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House Passes $37 Billion Disaster-Aid Package

Disaster victims in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida can breath a sigh of relief. A piece of legislation authorizing $36.5 billion in aid for communities affected by recent hurricanes and wildfires easily passed the House on Thursday, despite some conservatives’ concerns about the growing cost of disaster relief as wildfires raging in California – expected to be the costliest in modern California history – place yet another strain on FEMA’s budget. All of those who voted against the legislation were from Republicans, but the bill managed to passeasily in the 353-69 vote. The legislation will provide direct disaster relief and replenish FEMA’s depleted coffers as well as the federal government’s flood insurance program.

The package includes $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund – including $4.9 billion for a disaster relief loan account – $16 billion to address national flood insurance program debt and $576.5 for wildfire recovery efforts. It also provided $1.27 billion for disaster food assistance for Puerto Rico.

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