State Watch

Texas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request

A slew of Republican Texas officials ripped the White House's most recent disaster aid request on Friday, as the state works to recover from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Harvey. 

The White House is requesting roughly $44 billion in additional aid from Congress for Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida and other disaster-stricken areas, however, the amount is less than what officials from some of the affected areas were hoping to see.

"What was offered up by Mick Mulvaney and [his Office of Management and Budget (OMB)] is completely inadequate for the needs of the state of Texas and I believe does not live up to what the president wants to achieve," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said at a news conference on Friday. 

"The president has told me privately what he's said publicly, and that is that he wants to be the builder president," he continued. "The president has said that he wants this to be the best recovery from a disaster ever."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he was "not satisfied" with the request, dubbing it "wholly inadequate," while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said he would review the request and push to "ensure our great state has the resources it needs to rebuild and come back stronger than ever." 

Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), whose district encompasses a large potion of Houston, which suffered from catastrophic flooding after the storm, said the request shows a "complete lack of understanding of the fundamental needs of Texans."

"Thankfully, Congress funds the government - not OMB. I will work tirelessly with my colleagues to fix this," Culberson said.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) voiced his displeasure with the request, calling it "insufficient and unacceptable" in a statement.

"We stand together opposed to this level of funding and will continue to fight to help Texas rebuild," a group of Houston-area Republicans said in a statement.

Texas officials are not the only group upset about the request. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) said he would not support the request because it lacked relief for citrus growers affected by Hurricane Irma in Florida.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) also blasted the request on Twitter. 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the request on Friday and called for Texas to contribute more money in the process. 

"Up until this point, Texas has not put any state dollars into this process," Sanders said.

"We feel strongly that they should step up and play a role and work with the federal government in this process. We did a thorough assessment and that was completed and this was the number that we put forward to Congress today."

Harvey brought heavy winds and catastrophic flooding to large swaths of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana in August, while Florida was pummeled by Hurricane Irma in September. 

Virtually the entire island of Puerto Rico was also left without power in September after Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory. 

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