WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A stand-alone, $6 billion disaster relief bill will be introduced in the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday.
"We need to get this relief funding to the American people as quickly as we can and we're going to do that," Reid said in a media availability. "I'm going to bring a free-standing bill and we're going to have a chance to vote on it," Reid told reporters."
Noting that House Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia once suggested tying the cost of disaster relief to cuts to other parts of the federal budget -- a position from which Cantor later backed away -- Reid said he thought many Republicans would not back delaying a disaster-relief bill over a spending-cuts fight, The Hill reported.
"I hope my Republican colleagues have put politics aside and work with us to get relief to the American people who need it now," Reid said.
The Nevada Democrat said damage caused by Hurricane Irene and other emergencies must be addressed, pointing out that Tropical Storm Lee has dropped up to 20 inches of rain in some parts of the country and wildfires have destroyed nearly 1,500 homes in Texas.
"On the Mississippi River we have 3 million acres of farmland -- not 3,000, not 300,000 -- 3 million acres that are covered with water," Reid said.
Reid said he would take a $6 billion disaster relief fund out of the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill and move it as a free-standing bill.