Lawmakers gathered in South Texas Thursday vowed Congress would move “at least” two more disaster relief packages, in addition to the $15.25 billion Congress already approved for recovery efforts in the days following Hurricane Harvey.
Total damage estimates from Harvey now top $100 billion. Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, along with members of the Texas Congressional delegation and House Speaker Paul Ryan, toured the recovery efforts and flood mitigation infrastructure at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston Thursday.
Cornyn said Congress’s next relief packages will go toward Harvey, as well as Florida’s Hurricane Irma and well as other natural disasters across the country. Ryan called the devastation in Houston “unprecedented,” and said recovery would “require a very bold response at all levels of government.”
Cruz, who lives in Houston, vowed Congress would provide the resources to “rebuild and come out even stronger.”
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Texas’s senators have yet to say what, if any, assistance Congress or the state will send to Mexico to help with Tuesday’s deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Both Cornyn and Cruz tweeted “thoughts and prayers” for those affected in Mexico City.
Mexico reached out during Harvey to offer medical aid and food, but later rescinded its offer, citing its own natural disasters.
Ryan opened the press conference Thursday acknowledging the damage from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which is also expected to cost the federal government billions of dollars in recovery, but didn’t mention Mexico.
The United States Agency for International Development deployed an “elite team of disaster experts” to Mexico on Wednesday to help assess damage.
Andrea Drusch: @andreadrusch