By: Alexander Paul |

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee has approved a $36.5 billion measure to fund relief from the recent hurricane and wildfire disasters, a spokeswoman for the committee’s chairman said late on Tuesday.

From Reuters:

The bill includes $7 billion more funding than the White House had sought last week, and included nearly $6 billion more for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) than the administration’s request.

The committee’s bill also includes $576.6 million for wildfire efforts, $16 billion for the National Flood Insurance program, and a provision enabling low-income Puerto Ricans to receive emergency nutrition assistance, said Jennifer Hing, spokeswoman for Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, the committee chairman.

It was not immediately clear when the bill would move to the floor to be voted on by the entire House.

The measure will also pave the path for Puerto Rico to receive a $4.9 billion low-interest Treasury loan as it makes efforts to recover from Hurricane Maria, a powerful Category 4 hurricane that made landfall on the island on September 20.

“These funds are vital right now, in the near term, to get the aid where it is needed most,” House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said in a statement. “However, the recovery in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas and Florida will be ongoing, and more assistance will be required in the near future.”

Puerto Rico, which has been already been pushed into a series of defaults on its $74 billion debt, will face a government shutdown on Oct 31 if there is no intervention from the U.S. Congress. The House’s plan will provide a $150 million advance that will match funds required for the country to cover short-term expenses such as payroll and pension payments.

Alexander Paul is a contributor for PFWnews. “In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.” – George Orwell