WASHINGTON- House Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP leadership on Wednesday detailed their plans to provide $36.5 billion in funding for emergency disaster relief and recovery from recent hurricanes and the wildfires in California.
On Thursday, the House will vote on a bill that was requested by the Trump administration.
Congressional Republicans have been under pressure by Democrats in the House to provide immediate funding to Puerto Rico and other disaster areas.
“House Democrats are pleased that this bill provides a significant, $1 billion increase over the administration’s request for the Disaster Relief Fund,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a press release. “Much more still remains to be done to assist natural disaster victims across our nation as they recover and begin to rebuild.”
The bill, which is swiftly being pushed through the House, includes $18.7 billion dollars for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund and $16 billion for debt relief for the National Flood Insurance Program.
The package also includes $576.5 million for the wildfires that are still ablaze in California, significantly less than the Core Logic estimate of billions in fire damage so far.
Many conservative Republicans are calling on leadership to allow amendments that would include spending offsets.
House Speaker Paul Ryan will be visiting Puerto Rico Friday to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Maria in late September.
“Our thoughts and prayers go to the people in Puerto Rico.” said Ryan.
Ryan also said the “nightmarish wildfires” in California are a major concern.
“These are some of the deadliest wildfires in their [California] history. More than 122,000 acres are burning,” Ryan said. “It’s haunting—farms, businesses, livelihoods being destroyed.”
Wildfires in California have left 21 people dead, many missing, and forced hundreds of people to evacuate.
The Senate is not in session this week and there is no scheduled date to take up the legislation, but Ryan is calling on them to move quickly.
“Now we need to act,” Ryan said. “This is a time when our country needs to respond. This is a time when all levels and units of government need to respond.”