The Obama Administration has asked Congress to approve $2.6 billion in emergency funds for survivors of Louisiana’s flood (see Memo 9/12). In a September 13 letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), OMB Director Shaun Donovan requested the allocation be included in any upcoming Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government funded into FY17. This request follows Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’s September 12 appeal for $2.8 billion in emergency funds and repeated calls by the Louisiana congressional delegation for additional assistance for the state. FEMA has spent millions in emergency funding in Louisiana, but Governor Edwards has said those funds won't be sufficient to cover the estimated $8.7 billion in damages. The Administration had assured Governor Edwards on September 8 that the federal government would assume 90% of disaster relief spending.
Specifically, the Administration is requesting $2.6 billion in disaster Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for housing and other infrastructure needs, as well as for flood prevention efforts and aid for small businesses. Like other CDBG funds, the funds would be administered by HUD. The Louisiana delegation is hopeful that some disaster funds will be included in a CR, with additional resources coming in a final FY17 appropriations bill passed after the November election.
HUD reports that more than 1,300 of its tenants have been displaced by the flooding, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has registered more than 144,000 people seeking disaster assistance. More than 145,000 homes are located in flood areas in and around Baton Rouge.