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Senate Passes $15.3 Billion Initial Harvey Relief Package, Extends NFIP
WASHINGTON, Sep 07, 2017, (A. M. Best via COMTEX) -- Copyright (C) 2017 by A. M. Best Company, Inc.

The U.S. Senate passed a $15.3 billion Hurricane Harvey emergency aid package to help the relief and rebuilding efforts for areas along the Gulf Coast, and a three-month extension of the National Flood Insurance Program.

The vote in the Senate sends the package to the House for a vote on Sept. 8. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added $7.4 billion in funding to the amount approved by the House, $7.85 billion, earlier the week of Sept. 4.

The temporary extension for the NFIP was part of a package that included a three-month agreement to fund the federal government and lift the debt ceiling until Dec. 8.

The package now moves to the House, where it is expected to pass and move quickly to President Donald Trump for his signature.

The measure, linking the recovery aid with the extension for government spending, was part of a deal brokered by Trump during a White House meeting with congressional leaders from both parties, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“Democrats are prepared to offer our votes for the Harvey aid package, and a short-term debt limit increase of three months,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement.

“Given Republican difficulty in finding the votes for their plan, we believe this proposal offers a bipartisan path forward to ensure prompt delivery of Harvey aid as well as avoiding a default,” the statement said.

Harvey made landfall Aug. 25 in Texas as a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 mph. It then lingered along the coast, dumping up to 50 inches of rain and causing an estimated $15.4 billion in private insured losses (Best’s News Service, Sept. 6, 2017).

As Texas and Louisiana were cleaning up, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was prepositioning supplies and rescue crews in advance of Hurricane Irma — classified as the most deadly, a Category 5 hurricane — which was expected to make landfall over the weekend in South Florida.

FEMA had stored nearly 2.9 million gallons of water and nearly 7.5 million meals — as well as cots, blankets, generators, durable medical equipment, infant care kits, plastic sheeting and tarps for roofs — at the Incident Support Base at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, the agency said in a statement.

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