Politico reports White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is planning to send a formal request to Congress Friday afternoon seeking $5.9 billion as a “down payment” in emergency relief for Hurricane Harvey, according to a source familiar with the plans.
Most of the money — about $5.5 billion — will go directly to FEMA’s disaster relief efforts.
Another $450 million will go to loans for the Small Business Administration.
“This is the initial package, clearly not the whole disaster funding,” the official said, adding it would be “to meet the immediate needs.”
The specific details will be announced in a letter Friday afternoon sent directly to congressional leadership and the Texas and Louisiana delegations. Other offices will be informed later.
Mulvaney briefed many of the members from affected districts on the phone late Thursday night and Friday morning.
“Texas and Louisiana will have a chance to see it first,” the official said.
The request is coming as Congress acts to free up existing funds for aid. The Senate Appropriations Committee is allowing a $500 million shift in federal funding for response to Hurricane Harvey.
The panel approved the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s reprogramming request Thursday night. But the House spending committee has not yet confirmed if appropriations leaders in the lower chamber have also given their blessing.
Once the House panel has signed off, the request is granted, since these intra-agency budget adjustments don’t require passage on the floor.
A spokesman for the Senate committee said panel leaders are “prepared to quickly process any additional request that is sought.”