The White House has reportedly prepared a request to Congress for an initial $5.9 billion in aid to fund recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
The request for funding may be sent to Congress as early as today, with votes expected next week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), responsible for coordinating emergency response to natural disasters, is reportedly already spending existing disaster aid reserves—currently valued at $2.1 billion—at a high rate.
According to White House homeland security advisor Tom Bossert, the initial proposed aid money would be a “down payment” for immediate efforts, with larger packages to follow. White House officials and Congress have reportedly discussed putting $5.5 billion of the proposed aid toward the Disaster Relief Fund, which is run by FEMA. An additional $450 million may be used for the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Program, according to the Washington Post.
It is expected that the eventual Harvey recovery package could rival the more than $100 billion used in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee from Houston has drafted legislation for $150 billion in emergency funding and Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that the state may need more than $125 billion.