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US Senate nearly doubles initial Hurricane Harvey aid package

Aerial shots of flooding in Fort Bend County,Texas, after Hurricane Harvey.

WASHINGTON D.C. — The Senate is nearly doubling the initial Harvey aid package.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s midnight move added $7.4 billion in community development block grant funds to a House-passed $7.9 billion measure providing an emergency replenishment for disaster aid coffers.

The additional Senate money is to jump-start rebuilding efforts. The block grant money is more flexible and can cover costs the Federal Emergency Management Agency can’t. A vote could come as early as Thursday.

The House passed the Harvey aid package on Wednesday by an overwhelming vote. President Donald Trump agreed to link it to an increase through Dec. 8 in the government’s so-called debt limit, as well as a stopgap government-wide funding bill. The aid package is just the first installment. Far more money will be coming later when damage and recovery estimates can be completed.