislation next week that would provide billions of dollars in disaster relief to help states and territories recovering from recent hurricanes.

The White House submitted a formal request to Congress on Wednesday for $29 billion, which includes $12.8 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $16 billion for debt relief for the federal flood insurance program. Another $576.5 million would be allotted for wildfire recovery.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday announced that lawmakers would consider the funding while laying out next week's floor schedule. He warned that Congress may have to approve more supplemental appropriations packages in the coming weeks.

"I do not believe this will be the last of the supplementals, based on the damage that has been done from the numerous hurricanes," McCarthy said on the House floor.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) also predicted as much on Wednesday, saying in a statement that "this next round of funds certainly won't be all that is needed."

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in recent months.

Congress in early September quickly approved more than $15 billion in disaster recovery aid in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

President Trump earlier this week visited Puerto Rico, where residents are still facing widespread power outages and a lack of running water and food supplies since Hurricane Maria hit the island in late September.

Lawmakers also enacted a package last week that provides tax relief for people affected by the recent hurricanes.

Disaster victims are now allowed to take money out of their retirement funds without paying early-withdrawal penalties. They can also qualify for a tax credit for 40 percent of wages paid by an employer affected by a storm. 

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