WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate will not add more funds earmarked for Texas' recovery to a new disaster spending bill slated for a vote this week, the state's senior senator said on Thursday.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn told reporters on a conference call Thursday afternoon that he spoke with President Donald Trump and his budget director Mick Mulvaney and was assured that a separate aid bill would come soon.
"It’s coming in November, and it will be for Texans recovering from Harvey," Cornyn said.
Few Texans were pleased with the $36.5 billion disaster relief legislation that passed the U.S. House last week, with some, including Gov. Greg Abbott, arguing the bill did not do enough for Texas. That bill is now moving through the Senate chamber and will likely be up for a vote Thursday night or Friday morning.
Many in the delegation worry that the majority of the bill's funds will go to Puerto Rico, the most dire hurricane-devastated theater. The legislation also largely ignored an $18.7 billion request most of the delegation and Abbott had made of Congress.
In September, Trump signed into law a short-term, $15.25 billion measure to address the immediate emergency in Texas and in Florida, which suffered serious damage from Hurricane Irma.
Cornyn suggested earlier in the week he would band with colleagues in other areas affected by disasters to add additional relief spending to the current bill.
“In talking to a number of my colleagues from Florida, some from out west where the wildfires are creating a lot of devastation, I think there’s some interest in seeing whether the Senate should add to what the House has done,” Cornyn said on Tuesday.
In the end, though, he said he would keep the pressure on the president and Congress to act soon on additional Texas aid.
"We don't want the federal government to kick the can down the road," he said. "I don't want people to forget about Hurricane Harvey."
Claire Allbright contributed to this report.