President Trump has promised federal aid to Texas after the state was hit by catastrophic floods in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
But disaster reserves, equivalent to 2.75 billion euros won’t to be nearly enough: in 2005 the bill for helping New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina ran to 52 billion euros.
It’s up to the US Congress to allocate extra funds, and the President has already made the requests. But many Republicans are not keen on disaster relief spending, and some may balk at the price tag.
Ironically, the vast majority of Texan Representatives voted down the rescue package for New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy barreled through in 2012. “The Sandy relief bill had more pork in it than a bacon factory,” said Blake Farenthold, Republican Representative for Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi is one of the places hardest hit by Harvey.
Federal aid for Hurricane Harvey? Or payback for Texas ‘no’ votes on Sandy? https://t.co/ybgvnP6shp via
HoustonChron</a></p>— Gabrielle Banks (GabMoBanks) August 29, 2017
Texas Republican Representative Pete Sessions told MSNBC that he expected lawmakers to back a rescue package provided that it was not bloated beyond what was needed for storm response.
“Every asset at my command”
Speaking from Washington on Monday, Donald Trump said:
“Right now the single most important thing is the safety and security of those still in harm’s way, including the first responders who have been so terrific and brave. Protecting the lives of our people is my highest priority. Every asset at my command is at the disposal of local officials.
To the people of Texas and Louisiana, we are 100 percent with you. We are praying for you, we are working closely with your leaders and officials and I will be visiting the impact zone tomorrow to ensure that you are receiving full support and cooperation from the federal government and on Saturday we think we are going back to Texas and also we will be going to Louisiana.”
We will get through this. We will come out stronger and believe me we will be bigger, better, stronger than ever before. The rebuilding will begin and in the end it will be something very special, and I just want to thank everybody.”
Wall Street analysts estimate insurance losses equivalent to 17 billion euros, making it one of the most expensive storms in US history.
US taxpayers are likely to foot the bill, as the National Flood Insurance Program, which is the only flood cover most claimants have, is already broke.
The situation is further complicated by a proposed change to Texan insurance law that comes into effect on 1 September.