Trump Signs Sweeping $19B Disaster-Aid Package

This June 18, 2018, photo shows an aerial view of the Amelia neighborhood in the municipality of Catano, east of San Juan, Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Dennis M. Rivera, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a long-delayed $19.1 billion disaster-relief bill that provides money to areas recovering from recent floods, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.

The legislation sets aside $3.3 billion for the Corps of Engineers to undertake repairs and new projects to help combat future flooding and storm damage, as well as $2.7 billion for the Department of Defense to repair military bases hit by disasters.

The bill also includes roughly $900 million for Puerto Rico, a sticking point between lawmakers and the Trump administration that helped keep the sweeping disaster bill from passing earlier. Congress also did not meet Trump’s demand to tack on an additional $4.5 billion to the bill that would primarily go towards caring for people in custody at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Though Trump signed the package as expected, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Thursday the White House will still lobby Congress for money to spend along the southern border.

“President Trump is committed to securing funding for and improving the implementation of policies that mitigate the risk natural disasters pose to communities and make the nation’s recovery from disasters vastly more effective,” Sanders said in a statement. “The administration looks forward to working with both chambers of Congress as rapidly as possible to address the equally vital Fiscal Year 2019 Emergency Supplemental Budget Request for southern border humanitarian needs.” 

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