Senate deal includes $64B for disaster relief efforts
WASHINGTON — Senate leaders have unveiled a budget agreement that includes $64.2 billion to help states and U.S. territories recover from last year's hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters.
"This budget deal also includes long-awaited disaster relief for Texas, Louisiana, Florida, the western states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands," according to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "Many of these places are still taking their first steps in the long march to recovery. Much of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands remains damaged and in the dark. This recovery aid could not come a moment too soon."
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced the funding agreement Wednesday morning. The House already passed an $81 billion disaster relief bill in December.
The aid package includes $23.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief fund for recovery efforts, repairs and future mitigation.
According to a summary, the budget deal also provides $28 billion for Community Development Block Grant funds for housing, infrastructure repairs, economic revitalization and other needs, including $12 billion for mitigation and $15 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to fund mitigation and resiliency projects.
The bipartisan agreement specifically provides $2 billion to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands rebuild and improve their electric grids and other critical infrastructure.
In addition, the aid package includes $2.36 billion to provide disaster assistance for Florida's citrus industry and other major agricultural losses incurred because of the 2017 hurricanes and wildfires.