U.S. House panel approves $36.5 billion for hurricane, wildfire relief

Politics


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee has approved $36.5 billion in emergency funding for relief and recovery from the recent devastating hurricanes and wildfires, a spokeswoman for the committee’s chairman said late on Tuesday.

The bill includes $7 billion more funding than the White House had sought last week, and included nearly $6 billion more for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) than the administration’s request.

The committee’s bill also includes $576.6 million for wildfire efforts, $16 billion for the National Flood Insurance program, and a provision enabling low-income Puerto Ricans to receive emergency nutrition assistance, said Jennifer Hing, spokeswoman for Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, the committee chairman.

It was not immediately clear when the bill would move to the floor to be voted on by the entire House.

The United States has been battered by a series of hurricanes in the Caribbean, Texas and Florida and wildfires in California.

President Donald Trump has also asked Congress to approve a $4.9 billion government loan to help Puerto Rico pay some of its bills in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Reporting by Richard Cowan; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe



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