Congress approved on September 8 a deal, struck by President Trump and Democratic leadership, to provide $15 billion in disaster relief, fund the government, and raise the federal debt limit through December 8. Mr. Trump signed the measure into law the same day.
Specifically, the law provides $7.4 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, $450 million in Small Business Administration disaster loans, and $7.4 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds. Under the deal, FEMA will have flexibility to respond to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as other disasters.
The law requires CDBG-DR funds to go directly to state or local governments at the HUD secretary’s discretion. The HUD secretary can waive federal regulations, except those related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and the environment. Importantly, there is no language changing the percentage of CDBG funds that must benefit low-to-moderate income communities. Seventy percent of CDBG-DR funding must benefit low-to-moderate income individuals, as required by law. In previous disasters, this percentage was lowered.
The agreement will fund federal agencies and programs at FY17 levels with a 0.68% across-the-board reduction to keep funding under statutory spending caps. The law also extends the National Flood Insurance Program, which was set to expire on September 30.
The House approved the measure by a vote of 316-90, after the Senate had approved it by an 80-17 vote.
Many conservatives voted against the deal because they opposed raising the debt ceiling or funding the government without spending or entitlement reforms.
Read the text of the agreement at: http://bit.ly/2f8tz0z