Congressional leaders are expected to unveil the next supplemental disaster relief funding bill this week for communities affected by hurricanes and wildfires in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and California. The disaster relief legislation could be added to a spending package Congress must pass this week to avoid a government shutdown, or it could be enacted as a stand-alone bill. Some lawmakers have expressed concerns that if the disaster supplemental is not added to this week’s spending package, relief and recovery resources may be delayed until mid-January.
There is strong disagreement among members of Congress and the administration over how much funding should be included in the disaster supplemental. After Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney released the administration’s disaster request of $44 billion, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from disaster-impacted states sent a letter, expressing their “strong dissatisfaction with the utterly inadequate disaster supplemental appropriations request from the OMB.” While congressional leaders are expected to unveil a disaster relief spending bill that is larger than the administration’s request, it is unclear how much funding the bill will include.
The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) has advocated for both robust resources and legislative language to ensure adequate resources go to assisting the lowest income households most severely impacted by the disasters. The recommended legislative language includes directing FEMA to enter into an interagency agreement with HUD to allow HUD to stand up a Disaster Housing Assistance Program to provide much-needed rental assistance to displaced low-income households.
See the letter from members of Congress on the administration’s disaster request at: http://bit.ly/2iAgv9x
See DHRC’s top priorities for the next disaster funding supplemental bill at: http://bit.ly/2BtwTxt