United States senator Chuck Schumer announced an agreement with West Virginia senator Joe Manchin and Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema over a new program to fund repairs and reconstruction following Hurricane Florence.
In a video released on social media, Schumer and Manchin introduced the new program dubbed “Build Back Better”.
“They were concerned that a long recovery wouldn’t be effective, so they supported a plan that would provide more funds for those rebuilding efforts,” Schumer said.
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“Our legislation now proposes an expansion of available grants that will enable a much faster repair process and a much faster opportunity for rebuilders to receive funding for projects that are ready to go.”
The preliminary agreement reached with Sinema’s office calls for greater flexibility in allocating funding for disaster response assistance and community assistance grants and creation of a brand new formula to award funds across multiple hurricanes, according to Schumer’s office.
The proposals from the Democrats will need to be agreed with the Republican leadership, including Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.
A week ago, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham said his proposal for a Hurricane Florence relief package was inadequate and that Congress should spend more.
During the long recovery process for the hurricane, Senator Tim Scott told the Guardian the federal government should do what it can to alleviate the difficulties facing area communities.
“Congress can provide help,” said Scott, who represents a North Carolina district. “We don’t know what the length of time that it will take to rebuild and all the things that have to be done. I don’t think you need to create a new program just to start the process … My focus is on getting in there and helping.”
Congress appropriated $13bn towards Harvey relief before lawmakers left town on Friday, as President Donald Trump signed the final allocation.
The president has also pledged to sign the House bill extending the legal protections for young immigrants which protect them from deportation, despite strong opposition from some conservatives.
“I’m hopeful we can get something like a DACA deal done,” Scott said, referring to the young immigrants issue. “We’ve got two weeks to do it. I’d like to see it done by the end of September, probably sooner if we can.”
Donald Trump suggested on Friday that Hurricane Florence caused a man to go on a shooting spree, in which a deputy sheriff was killed.
The sheriff’s office said it was the third officer killed in the line of duty in Wilmington, North Carolina in 12 months.
The White House told reporters it was “possible” the president’s remarks were made in error, but Trump reiterated it was the result of faulty information.
“Obviously I did something wrong because I think that folks can look into that and they will see,” he said.
The president also warned of “serious consequences” in Florence’s aftermath, which resulted in a death and damage of billions of dollars in the Carolinas.
He said: “A lot of damage and a lot of suffering. It’s a sad thing, folks. There’s a lot of suffering.”