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.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

(6) comments

Ron Shelby

Though this will be absolutely unpopular and most will hate to hear it: There is a significant portion of these costs that local governments and residents should be made responsibility for. The Feds should not shoulder all recovery and loss. These kinds of applications to the Feds cover all that local governments anticipate and are why coastal values for property end up artificially too high. A portion needs to be rejected. How much the feds reject is the question.

Ron Shelby

Keeping in mind that "The Feds" in my previous comment refers to taxation on those in Idaho, Colorado, Minnesota, etc.. They are burdening these coastal costs if reimbursed at 100% of expected need.

Jean Casanave

So I wonder what budgets will be cut in order to fund this relief package. And what about Florida? What have they asked for? I know those questions will be frowned upon as well, but how much federal debt do we shoulder? Is that even the federal governments job? What about the states' sovereignty we all talk about? More grants and aid from the feds makes Texas all that more dependent on DC.

Marc Edelman

Ron, I wonder if the people in the States you mentioned like the products they receive through the Port of Houston, the gasoline from our refineries and other benefits they receive from our existence on the gulf coast. We pay for other states disasters when they need Federal money. Now it is our turn. Remember the constitution “promote the general welfare”. Assistance in rebuilding our area is definitely promoting the general welfare of our nation.

PD Hyatt

I have to agree with Ron's comments. One day our nation is going to wake up to the fact that our federal government has spend itself into such a deep hole that there is no more money to be borrowed or printed. One day if we do not wake up to this fact our nation will become like Greece where no one will bail them out or give them another dime to spend.... Of course like Greece and other nations we have done this to ourselves and our day of reckoning will soon be upon us.... My question is what are the people going to do when that happens? Are we going to put our backs into it and dig ourselves out or are we going to riot in the streets?

Gary Scoggin

PD, Ron.... I want to make sure that I understand your point. You guys are saying that not one dime of federal money should come to Texas, Florida or Puerto Rico for storm recovery. (With maybe the exception of flood insurance reimbursements.). Is that correct?

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