House passes nearly $8 billion for initial Hurricane Harvey relief

WASHINGTON (WSAV) – The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation today providing emergency funding for Hurricane Harvey response and recovery needs.

In a 419 to 3 vote, almost $8 billion dollars in funds were approved including almost 7-and-a-half billion for the FEMA disaster relief fund.

“We’re gonna bring it (FEMA funds) up to almost 8 billion to respond not only to Texas but Florida or wherever Irma decides to hit. But I will say look every state hit deserves to be recognized and be taken care of,” says Rep. Michael McCaul, (R) Texas. “We do want the focus to stay on the devastating that Harvey had on the state of Texas. And I think our delegation, large in number, will continue that effort.”

Congressional leaders and FEMA managers say technology, including a phone app, has allowed Texans to register for FEMA assistance more quickly than ever.

That means money is being distributed fast and the coffers are draining.

Texas house members say the vote shows that “help is on the way.”

“It is my hope now that the Senate will act quickly and swiftly to provide immediate relief and assistance to those who have been hurt the most during this devastating storm so we can start rebuilding Texas as soon as possible,” says Rep. McCaul. “This will be a long time struggle and challenge for the people affected in my state, in our state, but I want Texans to know that the nation is behind them.”

The Senate now has to approve the funds later this week, which they will tie to a raise in the nation’s debt limit.

Congressional leaders say this is just the first of a series of relief bills for Texas that is likely to total well over $100 billion dollars.

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