US House passes 36.5-bln-USD disaster aid package

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/10/13 14:03:31

The US House of Representatives approved a 36.5-billion-USD disaster relief package on Thursday, intended to aid recovery in disaster-ravaged US states and territories.

The bill, which outlines "supplemental" disaster spending, passed 353 to 69. It now heads to the Senate slated to return from a weeklong recess next week.

The measure includes 18.7 billion dollars for the disaster relief fund run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and 16 billion dollars for the National Flood Insurance Program.

An additional sum of 1.27 billion dollars is earmarked for US territory Puerto Rico, which is still struggling three weeks after destructive Hurricane Maria made landfall, while 576 million dollars is set aside to respond to wildfires in California.

The package came about a month after Congress approved an emergency aid of 15 billion dollars in the wake of successive hurricanes that slapped southern United States.

The House's approval also took place hours after US President Donald Trump infuriated Puerto Rican officials and Democrats by suggesting that he would pull back federal support from the 3.4-million-resident islands, which still remains largely without power and running water, with a shortage in medicine, fuel and other basic supplies.

He tweeted early Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the military and the first responders cannot be kept in Puerto Rico forever, while criticizing the island for "a total lack of accountability" in post-disaster recovery and rebuilding.

Posted in: AMERICAS

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