The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $5.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant funds, $1 billion more than the Bush administration requested, to support housing assistance programs in the hurricane-stricken areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.If accepted by the House, the extra $1 billion would ensure that Louisiana receives $4.2 billion in CDBG funds requested by President Bush and that CDBG funds will be available to meet housing assistance needs in Mississippi and Texas. The committee's action will "allow us to fully fund our housing program and will enable our citizens to rebuild, repair, and relocate," Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said. The $106.5 billion supplemental appropriations bill, which includes funding for the Iraq war and hurricane recovery, also increases the president's $1.46 billion request for rebuilding levies by $628.7 million -- contingent on a formal request by the president for the additional funding.

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