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President Joe Biden is requesting an additional $4 billion in disaster relief from Congress in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia and the recent fires in Maui, substantially increasing the cost of a sweeping emergency package requested by the White House just weeks ago.
The administration is now asking for a total of $16 billion “given the intensity of disaster activity around the nation — including fires on Maui, in Louisiana, and across the country, massive flooding in Vermont, and now a major hurricane that hit Florida and the Southeast,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.
The increase from the administration’s original request of $12 billion underscores the severity and growing score of the recent natural disasters, with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency saying as recently as Tuesday the agency still believed its initial estimate would be sufficient.
Yet the proposal faces a difficult path on Capitol Hill, where some hardline conservatives in the House of Representatives are hoping to use the request to exact other spending cuts.
Further complicating the White House’s request — which would replenish FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund — is Biden’s insistence that the funding should move alongside more than $28 billion the White House wants to assist Ukraine and address migration issues on the US Southern border. Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this summer indicated he might demand concessions to offset the cost of additional assistance for the effort to bolster Ukraine.
Biden tried to rally support despite Republican skepticism during a visit to FEMA headquarters in Washington on Thursday, where he met with officials monitoring recovery efforts after Idalia.
The president expressed disbelief with lawmakers who did not support the emergency request, adding that legislation authorizing the additional spending had to be passed within the next month. Read the full story from Justin Sink.
- Biden will discuss the August jobs report at the White House shortly after 11 a.m.
Politics, Probes and 2024
A judge said all court proceedings in the 2020 election case against former President Donald Trump and co-defendants will be live streamed and televised, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
A super PAC backing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has shuttered door-knocking operations in early voting Nevada, as well as California, in the latest cut to the Republican presidential contender’s campaign.
Republican presidential candidates plan to gather at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for their third debate, according to people familiar with the event’s planning.
Centrist impulses and the potential baggage of having voted for Biden are under scrutiny in a special Utah election to fill the shoes of departing House Republican Chris Stewart.
Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a Bloomberg Television interview Thursday that relations between the US and China are hindered by a lack of “shared values” between leaders even if the world’s two largest economies must reach accommodations on behalf of a “shared planet.”
- Pelosi also said during the interview that the fast-advancing AI field needs regulatory guardrails that include protection for creative work in entertainment and other industries. Read more.
What Else We’re Reading
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will make her fourth visit to India in less than a year next week, joining a summit of world leaders to discuss global economic vulnerabilities including assistance needed for distressed developing nations.
The world’s largest military says it’s serious about investigating unexplained objects in America’s skies and will ask service members — and eventually ordinary people — to submit what they think might be alien sightings.
The pharmaceutical industry’s multipronged legal fight against Medicare’s drug price negotiation program is likely to gain steam as manufacturers selected for the first round have just one month to sign agreements entering price talks and to submit manufacturer data to the federal government.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met today with a US delegation headed by Rob Wittman, vice chair of the House Armed Services Committee.
Editor’s Note: BGOV’s What to Know in Washington will not publish during the Monday, Sept. 4 Labor Day federal holiday. Publication resumes Tuesday, Sept. 5.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at firstname.lastname@example.org