Congress Passes $89 Billion Disaster Aid Package

The legislation raising the spending caps also provided $89.3 billion to help communities recover and rebuild from natural disasters occurring in 2017. The package provided $28 billion for the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program, $23.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund, $17.39 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and $1.65 billion for the Small Business Administration disaster loan program. Of the CDBG-DR funds, $16 billion will be used to address unmet needs in disaster areas — including at least $11 billion for areas damaged by Hurricane Maria, and $2 billion for repairing and improving the electric grid in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The other $12 billion will be used for mitigation activities that will be awarded to prior CDBG-DR grantees in proportion to CDBG-DR grants awarded in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Up to $15 million of the appropriation will be used for capacity building and technical assistance to help states and local governments more effectively rebuild and administer disaster resources — the first time Congress has dedicated technical assistance for recipients of CDBG-DR.

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