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Obama requests $2.6B in aid for Louisiana floods

Obama requests $2.6B in aid for Louisiana floods
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The Obama administration is asking Congress for a $2.6 billion emergency appropriation to fund aid efforts following Louisiana’s disastrous flooding last month.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said Tuesday the money would go to block grants that Louisiana could use for a wide variety of purposes, like emergency aid, small business loans, infrastructure and affordable housing.

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The plea to congressional leaders and appropriators comes a day after Louisiana’s eight-member congressional delegation asked President Obama to formulate an aid request so Congress could consider it for a stopgap funding measure that the Senate could consider as early as this week.

But earlier Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee Bottom line MORE (D-Nev.) said negotiations over the stopgap legislation had reached a standstill over riders related to Zika funding and the Export-Import Bank.

The Louisiana request, while expected, adds another complicating factor to talks over the funding measure that is mean to keep the government going until early December.

House Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynMcCaskill: 'Hypocrisy' for GOP to target Biden nominee's tweets after Trump Former Senate hopeful auctioning off Harley-Davidson featured prominently in her campaign ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms MORE (R-Texas) said emergency Louisiana funding ought to be part of longer-term appropriations legislation that Congress plans to pass after the election.

But Rep. John FlemingJohn Calvin FlemingTrump wants Congress to delay Census deadlines amid pandemic Meadows sets up coronavirus hotline for members of Congress The Hill's Morning Report - Iran strikes US bases in Iraq; Trump to speak today MORE (R-La.) said Tuesday that it’s important to get at least some funding for his state in the continuing resolution lawmakers are currently hashing out.

“We want to get this on the CR, if at all possible. We can adjust the figures later on in the omnibus,” he said.

The money OMB requested late Tuesday would go to Community Development Block Grants, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“CDBG funding would provide flexibility to Louisiana to address disaster recovery needs in areas most impacted by this year’s flooding,” OMB Director Shaun DonovanShaun L. S. DonovanJacobin Editor-at-Large: Valerie Jarrett's support for Citigroup executive's mayoral campaign 'microcosm' of Democrats' relationship with Wall Street Citigroup executive to run for NYC mayor: report House Dems call on OMB to analyze Senate budget plan MORE wrote. “CDBG grantees use funds to design and carry out recovery and mitigation programs to address needs not met by other sources, including federal agencies.”

The flooding, the worst in centuries and likely caused in part by climate change, killed 13 and displaced thousands.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) visited Washington, D.C., last week and asked for $2 billion in federal aid. He revised his request Monday, increasing it to $2.8 billion, citing the need to make homes and businesses more resilient to future flooding.