Senate OKs $15B hurricane disaster aid

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |   Sept. 7, 2017 at 3:23 PM
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Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The Senate passed a $15 billion hurricane disaster package Thursday worth double what a bill the House passed a day before would have devoted.

The Harvey and Irma aid -- tied to a temporary debt ceiling extension deal between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats -- passed the Senate by a vote of 80-17.

Included in the funding is $450 million for the Small Business Authority disaster loan program, $7.4 billion in housing grants and $7.4 billion slotted for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the original House bill.

The debt ceiling measure gives Congress a deadline of Dec. 8 to agree upon a new spending plan.

Some Republicans had called for the debt ceiling measure not to be tied to the disaster relief, including Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. But Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday broke rank with those who voiced opposition.

"It will provide certainty and stability for first responder, state officials and the many others involved in preparing for and recovering from these storms with critically needed emergency funds that will not be interrupted by the prospect of a shutdown or default," he said. "Let's work together and act on this legislation very quickly."

The revised legislation returns to the House for another vote.

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