Trump asks Congress for $7.85B in Harvey relief funds

U.S. President Donald Trump has sent lawmakers a $ 7.85-billion US request for an initial down payment for Harvey relief and recovery efforts.

The request, expected to be swiftly approved by Congress, would add $ 7.4 billion to rapidly dwindling Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster aid coffers and $ 450 million to finance disaster loans for small businesses.

The initial Harvey package is just the first instalment for immediate disaster response like housing assistance, cleanup and FEMA-financed home repairs. The White House says more than 436,000 households have registered for FEMA aid.

The request also reiterates the need for Congress to increase the government’s $ 19.9-trillion borrowing limit by the end of this month. Republicans are signalling that they may link the unpopular debt limit increase to Harvey relief.

‘Still so much to do’

Trump said there is “still so much to do” for Texas to recover from Harvey. He will travel again to Texas on Saturday.

Trump tweeted Friday that “Texas is heeling fast thanks to all of the great men & women who have been working so hard.” He later corrected the spelling of “healing.”

He added, “But still so much to do.”

Trump has proposed federal hiring and budget plans that raise questions about his promised recovery effort.

He also tweeted Friday to praise his new chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, and criticize former FBI Director James Comey over his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

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CBC | World News