U.S. lawmakers propose $ 28.6 billion in disaster assistance to recover from hurricanes, wildfires and floods



WASHINGTON – Congressional Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a short-term spending measure that would keep the federal government in business until Dec. 3 and provide $ 28.6 billion for costs related to recent natural disasters.

This money for disaster relief is slightly more than the $ 24 billion the Biden administration asked Congress to approve for extreme weather events in the past 18 months, including hurricanes, floods and forest fires.

A summary of the new legislation says it would include aid to states related to Hurricanes Ida, Delta, Zeta and Laura, wildfires, severe droughts and winter storms and other natural and major disasters declared in 2021 and previous years.

“Relief is being provided to virtually every corner of the country as every corner of the country has suffered,” said House Appropriations Committee chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), At a meeting of the rules committee Tuesday morning.

“It helps rebuild from these disasters and provides a lifeline for families struggling to get back on their feet. “

The spending bill would also lift the limit on federal borrowing until the end of 2022, preventing a default on federal debt that would otherwise occur in the weeks to come.

The US House is expected to move quickly on the bill, with plans to begin debate later on Tuesday. The short-term funding measure is necessary because Congress is unlikely to complete its work by passing the spending bills for the entire year before the end of the current fiscal year on September 30.

But the fate of the measure is complicated by the multiple urgent components grouped together in a single law. Republicans have said they will not support raising the debt ceiling, even if failure to do so could have significant budgetary consequences.

Democrats had sought to overcome this opposition by including the money needed to avoid a government shutdown, as well as billions in disaster relief that would help a number of states with Republican lawmakers in Congress.

Disaster relief money would be allocated through a wide variety of agencies. He understands:

  • $ 10 billion for crop losses due to devastating storms in 2020 and 2021;
  • $ 2.6 billion to reimburse states for road and bridge repairs;
  • $ 1.2 billion in low-interest loans to businesses, homes and tenants; and
  • $ 5 billion for community development block grants for housing and infrastructure restoration, or economic revitalization.

It also includes funding for drought and disaster response to wildfires in the West, including firefighting and a waiver of the annual salary cap for fire extinguishing emergency workers. forest fires at the Home Office and the US Forest Service.

Other funds in the bill are intended to reduce the effects of future extreme weather events, through research into hurricane forecasting and wildfire detection, and construction of damage reduction projects from wildfires. floods and storms.



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