Politics

White House Could Send $5.9B Harvey Request to Hill Friday

GOP aide: Leadership expects initial emergency plan could arrive soon

People take shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center after flood waters from Hurricane Harvey inundated the city on Aug. 29 in Houston. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Updated at 11:43 a.m. Trump administration officials have informed congressional Republican leaders to expect an initial Hurricane Harvey emergency spending request perhaps as soon as Friday, according to administration and congressional sources.

The White House expects to ask Congress for about $6 billion dollars in its first disaster supplemental request for Hurricane Harvey recovery, an administration official told CQ Roll Call.

“This is what we were expecting as a start,” the senior aide said when asked about talk of a reported $5.9 billion relief package to replenish disaster accounts while the White House and lawmakers hammer out a long-term Harvey bill that could total up to $150 billion.

A second Republican congressional aide with direct knowledge of White House-Hill talks confirmed the size of the first Harvey request will be around $6 billion.

White House officials on Friday morning declined to provide specifics. But, notably, they did not say the $5.9 billion is off the mark.

Some lawmakers have said the first of what senior White House homeland security adviser Thomas Bossert on Thursday told reporters will be the first of two Harvey relief spending requests could move on the Hill as soon as next week.

To that end, the senior GOP aide on Friday said this of the expected timing of the first request’s arrival on Capitol Hill: “We expect OMB to send the supplemental request to the Hill today.”

Earlier this week, Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee told CNN the total federal bill could reach $150 billion. Her Texas district includes much of flood-ravaged inner city Houston.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and other Trump aides have not disavowed that potential figure.

And Texas GOP Gov. Rick Greg Abbott this week said he expects the total federal relief funding will exceed the $120 billion allocated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

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