While Donald Trump has promised victims of tropical storm Harvey all the funding they need, other Republicans have suggested cutting almost $1bn from federal disaster relief to pay for the President’s border wall.
Some Republicans have suggested slashing $876 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief account in the next fiscal year. The cut would pay for about half of Mr Trump’s proposed wall on the US border with Mexico.
The proposal is included in the federal spending bill that Congress must pass by the end of next month. It was drafted by two members of the House Appropriations Committee before the storm hit. They are now reconsidering the decision.
“Circumstances have changed significantly since the bill was drafted earlier this summer,” Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said on Wednesday. “Given the current situation, the committee is reassessing the issue.”
Just last week, Mr Trump threatened to shut down the government if funding for his border wall was not included in the appropriations bill. The President has also suggested a $600m cut to FEMA’s state and local programmes, as part of his 2018 budget proposal.
But on Tuesday, Mr Trump promised to do everything he could to get relief funding to Harvey’s victims.
“You’re going to see very rapid action from Congress – certainly from the President,” he told Texans, adding: “We’re going to get your funding.”
The tropical storm has caused record rainfall in Houston, sparking mass flooding and driving an estimated 30,000 people from their homes. FEMA Administrator Brock Long said more than 450,000 people are expected to seek disaster assistance.
“Fema is going to be [in Texas] for years,” he told CNN. “This disaster is going to be a landmark event.”
According to the AP, there is only $2.3bn left in Fema’s disaster relief accounts. A senior Democratic aide told CNN that the costs of helping state and local communities will “likely to surpass” this amount.
Despite Mr Trump’s promises, the fight for additional emergency funding is never an easy one.
In 2012, for example, a majority of Republicans voted against sending aid to New York and New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy. Both senators from Texas, and a majority of the state’s representatives, voted against the $50.4bn aid package that ultimately passed Congress.
Their northeastern colleagues, however, say they don’t hold it against them now.
“Ted Cruz & Texas cohorts voted vs NY/NJ aid after…