By ALAN FRAM and ANDREW TAYLOR
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is promising billions to help Texas rebuild from Harvey-caused epic flooding, 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 massive spending bill that the House is scheduled to consider next week when lawmakers return from their August recess. The $876 million cut, which is included in the 1,305-
page measure’s homeland security section, pays for roughly half the cost of Trump’s down payment on the U.S.-Mexico border wall that the president repeatedly promised Mexico would finance.
It seems sure that GOP leaders will move to reverse it next week as floodwaters cover Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, and tens of thousands of Texans have sought refuge in shelters. There’s only $2.3 billion remaining in federal disaster coffers.
The disaster relief cut was proposed well before Harvey and the politically bad optics are sure to lead lawmakers to do an about face, though that would create a money crunch in homeland security accounts.
The FEMA cut is the handiwork of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J. — the major force behind a $50 billion-plus 2013 Superstorm Sandy recovery package — and Rep. John Carter, whose home state of Texas is suffering badly from Harvey.
Aides to GOP leadership offices, the Appropriations Committee and Rep. Carter did not immediately respond on the record to messages seeking comment.
Harvey aid is a fresh addition to an agenda already packed with must-do tasks and multiple legislative deadlines: Passing a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown; increasing the government’s borrowing authority to prevent a market-quaking default on U.S. obligations; and paving the way for a GOP rewrite of the U.S. tax code.
Trump is slated to meet with congressional leaders next Wednesday. The meeting follows a recess that has seen Trump lambast several…