Texas is asking for another $18 billion in Hurricane Harvey relief from Congress before an expected vote next week on a second round of federal aid.
In a letter to leaders of appropriations committees of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, Texas’ congressional delegation said the money would go toward U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects, disaster recovery block grants and education agencies, among other things.
“In light of the unprecedented damage from Hurricane Harvey and the historically epochal flooding of Houston, Beaumont and the surrounding regions, we all recognize that the funding already appropriated is a small fraction of the federal resources needed to help rebuild Texas and reinvigorate the American economy,” the letter states.
The letter is signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and 33 of Texas’ 36 members of the House of Representatives.
U.S. Reps. Joe Barton, of Ennis; Kevin Brady, of The Woodlands; and Jeb Hensarling, of Dallas, did not sign the letter. All three told The Texas Tribune they generally supported the requests made in the letter.
Congress already made one $15 billion appropriation to Texas in September, in what leaders called a “down payment” that was meant to address immediate needs in the aftermath of the storm.
The new request begins to look at longer term needs. The largest request is for $10 billion to be directed to the Army corps, to be used to rehabilitate and repair damage to completed corps projects already begun, and to begin construction projects that have been authorized but not started.
Among corps projects that are authorized but not started is a $278 million flood control plan for Clear Creek, which runs through Friendswood and League City.
The letter also requests $7 billion for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds, which can be used for rebuilding and repair projects.
The letter also asks for $800 million for school districts damaged by Harvey; $450 million more for Small Business Administration loans; $300 million for economic development grants; and $150 million in Department of Transportation funds to repair highways and transit systems.
Congress is expected to vote on another relief package as soon as next week. Unlike the first round, the next appropriation is expected to include relief money for Florida and Puerto Rico.
Texas had officially received $280 million in advance payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as of Sept. 29.
Another $1.85 billion in individual assistance had been given through FEMA grants, National Flood Insurance Program claims and Small Business Administration disaster loans, officials said.