Trump could ask Congress for billions in hurricane relief next week

Trump could ask Congress for billions in hurricane relief next week
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President Trump is reportedly planning on asking Congress for billions of dollars in relief funds for Hurricane Harvey, and that request could come as soon as next week.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the president is in talks with lawmakers to determine the final amount that his administration will ask for in a bill meant to shore up the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) budget in the wake of the natural disaster.

Congress returns from its August recess next week.

According to the Post, an emergency funding bill will be one of the topics Trump discusses with congressional leaders next Wednesday at a scheduled White House meeting with the leaders of both parties. 

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Texas leaders have said the cleanup cost will be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told reporters earlier this week that federal costs will probably surpass the $120 billion spent after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, while Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeBest shot at narrowing racial homeownership gap at risk, progressives say Youth voting organization launches M registration effort in key battlegrounds The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Gears begin to shift in Congress on stalled Biden agenda MORE (D-Texas) estimated the costs about $150 billion.

In a meeting with Houston's city council on Wednesday, Jackson Lee said she wouldn't be "shy" when asking for funds, but said in remarks reported by the Post that House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.) had already pledged his support to her personally.

“This is a bipartisan effort. I’ve gotten calls from across the country from Republicans and Democrats,” she said. “I want to thank the Democratic leadership for their calls."

"But I think it’s important for all of you to know that Speaker Ryan has called," she added. "He called me and the one point that he said that there will not be one light of difference — we’ll have some talking points, I’m sure, but — one light of difference to get the funding that we need here in this area.”

FEMA's disaster relief budget is drying up quickly. The Post reports that the Federal Disaster Relief Fund only contained about $2.2 billion in unallocated funds at the end of July.