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Sen. Stabenow expects hurricane aid will top congressional agenda next week

Aug 30, 2017

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow expects hurricane relief will be a top agenda item when Congress returns to work after Labor Day.

Michigan’s senior senator says the country needs to “come together” to help people in Texas and Louisiana suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

“Certainly as a country we need to have each other’s backs,” says Stabenow.

Stabenow says that’s what happened when the federal government provided aid during the Flint water crisis.

Some analysts are pegging damage estimates from Hurricane Harvey at more than $150 billion.

President Donald Trump is promising billions to help Texas rebuild from Harvey, but his Republican allies in the House are looking at cutting almost $1 billion from disaster accounts to help finance the president's border wall.

The pending reduction to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief account is part of a spending bill that the House is scheduled to consider next week when Congress returns from its August recess. The $876 million cut, part of the 1,305-page measure's homeland security section, pays for roughly half the cost of Trump's down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

It seems sure that GOP leaders will move to reverse the disaster aid cut next week. The optics are politically bad and there's only $2.3 billion remaining in disaster coffers.