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.


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 ReidThe Hill's Campaign Report: Gloves off in South Carolina Democratic insiders stay on the sidelines in 2020 race Harry Reid calls for end to all caucuses 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 CornynCongress eyes killing controversial surveillance program Hillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates 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 FlemingThe Hill's Morning Report - Iran strikes US bases in Iraq; Trump to speak today In Australia's nightmare, a vision of the planet's future The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems aim to end anti-Semitism controversy with vote 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. DonovanHouse Dems call on OMB to analyze Senate budget plan Overnight Finance: Dems turn up heat on Wells Fargo | New rules for prepaid cards | Justices dig into insider trading law GOP reps warn Obama against quickly finalizing tax rules 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.